Saturday, February 27, 2010

Day 58- said something nice to everyone

Day 58 Said something nice to everyone.

Now when I say everyone, I really mean the 8th graders I teach and the 8th grade team.

8th grade is tough year. I used to say by March 8th graders turn into "almost people". This is the time in their lives when they are trying to figure out who they are. They are no longer clones of their parent's values or mirror images of their friends. They start to question values, rules and morals. They make mistakes. They learn from them. They are the victims of bulling and also the bullies. All of these things help them form the model of an adult they will one day be.

The simple fact is-- I never know what sort of impact any little thing makes. A smile at the right moment might make a student's day. An eye roll might ruin their perception of school. Gestures, words, eye contact--- students absorb all of that, they interpret it and use that to form their view of reality and themselves.

Sometimes they are misinterpreting what they are seeing and it's distorting their view. Sometimes they need someone to say something directly to them.

A few months ago I had a former student e-mail me and say she was really grateful for all the support she had gotten in middle school. She's graduating a year early. I e-mailed her back gushing with pride.
She responded back with -- no one had seemed as proud of her as I was. In high school teachers aren't quick to tell you that they are proud of you.
I was kind of horrified and decided to tell all my students how proud I was of them.

This is similar to the drama club kids, but my 8th graders are different. I know them better.

First off during our 8th grade team meeting I said something nice to all my co-workers. Comments ranged from "Watching you makes me want to be a better teacher." to "You are the smartest person I know, and every time we talk I feel like I walk away learning something new."

Then during my three Gt reading classes I stood in front of every student and said something nice about that child. Comments ranged from, "Students like you give me hope for the future." to "I've noticed how hard you've been working and I want you to keep it up."
Each kid received a personalized complement.

Everyone, from teachers to students, seemed moved by my comment. I can't say for sure how it impacted them, but I know that if a teacher had something nice to me, I would carry that with me for a long time.
However I do know, I'm don't know how to take a compliment myself. Whenever someone says something nice to me, I thank them and feel awkward. Lots of times I feel like I don't deserve the compliment. Maybe it's the Irish Catholic guilt in me. Overall I hope I didn't embarrassed any of my students and I hope I made the feel cared for.

would I do it again: Yes most likely at the end of the year.
Cost: nothing
Effort: It was hard coming up with something nice to say about everyone
Time: 30 minutes ---10 minutes per class. Total of 85 students and 10 staff members

1 comment:

  1. Mrs. Manack,
    I was one of the people you complimented, and I just wanted to say the personalized compliment you gave me really meant a lot to me. I was having one of those days where nothing seems to go well, and you put me in a good mood for the rest of the day. Thanks so much!