Saturday, January 11, 2014

The Power of 'Knowing'

know·ing  /ˈnōiNG/ adjective
adjective: knowing
  1. showing or suggesting that one has knowledge or awareness that is secret or known to only a few people.

If you google the word, ‘knowing’, you will find the above definition. If you search for synonyms of ‘knowing’ in the Macmillan Dictionary you will see words like, ‘realize, recognize, sense,’ and words like ‘significant’ and ‘meaningful’.
Whether you realize it or not, ‘knowing’ is the basis of every relationship you have and these relationships are designed and dependent upon to what extent you ‘know’.
We all have relationships that are based on little or minimal knowledge; we ‘know’ the teller at the bank, we ‘know’ the pizza delivery guy and we ‘know’ the nice, elderly couple at church that we shake hands with every Sunday morning.

We would not ‘know’ however if the bank teller was having her second mammogram that afternoon because the first one did not come back so well. We may not ‘know’ that the pizza delivery guy is horribly intimidated counting back our change if we pay him with a $50 and we may never ‘know’ how concerned that elderly couple at church is about their grandson from Cleveland that tore his ACL during a basketball game last week.

The pace of life and the time restraints we encounter have a way of limiting the depth of certain relationships. We just cannot ‘know’ everyone on a real level despite the fact we may care about the hardships they are facing.

We do have the time and ability to ‘know’ our students on a real level and that knowledge can make all the difference in the world. The more we ‘know’ our students, the more effective we will become in their learning process. If you know their background, their culture, what kind of family dynamics they come from and take the time to learn this type of information, they will not only feel valued, but you will gain significant insight.  

The advantages of ‘knowing’ your students are endless. The better you know them, the better sense you will have of how they learn and how to communicate more effectively with them. You will ‘know’ what they respond well to and what shuts them down, how long you can hold their attention and when they need a break. You will also establish a sense of trust and genuineness with them that kids need in orders to feel comfortable in a classroom.
Think about the relationships you have where you really ‘know’ the individual compared with the relationships you have that are on the pizza guy or bank teller level. When you really ‘know’ someone, you can tell by the look on their face when they are overwhelmed or worried or totally zoned out to what you are telling them. You can read their body language and you can sense the way they carry themselves into a meeting if they are going to be productive during that meeting or just get through it. You know what kind of a day they are having before they tell you.
You know what to expect from their personality and you know when that person needs an extra word of encouragement, a pat on the back or a change in direction.

Whether you manage a corporation, teach a classroom, coach a team or oversee the nursery at church; ‘knowing’ the individuals you are involved with will enable you to be better at whatever you are doing. I love that the google definition of ‘knowing’ says, “has knowledge or awareness that is secret or known to only a few people”.

‘Knowing’ is like a secret weapon. It gives you significant insight, keen recognition and a real sixth-sense. ‘Knowing’ is one of the key ingredients in the impact we make on individuals. It’s difficult to impact those people we only get to know a few minutes each week; but the ones we ‘know’ several hours a day, 180 days a year…those are lives we can truly change!

Written by guest blogger Mrs. Shelly Webb, Conesville ES, paraprofessional and teacher in training.

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Shelly Webb

Shelly Webb