We are so thankful for our WELS College of Ministry.
10) Tell Them
Nothing beats the ol’ fashion look ‘em in the eye and “thank you.”
9) Stickers anyone?
Not as a reward, but as a quick and easy thank you. Everyone loves stickers.
8) Write Them a Personal Note
Stick it in their desk or backpack. Better yet, if you are really proud of their work in a certain subject, tell them. Slip it into the next lesson of their textbook so they can have the pleasant surprise all to their own.
7) Tell the Parents
6) Display Their Work
Place their art work or strong assignment in a prominent place by your desk. Perhaps, on the wall for a few weeks or in a frame right on your desk.
5) Down Time
Encourage them when they are down. Be specific and tell them how much you appreciate them. This one can get emotional, especially if they are really down about something. The more personal feedback the better.
4) Have Lunch with Them
Make it a point to sit with them at a lunch hour, and have a conversation with them. Try not to focus on school. Focus on their life outside of school.
3) Sticky Note Smile
Walk by their desk and put a sticky note on top of their desk while they are working. It is unexpected and it is personal. That is a rare combination in a classroom. And seriously, does that take all of 30 seconds?
2) Extra-Curricular Support
Show up to one of their events outside of school. The ideas are endless. Their basketball game, soccer match, football game, dance competition, singing recital, and gymnastics event are all examples in which you can show you really care and appreciate them.
1) Hug it Out
If you don’t like a hug, then you need a hug. This is especially important for male teachers who have male students who really look up to them. They crave that affirmation. They need to see that male example of care and kindness. Remember, many of them may not receive any male affirmation outside of school. The lack of a father in the life of a boy has reached an epidemic in this country.
Have another way to say thank you? Share it in the comment section.
A Little Encouragement Goes A Long Way
The first day of school is quickly approaching all across the United States. Perhaps a little bit of panic is setting in? Excitement? Celebration? Hopefully, not dread.
The first day of school is always one of my favorite days of the entire year. Everyone has a renewed sense of purpose and vigor. Ideas are flowing. Minds are ready. In many ways, it is like that first day of spring up north. After a long, cold, and dreary winter it is time for the rejuvenation and life that spring brings.
Encouragement is needed throughout the entire school year. Encouragement is needed on that first day, that 50th day, and on that last day.
Let me tell you a little story about the power of encouragement. I was never a star student. I worked hard, but not a lot clicked for me. I often struggled through math, writing, and literature class in high school and college. My favorite subjects have always been history and science. While at MLC, I took Professor Theodore Hartwig as much as I possibly could for my history electives. While many considered him a challenging professor who had very high expectations, I loved learning from him. I struggled in some of his classes, all of the reading and studying was, at times, very demanding.
The last class I took with Professor Hartwig was on the life of Martin Luther. At the end of the class we had to complete a 20-30 page paper/timeline on Luther’s life. Up and to that point, I had never worked on anything with that much focus in my life. Day and night, for weeks, I worked on that paper. Even though I had spent class after class with B’s and C’s, I did not want to disappoint him.
Professor Hartwig gave me an “A” on that project. However, that is not why I am telling you this story.
I was going to lunch the next day and Professor Hartwig stopped me in the hallway. He took me aside and told me that was the best work he had ever seen me complete. It meant the world to me and my future work.
It begs the question though, why did it mean so much?
*It was sincere.
I appreciated it because I knew he meant it.
*It was specific.
He could’ve just said, “great job on that paper.” But he didn’t, he made it specific and made it personal.
*You had to earn it.
He was not the type of professor who just threw around praise. You had to earn his praise, which made it all the more meaningful.
Professor Hartwig cared about the students he had. Believe me, I blew many of his quizzes and tests. He would lovingly call you out and get you back on track. That is what a great teacher does really well.
Professor Hartwig didn’t just teach me history. He taught me how to be a teacher. He taught me how to be a better worker. He, in a major way, gave me a life-long example of how to encourage others.
The student who receives the least amount of encouragement and praise in your classroom is probably the student who needs it the most. Who are you going to encourage your first day of school? More importantly, how are you going to encourage them?
Did you ever have that teacher who looked like they would rather amputate their left leg than be in the classroom that day?
That doesn’t exactly make for an exciting day of learning.
Here is the big question…shouldn’t we, as Lutheran educators, be the happiest educators of them all? Every day we get to share the story of God’s amazing grace with our students. Every day we can apply proper use of law and gospel as the greatest aid in classroom management every created. Every day we have the opportunity to sit down with our students for a religion lesson, devotion, and prayer. Every day we can present history, science, and all of our other subjects from a biblical point of view.
You may be thinking, its easy to display that happiness on day one of the school year, but what about after eight straight days of discipline issues and three days in a row of little Johnny puking his guts out?
I am going to challenge you to have the mindset that those are the days where it all the more important to show that happiness in Christ.
Even on their worst days, your students must know they are loved…
Yes, firm discipline must be present. Yes, we must show our displeasure with their actions. Therefore, we must also show that love that our Savior has for us even though we screw up every, single day.
Your students must know you are in control…
Show that even on the worst of days, you are in control of yourself and your emotions. Don’t we preach that to our students and children all the time? We must be the model of that behavior for them.
Show those students why you love being a called worker…
I heard that we had over 40 schools who did not receive a teacher graduate out of MLC that requested one this year. That number is shocking! One of our must important jobs is to prepare the students we have for a lifetime of service. If they see us as miserable in our callings, than why would they ever want that calling for themselves? I think we could do an entire blog post on this topic. Show the love for your calling, so your students can see the incredible blessing that is the public ministry.
My 11th Commandment in my classroom…
Thou must laugh every day. Of course I don’t mean to make light of the 10 commandments, what I am saying is that laughter and happiness should take a priority in your ministry and your classroom. Just food for thought.
Finally, be happy. Be happy to know that God is using you to proclaim His Word. Be happy to know that the redeeming work of faith is not up to us and our imperfections. Be happy to know that the Holy Spirit is in charge of that work, our job is to plant the seed.
Be happy in Him, and always show your happiness.