“Positive anything is better than negative nothing.”
School-wide climate and culture is a major topic in the world of education. We see district and state wide attempts to change that climate and culture within schools. With anything though, change begins at the bottom-up. Change begins in our individual classrooms. Our classrooms must be a sincere example of positivity.
Now before we get further on how to affect this change, we must first clear the air on one topic. Creating a classroom climate of positivity does not mean we forgo correction, honest feedback, and discipline. It is quite the opposite. It is out of positive love that we correct, give sincere feedback, and carefully discipline. Those are the building blocks of a positive classroom environment.
They, however, are not the foundation. This is the unique blessing we have in teaching in a Christian environment at the foot of the cross. Every day our foundation of a positive classroom must begin and end with the gospel message that we are His children. The foundation of the law and gospel is what affects positive change in the life of a child. Every day, it is our job as Lutheran educators, to share with our students that they are forgiven and loved.
So with Him as our foundation, how can we continue to foster and build a classroom of positivity?
Sharing with each child that they are a redeemed child of God…
This gives them a sense of self-worth. This gives them the power to know that no matter how much they screw-up, they have a Savior who loves them.
Build a relationship with your students…
As Lutheran educators, we have a unique bond with those we serve. Show them that gospel love that we talk about in class every day. Take a special interest in them. Go to their baseball games, dance recitals, and birthday parties. Keep up with them after they leave their class. As they grow into their teenage years share an encouraging message with them via texting, facebook, or twitter. Most importantly, be there for them.
Be firm and consistent…
Don’t allow negative behavior to grow. Handle it right away. That student will respect you for it, and your entire class will thrive with the knowledge that you are providing a safe, family environment for them.
Be direct, specific, and to the point when giving praise…
While you show your firm side, don’t hesitate to give praise when deserved. Always be sincere and honest, never make something up just to give praise for the sake of praise. Your students will appreciate it and love you for it.
This is by no means an all-ecompasing guide to a positive classroom. If you have your own ideas, share them!