I was talking to Sara after SI today and I asked her why she thought her kids loved her class. She said "because I really love them." And then these gems started rolling off her tongue. I typed them as she said them. She teachers 4th-5th grade in Springfield, Missouri.
"Pick up their pencil when it rolls off their desk.
Make sure they're wearing their coat when they go outside...and zip it up.
Go outside and try to catch a football even though you never can.
Let them try on your high heels...who cares how much they cost.
They know who you are...and they know when you are wearing a mask.
It's not all great--they will get mad at you and they will say things that you did even though you really didn't do it. They will say bad things, you can't let that change how you treat them the next day.
Hold the door open for them. Say hello every morning.
Hold the door when they leave. Say goodbye.
If they are having a bad day, a piece of gum can turn things around.
Let them write a note or journal if they can't get into their math that day.
They can totally tell if you're just there and you are not honing in on what they are saying...this is one of the most important things.
They will feel love if you know they really care. It's not a perfect formula for getting them to do what you want, but you are acknowledging that the are humans and you are in a human relationship with them.
Be determined to get through the bad times. When you are pushed, and pushed, and pushed...at the end of the day you must reconnect and wish them a good evening.
Your tone needs to be respectful.
When you do something silly--tell them how you are breaking yourself out of the box.
Know their ages--they are cute and they are dolls--but they are little people.
Let passion ooze out of everything you do and everything you say.
Let students feel your energy.
Let your room take on that energy...and feed off of that energy.
Maybe that's love. I don't know. But that's what it boils down to...love, honesty, and willingness to learn, grow, and change.
Say no occasionally when they ask for a piece of candy.
Don't give compliments that aren't true. It loses it's meaning.
Be explicit with your feedback--things are just "great."
Recognition is important.
When they give you a picture with your name spelled wrong, hang it up anyway.
When they make you a happy anniversary poster and it's spelled totally wrong and it's 4 feet long--take up the wall space anyway.
When they give you a cookie with their dirty little fingerprints on it, eat it anyway. You won't die.
Be truly thankful.
When they bring you a wilted flower they forgot to give you last Friday, you put water in a vase and you put it on your desk and you leave it there until it's totally dead.
When vomit splatters on your heels and your skirt...remember that it washes away."