“What is learned in school depends far less on what is taught than on what one actually experiences there.”—Edgar Friedenberg.
I have come to the frightening conclusion that I am the decisive element in my classroom. It is my personal approach that creates the climate. It is my daily mood that makes the weather. As a teacher, I possess tremendous power to make a child’s life miserable or joyous. I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration. I can humiliate or honor, hurt or heal. In all situations, it is my response that decides whether a crisis will be escalated or de-escalated and a child humanized or de-humanized.
—Haim Ginott, child care expert in Between Teacher and Child.
Some tips for communicating to your students that you care:
- Greet the students at the door as if you would a guest in your home. Call them by their preferred nickname.
- Use attentive, active listening when talking to students, even during informal conversations.
- Attend school plays, games, and other activities of your students
- Criticize in private; praise in public
- Acknowledge student progress, accomplishments, efforts…and birthdays.
- Inquire about their health after an absence.
- Use their name when writing comments on assignments. (“Great improvement, Jenn.”) (Lavoie, 2007, p. 59-60).
Discussion Question: What do you do to demonstrate you care for your students?