So, I started an informal poll. I asked kids I know would give me a straight answer, so yes, it's probably a bit skewed, but I have managed to create a good working relationship with kids from all walks at our school. Some of them are things I would've easily answered. Some of them sparked more conversation and kind of opened my eyes.
- "How is your day going?" I heard this from one student, and it stuck with me. He stopped juuuuuuuust short of calling some of his teachers automatons--that just teach without ever really connecting.
- "Good job." This one sounds so obvious to me. SOOO obvious. But some of our kids, much like some adults, need to hear it regularly, not just when they do well on a test.
- "I had a hard time understanding this, too." It helps kids to know that YOU, the teacher, had a hard time learning how to solve quadratic equations or understanind the language in Beowulf. Not only are you infinitely more human when you admit that you know what they're feeling.
- "I promise, it does get better." This one isn't just one that kids today want to hear, I think a lot of formerly struggling high school students wanted to. Needed to. Sometimes they need to hear that the garbage they are going through right now doesn't last, and that life does get better.
- "You're smart." Another one that sounded so obvious to me. I get what this student meant, though. She wants to hear that she's smart, and have the statement have no relationship to her grades.
- "I saw your name in the paper/heard it in the announcements/etc. That's awesome!" Provided what you heard is positive news, get them talking about life outside your classroom. It's called "being interested" in what they do.
Homework: What do you think? Tell me below. :)