For some of my students, it is simply not enough for me to smile and say “Wow, that’s really clever of you, well done!” when they show me a video they made for a friend’s birthday. They need other students to know the teacher knows. More importantly, they need all the other students to see that I respect some things the student does even though everyone knows that in class he’s busy trying to pull girls’ pony tails, hide someone’s cell phone or off looking for his own lost school supplies.
Frankly, I myself need reminding too – we’re talking about 11th grade, did I mention that?!!
Then there are the good students, even the excellent students, who really need to hear (or see, in my class of Deaf and hard of hearing students) a good word said about them that isn’t related to academic achievements. Some are so quiet that even their academic achievements aren’t well-known.
Duh, you may say (especially if you teach teens). EVERYONE, including we teachers, want to be noticed.
So why am I equally excited and worried about the new I’m Proud of YOU!” board now hanging in our English Room? My plan is to hang up notes, scattered around the board (wall wisher style) mentioning things students did as they happen, taking off old notes when it gets too crowded.
What could go wrong?
For starters – I really recommend watching the TED Talk below. I’m sure the teacher mentioned in the beginning of it had the best of intentions, but her intentions were not what mattered to the poor student. And my students need the board in order to add a tiny extra layer of protection to all the rejection many of them encounter in life.
At least, that’s what I hope.
I don’t want anyone to feel insulted.
I don’t want anyone to be made fun of.
I don’t want anyone to feel forgotten but it would be defeating the purpose if I hung up notes about all of my students on the same day. Everyone would lose interest in the board if it didn’t change. I plan to keep track of the names that go up.
Back to the TED Talk. My take away from it was that I should try. I won’t be able to improve and make corrections if I don’t start! And I teach these students for three years, so I have time to make amends if needed.
The new board has been up for a few days but I’ve been out sick, so no students have seen it yet. I remain hopeful and concerned.
Updates will follow…