What are core values and beliefs?
Core values are traits, beliefs, and guiding principles that direct a person or group's behavior and purpose. These values are sometimes deeply rooted and not easily identified, but they are the window to a person's perception of the world. It is important to understand what these values are and how they affect behavior.
Schools have values that they follow. They create mission statements that indicates these values. It is important to understand these values and then create a learning environment that demonstrates them. Some examples would be: mutual respect and responsibility, people-focused, inclusive, collaborative, positive and diverse, focused on developing student potential and excellence.
People have their own personal set of values and beliefs as well. These are the driving force behind everything they do.
Depending on where you look, you can find many different lists and categories for core values.
If we consider character traits as demonstrating core values, many of these are what we consider positive and valuable. What are some traits that are important to you? What do you hope to instil in your students?
Consider the following:
honest, responsible, caring, compassionate, curious, creative, determined, ethical, generous, giving, displays gratitude, hopeful, inclusive, kind, optimistic, patient, resourceful, inclusive, fair
These are a few of the different character traits that can also be part of someone's core values. There are many more, but I hope you get the idea.
Why is it important to know your core values?
As a teacher, I feel that my core values affect how I approach my students, teach my lessons, and engage in collaboration with my colleagues. One of the goals in education is to teach children to be responsible citizens and to help them reach their potential. We share values and beliefs with them and help them to develop positive values and beliefs in themselves. If we don't have a clear idea of our own values, how will we be able to effectively do this?
Knowing your own core values will help you to create positive relationships with your students, teach them to be successful and valued members of the community, and create a positive learning environment.
Identifying core values
I changed my values somewhat over the years as I developed my understanding of what was important and non-negotiable in my teaching career. I began to recognize that certain approaches and behaviors impacted my teaching and my relationships with my students. I found certain things key to their success and these became the cornerstone for my teaching.
My biggest belief is that everyone can learn and be successful. If we support kids and believe in them, it is amazing what they can accomplish that they never dreamed was possible. I still remember substituting in a resource room early in my career and doing activities with children with many different challenges. It was interesting to discover that this didn't phase me. We did many things that were unexpected and engaging, and it was so exciting to see the children participating in whatever way worked for them. The support staff were surprised to see them accomplish some of the tasks. I think sometimes it is good not to know what limitations people supposedly have so that you don't let that determine what you can or cannot do.
Another important value for me is teaching kids to have a positive attitude towards life. I often start off my year teaching about optimism and pessimism and how attitude has the power to affect your daily life. We use the phrase "Attitude is contagious. Is yours worth catching?" and we focus on attitude being everything. It is amazing how things in the classroom change when we approach things with a positive attitude. Nowadays, this is looked at and approached as having a positive mindset.
As I became more aware of how my attitude and approach to teaching impacted my students' learning, I made sure to find ways to improve and help my students to strive to reach their potential and be successful in their learning.
These core values and beliefs directed my teaching instruction and my interactions with my students. I will be sharing some of the ways in future blog posts.
As you reflect on what your core values are, I hope you will be able to see how you positively use them as you help students thrive and reach their potential. Just as we want our students to recognize and value their strengths and talents, it is important for teachers to do the same.
Thank you for all you do for your students.
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About Me Charlene Sequeira
I am a wife, mother of 4, grandmother of 9, and a retired primary and music teacher. I love working with kids and continue to volunteer at school and teach ukulele.