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.



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

  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.

  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.

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

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


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