To progress you need to look beyond yourself and be accepting that others have an offering. Many posts here at Career Actually, and comments made by others, clearly indicates that’s so. To progress you need to open your doors and windows – let fresh air in – invite others in. You humbly admit that you don’t have all the answers. Especially, you speak appreciation and gratitude for what others provide. My past students very much brought this to my attention. The dynamics of contributing, making a contribution, was gladly a hallmark in my classroom.

Bring in a different, new voice

Acknowledging others have a contribution means opening the windows for fresh air; letting another voice have a say in the dialogue so possibly a different way of seeing matters or a new challenge, enters. In class that meant introducing another ‘voice’ whether it be through a video presentation, an article from a newspaper, a guest speaker, or simply sitting back and letting my students voice what they thought. There definitely were times when I didn’t have to be in the spot light. It was far more conducive to let others take that position.

You don’t always have the answers

Acknowledging that others have a contribution meant at times admitting I didn’t know it all, or my way was not always the best way. When I started out in teaching I was prone to be authoritative to an extreme. As I gained confidence and experience to stand within and upon, then I became more relaxed. Being in doubt, or questioned, wasn’t such an uncomfortable experience. Such afforded, gave permission, to my students to contribute. I found they had very worthy ideas. In hindsight, not really surprising because they were alive to the moment, my students knew what they wanted and had a mind of their own.


With being open to contribution from others, taking such on-board, meant I could work from values I knew to be true:

  • Let others speak – listen
  • Disagreement/conflict can have a positive place and be constructive
  • Good ideas can come from unexpected sources.

No matter what, I acknowledged my students had a contribution. We all know that nothing alienates others faster than taking away their voice, right? Rightly or even misguidedly, we all have a contribution to make at work, and going about our business and life.

Give gratitude

Acknowledging that others have a contribution to make, or add on to dialogue, to make a difference, meant praising my students when they did. I believe such is crucial in any workplace, and a school room is a place of work. Asking another to have a say, then disregarding such – no acknowledgement – is simply a sign of and an act of disrespect, right? I knew from past lessons from teaching that if I wanted respect then I needed to example such. I also knew that working to the positives energized more positives. Opening the windows to let fresh air in meant the whole experience proved better for myself and my students. With that had to follow acknowledgement in gratitude – appreciation.

Let me finish this series on a citation that may touch the teacher in all of us because we all are teachers in our own way.

One looks back with appreciation to the brilliant teachers, but with gratitude to those who touched our human feelings. The curriculum is so much necessary raw material, but warmth is the vital element for the growing plant and for the soul of the child.

– Carl Jung