Monday, October 3, 2011

Yes, You Do Matter!

valueAfter reading What If You Knew You Mattered? by Angela Maiers, she states,

“Doing business as if the “customer” does not matter not only hurts the customer; it hurts the industry. Showing up to our jobs and to our lives as if how we act and behave does not impact the people we meet is not ok.”

I couldn’t wait to blog about my own feelings on this and how I think it relates to the classroom.

First, I understand that many teachers get overwhelmed, overworked, underpaid, and unappreciated. But that is no reason for us not to treat our students as if they really matter. I hear teachers talking and joking about the problems of their students. They don’t talk about having problems dealing with the problem but rather the student and the problem the student is having. Many teachers use sarcasm and cynicism to cope with these situations but don’t understand that it doesn’t help the problem but rather make it worse. Actions like this show that the student doesn’t matter when in fact, they should matter greatly.

Sometimes when emotions run high and everyone gets frustrated, we need to stop what we are doing and tell the other person, “You matter to me!” Sometimes in anger and frustration, people tend to feel like they are not valued when actually the other person may value them even more which is why they are more emotional. I used to tell my students that if I didn’t care, I wouldn’t get angry or frustrated. If something doesn’t matter to me, they can’t affect me at all. Suddenly this put the whole situation in a different light. When the students realized that they truly did matter to me, they were able to calm down and react differently. Also, by stating to the student that they mattered to me, I was able to calm down and realize that I needed to look at how I was handling the situation and see if another alternative was possible.

Not only did this help my students improve academically but it also helped the student’s behaviors in class. Students seemed to try harder when they knew I really cared. I even heard a couple of students talking about it once when they thought I wasn’t within hearing distance. One boy mentioned that he wouldn’t do something I asked him to do and shrugged it off by saying, “She doesn’t care!” The other student responded, “Yes, she does. If you don’t do it, then she will get mad and she might even call home. She doesn’t call home during school either but uses her own time to do that!” I realized then that my actions sometimes spoke louder than words.

So, to all of my readers out there – You matter to me! Thanks for reading my blog!

Posted on the Successful Teaching Blog by loonyhiker (successfulteaching at gmail dot com).

Image: 'VALUE'


Ian Anderson said...

Thank you so much for this reminder. I just got through talking with two other teachers and it was difficult not to join in the negative talk. It's also difficult not to feel injured by your students. Just last hour I had to speak to a student in the hall, and I could feel my blood pressure rising - but I know I was so upset because he and I have been working hard on his behavior, and when acted up, I felt hurt. But then again, he probably did too.

Thanks again. I needed to hear that.

loonyhiker said...

I'm glad I said something that spoke to you. I can tell you care about this student or you wouldn't have been hurt by his behavior. He needs to know that you care about him and how his behavior makes you feel. I hope things improve. And thank you so much for taking time read my blog and commenting. It really makes me feel good too! :)