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Our jobs as teachers are not limited to simply teaching, instruction, and delivering information. Our jobs extend to being mothers, fathers, caregivers, therapists, nurses, and anything else that our students need us to be.
Students who are loved at home, come to school to learn, and students who aren't, come to school to be loved. --Todd WhitakerThe best part about being a teacher is that it matters. The hardest part about being a teacher is that it matters every day. --Nicholas Ferroni
So, how do we help those who struggle emotionally, physically, and instructionally want to come to school? How do we support and celebrate them in meaningful ways so that they strive for more?
Here are several easy ways that my school is celebrating these students:
Pride Walks: Our school has 2 week cycles of math fluency testing. There is a pre test and post test that every student completes. If they pass, then they have mastered the skill. Those students are able to participate in the Pride Walk. All students assemble in the gym and proceed on a parade route through the school. They get to slap hands, cheer, and 'get their swag on' to celebrate their accomplishments. Those students encourage the others to try harder, work harder, and strive to make the next pride walk.
School Wide Celebrations: Each 9 weeks, have a goal for students to work towards. Our school chooses Accelerated Reader point goals. If a child reaches their goal (chosen by the teacher), they are able to participate. We had a cook out this past 9 weeks to celebrate their accomplishments. Our principal is planning a movie, pajama day, and hot chocolate for our 2nd 9 weeks. Not too expensive to plan for a school, but super motivating for students!
Awards: We all have award days in school. But what if you were to add a quick, 30 minute assembly each month? During this assembly, recognize the Student of the Month (appointed by each homeroom teacher for going above and beyond), those who are fluent in math facts, Kings and Queens of AR.... the possibilities are endless!
Why would this work for your school?
By picking what your students need the most improvement on, you are encouraging and motivating them to preform, all while they are working towards a prize or reward that they want. This, in turn, will help to produce self motivating students over time.