What Teachers Say
"Of course we know the middle and high schools have a problem. Just like I told my friend, ‘If you can hold on four more years, you'll get the ESSENTIAL [kids], and you'll see a difference.’"
"I've learned that it's a program that crosses all cultures. It's universal."
"I have a student who had a difficult time accepting responsibility for the errors he would make. At the beginning of the year, he would very adamantly deny involvement in the errors or quickly point out what another student had done to ‘make him do it.’ He would also cry and try to convince me of his innocence. He is still not perfect with the ABCs of using errors positively or taking responsibility for his own actions, but the tears have ceased to flow. He now generally admits his error, accepts the consequence, corrects it, and learns from it."
"I really do think the program is going to have an enormous impact."
"The ESSENTIAL Curriculum has changed my approach to teaching. The lessons have helped my students take the responsibility for themselves. I have never used the word ‘self-control’ before this year. Now self-control is mentioned and practiced on a daily basis."
"Compared to what we saw during the first few weeks of school, Mary had made progress and she had shown me that she was trying. This year, she is a non-story! I can't tell you an exact lesson or moment when I thought the change had been made. I think that it is probably that exposure to lessons and repeating of the expected behaviors that wore her defiance down. I also think that Mary is a very bright child who wanted recognition and was willing to do anything to get it. Using the ESSENTIAL lessons, principles and skills, she learned other ways to be recognized. If ESSENTIAL can help Mary learn, it can help anyone learn!"
"In the past, I was more of a lecturer on the subjects of responsibility, errors, emotions, and self-control. [Now] my students have some concrete lessons in which they can relate to the different topics. I feel there is more meaning in my teaching."
"I am very glad that our school is involved in The ESSENTIAL Curriculum. It is a worthwhile program and can benefit our students and everyone we come in contact with. I would like to thank Sue Teel for her program."
"I have had two experiences in my teaching career that have totally changed the way I teach to children. The first one happened almost 15 years ago when I learned about using manipulatives in order to teach mathematics. The second one happened last year when I implemented The ESSENTIAL Curriculum."
"I could see as soon as I started teaching the ESSENTIAL lessons that they were making a difference in my children. I was gaining time to teach because I didn't have to work so much on behavior … that's what I call the first miracle of The ESSENTIAL Curriculum."
"My life and the lives of ‘my children’ have been affected in a positive way from [the program's] philosophy and strategies."
"I started writing our daily goals on the board. It helped the children by knowing what I expected out of them for the day. One day I forgot to put up the goals and the morning wasn't going very well. One of my boys said, ‘Our day isn't going very well because you didn't write down our goals for today.’"
"If students can see themselves as having a right to strive to be the best they can be and feel good about who they are, and at the same time allow all other humans the same right, they will have found the key to their self-esteem. The world as they see it will be a place of opportunity and growth, rather than a dungeon of despair and criticism. If all students uphold the rights of their fellow classmates, everything that stands in the way of their self-esteem will have been destroyed. My students have developed [these] new behavioral skills and concepts through the implementation of The ESSENTIAL Curriculum."
"This program isn't just for children. It can also teach us older people."
"The ESSENTIAL Curriculum is very easy to follow. [It] has outlined everything for us to say and do. After teaching the lesson on goals, which was difficult for me, I found it was the most beneficial for my class and for myself."
"It is interesting that becoming involved with The ESSENTIAL Curriculum does change the teacher..."
"What I found out was that the stories, games, and discussions, while taking time to use, bought me so much more time throughout the year because the children's sense of self-control, responsibility, and risk-taking was so much a part of our classroom community that I had to spend very little time ‘controlling’ behavior."
"I have changed the vocabulary I use in the classroom for behavior management and control. I use self-control, rights, and responsibility in daily classroom conversation. As a result, the children begin to use the vocabulary outside the classroom. Parents are amazed to hear the children talk about their responsibility or self-control at home."
"I like the way that it's presented on a kid's level, and you can present big things, complex subjects, on a kid's level."
"I have had less discipline problems … putting the responsibility back on the students. I feel I have become a ‘guider’ rather than a pusher."
"It is a program for everyone, children and adults everywhere. At our school we use the principles to guide our actions and help us be the best we can be."
"I feel that self-control and equal rights are the two most important principles that we use to form a sense of integrity and community in my classroom."
"The principles provide me with a model for my behaviors. Trying to live them has made my life fuller – and in some ways easier. I will never be the same now that I have studied them. They are a source of continuing growth for me and for our school."
"Almost every day I am reminding my students it is okay to be angry with someone, but it is not okay to act upon that emotion by hitting or pushing. It seems like many of the children that come to us have not had much experience in dealing with their emotions."
"I think ESSENTIAL is very good. I think as children progress in the grades, we're going to see a great difference in how some of the older children are handling their feelings and interacting with other people. I believe that by starting it in kindergarten, when the children go to first grade, they have the foundation. And as they get older, they will have the social skills that they need."
"I think we have a more calm, a more accepting atmosphere throughout the school. I think it has improved the climate. We've always prided ourselves on having a good school, with enriched pieces, things, games … but it has helped in the behavioral aspects the most."