I was struck by this message posted on one of my teacher’s whiteboard last week. There was a substitute in this teacher’s room and I was checking to make sure our class was on point. As I scanned the room, I saw this note posted at the top of her instructions to the class:
‘I love you class!’
This immediately reminded me about a presentation from Baruti Kafele at this year’s NAASP conference. He shared with his group that a message he had to develop and then consistently deliver to his kids was ‘I believe in you.’ [I immediately took this back to my school and shared at an awards banquet].
You would have to know Ms Mack to truly appreciate this message. First, no matter the many barriers she is working to overcome in her class [and she has several] Ms Mack always has a smile and she always has a hug. Second, she preaches high expectations. She plans lessons and engaging activities everyday and demands the most from her students [and she often gets it]. I was recently in her room and she was sharing with her students their benchmark results. Her talk was about how the class performed, the school performed and then she had one-on-one talks with students about what they can do. Her data talk was embedded in an activity on ‘ATTITUDE‘ and how it has a bearing on everything we do. [I was blown away by this message]
This sign is what Ms Mack is about but it got me to thinking – is this my schools’ message? Is this MY message?
- If I asked my students, would they say they knew their teachers loved them?
- If I asked them, would they say they know I love them?
- Do they believe it when we say it to them?
- How do we show this?
Relationships are critical to what we do and being effective in what we do but I think this message goes beyond a relationship. A relationship will facilitate a student bringing a problem to you. A student knowing he/she is loved means you are the first [and sometimes only] person a student will call when there is a significant problem.
Do your kids know?