Ukiah Unified School District

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The Power of Partnership, Innovation and Learning

School Desk Blog: Use your voice

There is nothing better than being part of a healthy, positive community in a fast-paced and screen-oriented world. At Yokayo, we teach students to use their voices and become strong advocates for themselves, their school, and their community. I believe that being able to use your voice to express yourself in a meaningful and productive way is an important skill. 

I often remind students at Yokayo that they need to use their voices. They need to use their voice to build relationships and make friends. I remind them to ask questions when they don’t understand. I want them to communicate with each other and adults to establish this essential and powerful tool.

Social media has dramatically impacted how students speak and interact with one another, and sometimes we all forget that the people on the other end are humans and have feelings. Being able to communicate with each other to work out problems in a respectful manner is a necessity in life. We want students to speak up in the classroom to contribute to class discussions, ask questions, and advocate for themselves. I want our students to stand up for what is right, even if they are standing alone.

Using our voice, finding value in the people around us, and exhibiting good character starts with human interaction. We have to be ok with making mistakes and apologizing while at the same time doing great things and celebrating ourselves. We won’t always get things right, but we can try again and at least look each other in the eye and express ourselves in positive, thoughtful ways. And remember, our children are watching us and learning how to use their voices.

Teaching children the value of other people’s opinions and respectfully expressing their own is vital to building a solid community. Please take the time to be thoughtful of the people around you. Saying hi, please, and thank you, helping your neighbor, and holding the door open for others are simple tasks that can mean a great deal. We can change the world when we model behaviors like these for our children. 

When you disagree with someone, be mindful of how you react. Teach your children to hold a meaningful conversation and respectfully disagree. These are everyday interactions that we take for granted but are significant when teaching children by example. To quote John Birmingham, “Words matter, and the right words matter most of all. In the end they're all that remain of us.”