“…make a special effort to include a moment of gratitude in your daily routine. Sometime in your class, stop the lesson, and show some appreciation to your class as a whole.”
Many of my students felt they were unwanted misfits and many were in constant trouble over the years. Many were ridiculed and felt like a burden on others.
On a weekly basis, I would tell my class how much I enjoyed teaching them and how glad I was that they were in my class. At first, they were skeptical but after hearing this at least once a week, they started to believe me. No one wants to feel unwanted or unappreciated.
Sometimes I would explain that when I would get annoyed or frustrated with them, it meant I cared. If I didn’t care, I would let them do whatever they wanted and not care if they learned anything. But it was important to me that they learn and become productive citizens.
Many times I would tell them how much that I respected them and how brave I felt they were to keep struggling and not giving up.
A lot of my students had never been told this by a teacher or even their family. The more I showed my gratitude, the more they tried. The more I showed by example how I respected them, they learned to show their respect back.
I liked to explain to them that we were like a big team and we had to help each other. We had to appreciate each other’s strengths and use them to learn from them. I explained how thankful I was to learn from them every day. This always shocked them because they always thought a teacher knew everything! I would show them that I learned how to be a better teacher from them because each student is like a fingerprint and no one person is alike. They all have different learning styles and ways of learning that are different from each other. Every student teaches me how to be a detective and figure out what works best for them. I explain how lucky I am that they are patient with me as I learn this.
This attitude of gratitude also helped me when I felt frustrated and depressed that I wasn’t making as much progress as I would like. I would stop myself and remind myself how thankful I was for my class. I would think about all the little steps they have taken towards success and remind myself that change doesn’t happen overnight.
How do you show gratitude to your class? Please share.