(Update! Quick reminder that I’m going to be at the Barnes and Noble, Westwood Village, 10/6, 2 p.m. for a discussion/book event. Come visit!
Back to business next week when I pose the question: Are faculty the new Urgent Care? Curious??? For now, in continuation of my last post on texting less and talking more, and the kickoff of my Interpersonal Communication courses, this post is cross-linked with Angela Maiers–with a slightly different slant. I’ll explain…)
I heard about Angela Maiers during my early (like, mid-2011) days on Twitter. I knew that she was an educator, an author, and that she started a Twitter movement that was rapidly taking hold called #youmatter.
I watched Angela’s TED Talk, which, of course, compelled and captivated me.
I’ve been told I’m a person who “leads with my heart.” I strive to be an educator who does the same. So, Angela’s message? Let’s just say I devoured it.
But as I followed more of Angela’s journey to spread her message, I continued to see it resonate with younger children. I questioned how applicable “you matter” would be for my audience. After all, my students will often flat refuse help. They will, at times, simply walk away from it and believe they don’t deserve it.
One night, Angela was the guest on Jodi Okun’s #CollegeCash, but that night was a call-in! I used the opportunity to tell Angela about a student who was afraid to write a speech (not give the speech, ironically). I had done everything I possibly could, and while I was at a conference, the student dropped my course. I tried to build the student up, but in the end, showing the student that they mattered didn’t do a darned thing, regardless of how hard I tried. I felt defeated.
So, my question: How does a professor help students embrace the “you matter” idea with a population whose environment may have already beaten them down, whose internal messaging won’t allow them to accept it, and, at times, even causes them to self-sabotage their education?
Obviously, there wasn’t time for Angela to fully solve my dilemma, but she gave me a few ideas. We stayed in touch, and I went on to incorporate Angela’s work in some supplementary Instructor’s Manuals and website assignments I was working on for Oxford University Press.
Now that I am back teaching again, I am finally able to bring Angela’s TED Talk and message to my own students. I am also finally about to have a conversation with them and gauge their thoughts about her “you matter” manifesto.
Most importantly, within an upcoming chapter on Communication and Self and Perception and Self, my students are going to begin to identify how they can embrace their multifaceted selves and, yes, hopefully believe that regardless of their internal “tapes” (cognitive conservatism, if you want to get theoretical)… they matter. They will even attempt to spread that message to others and analyze the results.
I am incredibly lucky that Angela is going to join my class via Skype on October 8th.
Since you, my cherished blog audience is going to try a little less texting (right?) and a little more connecting, would you consider doing the homework, too? Angela and I were hoping that you would! What better way than to say “you matter”? Ready for the assignment? Here goes! I’d love to hear how it goes for you!
You’ll need to start by reading Angela’s You Matter Manifesto and watching her TEDTalk about the words “You Matter.” Then you’ll answer the following questions. Maybe you’ll even want to discuss these questions with some other people:
1. How can those who have interdependent self-perception positively adopt the “you matter” principle?
2. Once one reaches their teen years or adulthood, is it too late for the “you matter” message to positively impact one’s self-esteem if their environment didn’t promote this message? Explain your rationale. How could someone strive to own or adopt how much they matter during these years? (Just FYI: My students will cite specific terms about the theories of self and perceptual tendencies the chapters in their responses!)
3. Tell three unsuspecting people in your life “you matter” and report their reactions. Based on their response, how do you perceive that you impacted their perceptions of themselves, even for a moment? What would it mean to you to have someone say “you matter” at this point in your life?
I will post again at a later date and let you know how this experience goes with my students. I have never Skyped before, and have definitely never Skyped a Twitter phenom into my classroom before… particularly because I was never teaching while on Twitter before this year!
Wish me luck, everyone. Boy, am I stepping out of my comfort zone so, so much!
And, in honor of Angela, I must tell you… #youmatter to me. I appreciate every one of you who follow this blog and interact with me (or even if you’ve never interacted with me, but you just read my words, I appreciate you).