Mirror Wall Boosts Self Images

Posted on 05/29/2018
Image of Glover Mirror Project(as reported by Theresa Cottom, Ohio.com/Akron Beacon Journal)

Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who’s the greatest of them all?

At Glover elementary school, one teacher is trying to show her students that no one of them is greatest — that they all have worth and something to offer.

A section of a hallway in the school is lined with mirrors of various shapes and sizes, varying styles and frames, all with dozens of statements beneath them written neatly by kids on multicolored paper: “I am generous.” “I am a scientist.” “I am my own work of art.”

Julie Paulus, a fourth-grade teacher at Glover, began collecting mirrors for the “I AM” Wall after seeing a similar project on Facebook. In just a few months, she was able to collect enough to fill an entire corridor of a hallway near the main entrance and start another wall filled with mirrors on the second floor of the school.

“We all need pick-me-ups, and we all need to feel like we’re worth it,” Paulus said.

The mirrors are part of the school’s focus on social and emotional learning this year, Paulus said. It helps kids envision what they can become, whether they’re just passing by the mirrors or directed there by their teachers for a confidence boost.

“As a staff, we are trying to help the students understand and manage their emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, build positive relationships and make responsible decisions,” Paulus said.

Staff members at the school provided the statements, which range from career phrases, like “I am an editor” and “I am a technologist,” to encouraging statements, like “I am loved” and “I am smart.”

Students had various jobs in assembling and caring for the wall. Jordin Moss, 10, inspected mirrors before hanging them up by putting on her lip gloss and checking herself out in each one to make sure the image was clear. T’Niyah Hill, 9, washes the mirrors regularly.

Some students, like 10-year-old Cha’mere Rucker, got to write down the phrases on the notecards that are beneath the mirrors.

Her favorite mirror to look at is the one with the phrase “I am beautiful” beneath it, both because she wrote it and “because I am beautiful,” she said.

The phrases are a small gesture, but they’ve already made a difference at the school.

“It’s getting people to be kind,” said 9-year-old Donavon Neese.

And the kindness is spreading. Teachers have started putting mirrors in their own classrooms and phrases beneath the bathroom mirrors. Paulus has one in her own classroom in the shape of a heart.

Paulus is still accepting donations for mirrors to continue building her collection for the next school year. Donations can be dropped off at door No. 1 of the school at 935 Hammel St. until June 6. For questions, call 330.773.1245 and ask for Paulus or Nancy Ritch.

“When I have a sad or bad day, I can look in the mirror,” Donavon said. “It makes me very excited for today.”

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