It turns out that all the best things in life really are free!

Quick post something that made me cry today…in a good way!  I was brought to tears today by a student who was so sweet. He thanked me for being such a good teacher and named specific things that I do that help him be a better student, which of course I soaked every second of that up because it doesn’t happen often! He transferred to my school about half way through the first quarter, which I was worried that he’d be behind, but he turned out to be a fantastic math student with some great natural ability!

After tearing up a little bit, I had to tell him the truth…as much as I appreciated the compliment, the truth is that he did all the hard work! He {and students like him} make my job so much easier when they study, practice, participate in our activities and pay attention in class!

This got me to thinking…how often do we really spend time thanking the students who do what they are supposed to do? I mean, really thank them for specific things they do right?!!  I give rewards and praise them as a class often, but individualized compliments really seem to make all the difference rather than just a generic ‘thank you’ to the whole class or groups.

For example, the other day a student and parent (that I had not met this year) were walking down the hallway last week after school.  This is an awesome student, but VERY quiet and shy.   I stopped the parent and student briefly and the conversation went like this:

Me: Hello!! Are you  (student)’s mom?

Parent: Yes {with a confused look on her face}

Student: {with an extremely concerned and scared look on face}

Me: I am so glad to meet you! (student) is so AWESOME and I just wanted to let you know that! (student) does an awesome job and I can always count on him to do his work. He just gets it!  I think he is an engineer or rocket scientist in the making!

Student: {even more concerned and confused look}

Parent: {with a relieved look} I am glad to hear that. We were concerned at the start of the with him taking so many high school courses while still in 8th grade if he would be able to keep up with everything.  I’m glad to hear everything is going so well. We think pretty highly of him, and we are glad to hear that someone else does to!

I’m glad I made the parent’s day and complimented her child, but it really bothers me that the student was afraid I was going to say something bad to the parent!  This is a child that has been rewarded for grades, etc…  This is a GREAT reminder that no matter how hard it is to connect with each and every individual student and let them know that I am SO very thankful for their hard work. It’s not enough to just give homework passes or 5 bonus points on a quiz or whatever the reward may be for the correct behavior.

All of those rewards are good, but students NEED an individualized thank you and “you are doing an awesome job” compliment to let them know that you actually do notice them in class! 🙂 Yes, it’s hard when you teach 130 students at a time like I do, but it’s so worth it! AND FREE!!!! 🙂

It turns out that all the best things in life really are free!  Signature