“It is my belief that we all have the need to feel special. It is this need that can bring out the best in us, or the worst in us.” Janet Jackson
I was recently awarded Bank of America Outstanding Teacher for STEM along with 42 other teachers in our district. It was an immense honor!
The day was filled with activities and we, the teachers and our one guest, were treated like celebrities. We were served amazing lunch where we also participated in a raffle with to pick the driver we would be paired up with to ride a lap around the track. I chose Jeff Burton, because I recognized his name when it was my turn. I have to admit, I do not know much about NASCAR besides I use the sport to teach force and motion to my students because a lot of my students are NASCAR fans. The teachers, our guests and I got to go into the “pit” and view the pit crews working on the cars before the race. We received amazing gift bags that included Bank of America-NASCAR shirts. We got to be announced with our drivers, walk across the stage and carry their flag. We stayed with them until the race began.
Some of the drivers were very nice (Landon Cassill was amazing to everyone that he passed, teacher, fans etc) while other drivers blew by us like we weren’t even there. During this time, I was reminded how amazing it feels to be treated so special. It got me thinking about our students. It stroke a chord with me that we need to make sure that everyday we are making all students feel as special as I felt yesterday. Even a hello in the hallway can make a students day, just like it made my day when Landon Cassill said hi. To the students, we are their celebrities, if they are student in our own classroom or not. If students are feeling special, they will feel happier and it will lead to better behavior, test scores and less drop out rates. I know all teachers try to make students feel special but sometimes it is hard when so many things are thrown at us such as testing and district mandates along with the many “hats” we wear.
Here are 5 ways to make students (or anyone) feel special daily:
1. Say Hi to all students when passing in the hallway. Even if your hallways are silent, you can do a silent wave!
2. Listen to what they are saying! We are all busy, but take the time to really listen; this goes for your co-workers as well!
3. Eat lunch with them, even if it is once a week. They will feel important, which they are!
4. Ask questions. Most teachers take time in the beginning of the year to get to know your students by asking questions, but why stop. Students are always changing. Run out of thinks to ask them? Ask them how their
night was or weekend?
5. Remember details about your students and then use the details you learn in conversations with them.
Many teachers do this often, but even the best teachers forget how important it is to help students feel special everyday!
Landon Cassill’s Trailer