I am extremely fortunate to work in a department surrounded by outstanding educators. I’m surrounded by State winning coaches, nationally recognized teachers, and a wealth of classroom experience. One such educator is my office-mate Dr. Kate Kalnes who is a fabulous teacher, role model, curriculum writer, international presenter and Mom – and she excels at all of these. This week’s blog post comes from Kate and is a powerful piece on self-worth, a field in which she is passionate.
If there are any Tori Amos fans reading this blog, I bet you will agree with me when I say her lyrics are often downright confusing; but every now and then if I listen to a song enough I’ll gleam some insight into what she is talking about- or at least what I envision the song to be about. The other day I was listening to Barons of Suburbia and I was zoned out until the last few lines of the song:
She is risen
She is risen
I said she is risen
I’ve heard the song a million times, I listen to Tori Amos a lot!, but for some reason, this time, these lines resonated with me and have been on replay in my mind. These simple words are what I am doing every day with my students and my own daughters. I have always tried to find the perfect words to what I wanted for every student who took my class- would it be building a self-worth shield? Or a self-worth switch of some sort? Leave it to Tori to find the perfect words- it’s a potion…a potion to combat the poison. The poison in the case of the female adolescent can take many forms – social media pressures, social pressures, beauty, body image, the “have it all without looking stressed” pressure…really the list could fill up this entire blog post. And what I’ve found is that every student is different, the poison isn’t the same for everyone. But make no mistake, we all have a poison we need a potion to combat and I contend it can be the same for everyone, the potion of a strong sense of Self-Worth.
Psychologists contend that finding a deeper sense of who we really are is one of the most important truths we can uncover in life. This work is not easy and I have a high regard for the educators who realize how the social emotional health of our students greatly impacts their ability to reach their full potential. If you have been wanting to help your students create a strong sense of worth, I invite you to check out the following Twitter handles and authors who guide much of the work I do.
Go-to Twitter accounts include @the_female_lead, @girlscouts, @LDamour, @MediaGirlsOrg, @girlsleadership, @RachelJSimmons. For teachers of Middle school students, the #DoveSelfEsteem no-cost body confidence program Confident Me! is a must.
Books that I reference include Beauty Sick by Renee Engeln; all books by Rachel Simmons, Peggy Orenstein, and Lisa Damour; and the Confidence Code & Confidence Code for Girls by Katty Kay & Claire Shipman.
You may find a welcomed side effect of taking part in this work with your students is a personal boost of confidence and self-worth. Take the journey with your students, and be a model for them. These conversations do not come easy and you will find at times you’ll think, as one of my students so eloquently put it: this just got real y’all!
Here is a link to a google doc that I periodically update to include lesson plans, discussion prompts, and journal entries. Additionally, Illinois PE and Health teachers look for my presentations at IAPHERD.
Thursday Nov 21 at 9:30 for Self-Worth and the Female Adolescent and at 2:45 for Confident Me! Dove Self-Esteem Program (DSEP) Additionally, come say hi at the DSEP booth both Thursday and Friday.
Have questions or comments? Interested in having a self-worth workshop for the teachers in your school or district? Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or @TheFitFemalePE
Kate is a Dove Self-Esteem Project partner and we have had other educators in the same role share their thoughts in a guest blog. If you liked this blog post, check out these posts also:
Increasing Student Self-Esteem in a Media Saturated Society by Danielle Petrucci.
Free Self Esteem Program: Confident Me by Jessica Lawrence