At the beginning of the school year, someone brought it to my attention that students perform better and learn more from someone that they know loves them. "Well, great!" I thought. I love all my kids! Then I began to wonder if they KNEW that I loved them. I see lots of kids during any given week in my job, probably around 500. So DO they know? And does it really matter?
This year, I have made a conscious effort to speak and show my love to the students, particularly the ones whom I teach in my gifted classes. Has it made a difference in their performance? Maybe. It will take more time to know for sure. But I've recently had a couple of experiences that made me smile and know that I am making a difference in their lives.
We went on a field trip last week, and I was giving the typical field trip speech, "You are representing our school," and on and on. In the course of this speech (we had just boarded the bus and were about to leave), and I said that if they couldn't behave, I would make them come to the front of the bus and sit by me. Well, to my surprise, four of my boys came to the front and wanted to sit with me. Now I know that they were teasing and being funny, but still! I was very surprised! The day had kindof started badly for me; then these sweet boys were showing me that they loved me, too. It really made my day. We all had a wonderful time together on our field trip.
Another night during the previous week, I had a mediocre day at school and a difficult night with my own children. After I had FINALLY gotten my youngest to bed, I collapsed exhausted in my bed. I checked my school email, and saw that I had received an email from a student. I had shown them how to email me from Edline even if they did not have their own email account. It was from one of my girls, and it just said that she loved being in my class and that I was such a fun teacher. That small gesture made such a difference in how I felt that evening and how I felt about being a teacher. In reflecting on this feeling, I wonder how big of a difference we can make in their lives by these same types of small gestures. I gave her a BIG hug the next day, and I told her about my difficult night and how her email had lifted my spirits.
I know that teachers make a difference in the lives of students every day, and I'm sure that you have even more poignant examples than these. How do you show your students that you care about them? How do they respond? Please share them here! In such a stressful job, it helps us all to hear these stories of LOVE!
With LOVE, Carol Ann