Do you ever come to school with nothing left? Seriously. There are times I get up in the morning and think, I have nothing left to give. I’m not being lazy or selfish, just out of gas.
Well, our students have those days too. Actually, some students have a lot of those days. Here’s what to do about that.
Become a bucket filler. Figure out what helps each student feel cared about. It's actually pretty simple. Ask students in your class what they would like best out of a few options. Make a graph and give each student 2 post-its to put their name on. Have them place the notes on their 2 favorite ways to know they're cared about.
For some kids it’s a random high five or a class handshake. An acknowledgment of their hard work can really make some students days. Perhaps it’s taking time to talk with them, ask a question or share a joke for minute. They just want a little snippet of your time. Other students might prefer having you do little tasks for them like tie their shoe, help them with something or pick up their pencil when they drop it. For other students, a sticker or small piece of candy can go a long way. I'm sure you can think of other little ways to show you see them and care about them.
It’s easy to build these things into your days. Even better, you don’t have to provide it all by yourself. You have an entire class that can provide for each other as well.
Train your class with 4 nice things they be on the lookout to do for a classmate. Talk about and model ways they can use them appropriately. Just a note for caution. DO NOT reward students for this. These are quiet ways to serve each other. Part of doing this is to instill that feeling of love for each other. Once we add in a tangible reward, there's other motives than love.
Let's be honest. Simply changing how you say things to students completely changes how it's received. Adding in please, thank you and sincere, kind words as often as you can takes very little effort but can make a student's day. In fact, it will probably make you feel happier too.
This will tell you how much of a teacher nerd I am. I like to remind myself that teaching is a profession of service and make a game of finding little ways to be of assistance and show I care. I keep a mental tally in my head each day to see if I can beat my "high score". Weird, right?! Well, it works for me.
You know those "out of gas" days? Yup, those. First of all, you are not alone! We all feel that way at times. Teaching is not for the faint of heart.
So, what about those days you have nothing left to give?! Be honest with your class and let them know you need a little bit of caring for too. I promise, your students will step up their game and take care of you with great joy. In fact, you just might have to tell them to stop because your bucket is overflowing. That's a fabulous day!