'I really want to build them up, build up that confidence, that self-belief, self-love.'
Anyunna Phillips, known to her students as Miss P, wants to instill confidence and pride in her kindergartners at Barack H. Obama Elementary Magnet School of Technology in Atlanta. Her Instagram account is full of stories from her class and snippets from her life of teaching, but one particular video is especially empowering. Several of her kindergarten students are seen in the clip, which now has more than 20,000 likes, approaching a mirror in their classroom and stoutly proclaiming things like, "I'm strong," "I can control my own feelings" and "I'm not afraid of anything!"
Through the affirmations exercise and the video, Phillips emphasizes her belief that her students can accomplish anything. "Help build their confidence. Teaching my students that they have the world at their fingertips. I believe my kids can do anything, and I need them to believe too. We must empower our children," she wrote in the caption.
In an interview with Good Morning America, Miss P said, "I want them to feel empowered and to know that they can do anything." Reciting affirmations, as she does with her students, "sets the tone for the day." She makes it her priority to constantly remind her students during the rest of the school day about what they told themselves that morning. "It doesn't just end here at the mirror," Phillips said. "I remind them of those affirmations. It gives them that spark and they light right back up, like, 'I can do anything,'" she said.
Phillips is a dedicated educator who has been in the classroom for the past seven years. She initially chose a career in teaching as a way to change the world. "I want my kids, my students to really learn how to be good people in this world," she said, describing her goal as an educator. "I really want to build them up, build up that confidence, that self-belief, self-love. Those are all the things that I'm pretty big on. They know I believe in them and I'm just really trying to get them to believe in themselves as well," she added.
Because Phillips centers kids' holistic development, she feels that the affirmations not only improve her kids' morale in the mornings but also their general mental health and social and emotional development. "It resonates with you, even more, when you say it to the mirror," Phillips explained. "So I tell them, 'Go to the mirror and tell yourself something good.' And they go, they do it … and it is working for them. I can see the growth. I can see the development each day."
She even admits to feeling the influence of those affirmations herself, adding that it's a positive habit she encourages colleagues, teachers and adults to attempt for themselves. "The response on Instagram has been overwhelming. It's been amazing," Phillips said. "So many people are sending so many positive messages or they're sharing their own stories … and they have said I've inspired them to just keep going and keep trying."
Phillips shares that the response to her social media posts have been quite overwhelming for her, adding that it inspires her further to see many teachers benefitting from her sharing her experiences. "What keeps me going for posting is the fact that I get so much feedback of how I'm helping other teachers and things of that nature," Phillips said. "If my posts can help anyone or inspire anyone, I'll post."
"I can't believe I'm in a position to really share with the world and kind of be a positive light for the world," she added.