Contributed by Wanda Wong, Hilary Walter, & Fareena Harris (Teacher Candidates)
Saidat is a motivational speaker and entertainer who helps to build strong communities both within and outside school environments. She has spoken to over 800 schools and community events. She speaks weekly at over 1000 schools and covers topics such as bullying, self-esteem, team building, compassion and friendships. She helps to create a healthy school environment and promotes her message that “One person can make a difference. Together we can change the world!”.
We had a chance to meet Saidat at St. Jerome Elementary School where we were able to ask her a few questions. Saidat explained how she began 11 years ago when she wanted to spread her positive word to schools around Ottawa. She decided to go into schools and start talking to students and teach them how to be positive and feel better about themselves. She wanted students to have positive self esteem and make the most of their time in school. Her vision is to teach students that they don’t have to compare themselves to others and that they can feel comfortable in their own skin.
Saidat’s workshop in elementary schools is split into two sessions and into two groups; primary and junior. The first session of her workshop which is in the morning, is a motivational speech incorporated with skits and small games. In the primary portion, her aim is to focus on having a growth mindset. She emphasized three main points with the students: listen, ask and try. The concept of a growth mindset is that through dedication and hardwork your mind can grow, whereas with a fixed mindset there is no room for growth. The growth mindset teaches students to learn to accept differences and that we all learn in different ways. Saidat explains to students that it is okay to ask questions or for help if you are struggling or not understanding. She played a game of simon says with the students to help strengthen their listening skills. In the second session, Saidat incorporates physical movement by teaching hip hop. She uses dance to empower students, creating a positive, inspirational atmosphere, and encourages students to do the best they can.
Through her program, Saidat is helping to create a social environment that students can feel comfortable in. She creates a strong quality relationship with the students and helps to create a lasting impression after she is gone. She helps to show students how to better communicate with their teachers and support staff in their school. This allows students to feel more confident when they need help or have a concern. She also sticks encouraging statements around the school during her visits, to remind students of how great they are.
In the first session with the junior students, Saidat focused on helping them find their self worth and realizing their full potential. She got the students up and moving to a popular song called “Worth It”. Using this song helped to promote the message that it is worth it for the students to invest time and energy into their education. She showed them how to listen intently and train their brain to listen in the middle of distractions. She used emojis to help students express their feelings and convey them in a language that they are already familiar with. In the second session, again she uses hip hop to empower students by showing them certain moves and putting them together to create a dance. In both primary and junior second sessions, dance is used to help to spread her famous message – “One person can make a difference. Together we can change the world!”.
With both groups of students she focused on creating a safe space that helps to promote anti-bullying. She is helping to create a strong partnership by supporting and promoting student and staff wellbeing. She teaches everyone how to be mindful and take a moment to breathe and focus on their own wellbeing. After having a chance to watch Saidat perform it is clear to see that the students feel safe and open to talk about issues surround positive self and school health. She is helping to build a healthy school community and giving students the chance to have their voice be heard.
Saidat creates a safe space for students to feel like they can learn from their failures. She helps to promote how to have a healthy relationship with yourself and your peers in a fun and energetic manner. Saidat focuses on the power of the word “yet” and how many negative statements can be made positive by harnessing this way of thinking (Ex. I don’t understand yet). She left us with a powerful quote that we feel really emcompasses her philosphy: Thomas Edison failed over 10 000 times, when asked about this he said that he did not fail he actually found 10 000 ways that it didn’t work. When one changes their view on their failures, they do not become failures anymore. This is how we will succeed.
Saidat also has a youtube account “SAIDAT music” where she posts everything from pep talks, music videos to short films that provide the same messages as her speeches in person. You can also follow her on Twitter (@saidat2motivate), Instagram(thesaidatshow) and like her on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/TheSaidatShow/?ref=hl .