While I consider myself to be blessed with an amazing family and many great friends, all of my students aren't that lucky. I know that throughout my 9 years of teaching I have had students who don't have people to wish them a happy birthday or to make sure they feel loved and cared for. Like all teachers, I do the best I can to make sure that the first thing students learn when they walk into my classroom is that I care about them, that I care about more than their score on a standardized test or if they turned in last night's homework assignment. In order to make sure that all of my students know that I care about them as people I make a very conscious effort to do a few things:
- Find out when each student's birthday is, and tell every student happy birthday every year.
- Figure out what type of praise students respond to. Some kids want to be recognized in front of the class, while others would prefer a note, tweet, or a private chat after class.
- Compliment students on new clothes and haircuts.
- If a student looks like they are having a bad day, ask about it - even if they don't want to talk or give the infamous "nothing" response, just asking likely made a difference in the student's day.
- If a student doesn't turn in an assignment or has his head down, don't judge the student, talk to him about it.
- Ask about events going on in students' lives. Find out about last weekend's camping trip, soccer tournament, or whatever activities are important to students.
Please continue the conversation by leaving a comment to share your best practices to make sure your students know that you care.