It’s Valentine’s Day! A day of love. A day of chocolate. A day of flowers. A day of little candy hearts with cute sayings! A day of expressing your feelings! While love is essential for all outside of school, we can’t turn that off when we come to school.
While all the above are important to different degrees, it is important to not lose sight of those that are in your class and the love that they may need. Our students are essential to what we do. If education was a business, they would be our number one customer. We can’t forget to show them the love that they deserve on a daily basis. This starts with some of our smallest gestures throughout the day.
While today will be filled with chocolates, treats, and notes, not everyone will be getting those items. While I am not saying that teachers should be out in line at Target tonight getting Valentine’s for their students, we can show our love and affection for our students in different ways. While peers are exchanging Valentines, teachers can show their love and affection for students by remembering to do some of the following:
Praise Students for Their Good Work
Just the smallest amount of praise can go a long way for our students. Think of a time that you may have received a note from a colleague about something that you did that they recognized. It feels good. Find a way to show these small moments of praise for your students today and every day. It could be for something such as hard work or resiliency in the face of problems. Affirmations go a long way. It will go a long way.
Rebuild That Relationship
Every day, you have that one student that tears down the walls of your classroom. The one that doesn’t seem to care. Doesn’t want to open up. Doesn’t want that relationship. Remember, give that student a clean sheet every day. They need it. Forget what they did yesterday or what their standard operating procedure is. Try to give them the opportunity to start fresh every day
. It is so important our students do not feel like the cards start against them. Harboring grudges or past behaviors do little to build that relationship or bridge between you and the student. Remember, you may be that student’s sole positive encounter with an adult all day.
Leave Sarcasm at the Door
Sarcasm is a language. Some teachers are masters. Some students are finishing their apprenticeship. Not all students get it. When we critique or joke with our students using sarcasm, they may not know what is understand it. If they do not speak sarcasm, they will not understand how to take you. Find ways to check the sarcasm at the door and find ways to show students that you care. This will go a long way towards building a meaningful relationship.
Recognize the Changes in Your Students
I work mainly in a junior high. My students tend to be a hot mess of hormones, peer pressure, and coming into a world they are still trying to fully understand and figure out. When working with these students, I try to assume that each student has good intentions in what they are doing. This helps me recognize, support, and work with the students to build great relationships the students. Having one or more adults that they can talk to and be supported may be the difference between success and failure for our kids.
Find Ways to Ensure Student Learning and Success
While I know that teachers are stressed for time and usually feel that there are not enough hours in the day, try to find a way to connect with the student that is struggling. Do not write them off. Offer additional help. Additional resources. Talk to teachers that have the student as well. See what works for them. Talk to other content area teachers and try to find a way to connect the content in a way that those students find more interesting. This will go a long way. When the student knows that you are really looking out for them, they will try to get it done for you!
Remember, as this day of love passes, some of the students may not feel that love at home. Try your best to show that love and understanding in your classroom. It could make all of the difference in those children’s world. It literally could be the difference between success and failure Between graduation and dropping out. Between having a positive outlook on school or not. It is essential that we try to do this as educators.