This I Believe

Debbie - Monroe, North Carolina
Entered on January 15, 2007
Age Group: 50 - 65
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This I Believe

I firmly believe in what I do as a teacher. I also firmly believe that I learn deeply meaningful things from my students – so much so that I have committed myself to writing down their little treatises I glean from the daily classroom encounters.

As a reading and writing teacher, I try to help my sixth graders understand the difference between fact and opinion. We analyze opinion type words and phrases such as “I think…”, “I feel that…”, “That’s the most…”, “This is the best…”, “It’s the worst…”, and etc. The statement I usually make to my students about opinions is that they are people’s own attitudes and/or beliefs and that they can not be proved by research or stated facts. I usually add that people’s opinions don’t have to be proved in order for them to feel strongly about something.

One day in my special needs class a student who is significantly bright but suffers from emotional difficulties that impede his success and growth in academics in school said to my statement that “That is the most awesome sunset” is simply an opinion that can not be proved, “But, Mrs. Connell, it absolutely can be proved if you and I both are standing there looking at it and agree that it is awesome. You are my proof and I am your proof. That’s all we need.” Indeed. Another piece of learning I gleaned and recorded in order to remember and add to the reasons I believe in my students.