Thursday, February 03, 2011

Small Victory #2

"Here Mr. Hughes" he said as he handed me one of many missing assignments I had been asking to have done for weeks.
I smiled, "Thanks buddy! Make sure your name is on it and put it on my desk." He smiled back and set it on my desk.

This is one tough cookie that I work with every day. Yesterday had involved a situation that required me to detain this student after school. It was a chance to express my concerns, as I started into my well rehearsed speech, I looked at this student who wanted nothing more than to be rid of me. I knew I was using the wrong tactic completely. I stopped mid-stream.

"I just want to tell you that I am proud of you!"

A pause from the student. A quick look to see if I was still talking to him.

"Yes, YOU! I know that I have asked you to make a lot of changes for me and our classroom. But I don't think I have ever told you thank you for well you are doing. I know I ask a lot from you- and that is only because I know that you can do it!"

Still a look of uncertainty. This brought back a thought I had read on an education blog somewhere about how you should try to avoid using the word "but" when giving praise- like "You did really well, but, I wish you were doing better". It takes the pleasure out of the praise. I knew that I had to avoid that at all costs. He was looking at me now as I thought about what to say next.

"I just thought I should let you know how much I appreciate you and all you do." It was time to end the "lecture" and let him bask in something positive for a change. "You better head home now. I expect to see good things from you!"

He smiled a little and stood up. We he offered me a high-five- a tradition in our classroom, and was gone. I sat thinking for moment as he left that these amazing kids just need more from me:
more attention
more praise
more sincere teaching

I only hope I can give it to them. I am happy about today's small victory. I hope to have many more to share.

Later...

5 comments:

  1. Great story. The world needs a few more compassionate teachers like you.

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  2. Those little successes add up.

    I also try to remember never to use "but" when I am giving positive feedback to a student. There is always time to add correction later, but for that moment they need the praise.

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  3. Good job, sir!

    I've had moments like this in my teaching career as well. Good for you for listening to that 'magic teaching' moment voice.

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  4. I want to know if you make some improvements. Keep me informed well done master teacher!!!

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  5. I look forward to hearing now he does. Keep me informed, well done master teacher!!

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Thanks for sharing your thoughts...

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