This week I finished sending a good news card to every student's home address. My school has little postcards I can send out with a note about something positive a student did in my class. I started the second week of school, and I was determined to find something good to report about every one before the end of the year. It's not that it took me this long to find something about everyone; it's that it took me this long to find the time to finish up!
Last Friday, I had three seniors in danger of failing sit down and do enough work to move themselves out of the danger zone. I asked them who they'd like me to call to brag, and each was ready with a name. Ending my week such positive interactions with parents made it a little easier for me to spend less mental energy on school over the weekend. And each of the students, for whom attendance is usually an issue, were back the next class to continue building on their work.
I want to remember to make a new academic year resolution for August to
find more times to praise my students to their parents and other people
in their lives who matter to them. It's amazing what a simple note or
phone call home can do -- especially for a kid who doesn't often get
positive communication from school.
Teacher friends, what works for you to encourage students? And does your heart break at that moment when you call home with good news and you can tell the parent is expecting more bad news?