Topics of interest to teachers of English as a second or foreign language to young learners.
Helene J Uchida
June 02, 2014
Celebrate Our Students
Nothing succeeds like success.
And because of this old adage, I think that teachers should put more energy into celebrating our students. Why? Because they are worthy of it. If you take a moment and look back at your own student days, I am certain that you remember the teachers who found good things in you. I still have old scrapbooks filled with certificates and ribbons from elementary school, but more importantly, I cherish the positive words spoken to me from teachers who were perceptive enough to find some good things in me. Little did they know that I was lacking in confidence and self-esteem. But because some teachers were generous enough to convey praise to me, I was able to take mini steps, which led to self-confidence. For this reason, I always make it a point to directly or subtly celebrate my students in public or private throughout the school year. I would like to share with you a list of suggestions for your consideration:
Take a picture of new students with you and their classmates the first week of class. Give them a copy of the picture or email it to them in care of their mothers. This makes them feel like they are part of the group.
Give awards to students in various student recognition categories, such as: most helpful, best penmanship, best pronunciation, most improved, rookie of the year, best attitude, best homework, best reading, etc.
Use students’ names when you write sample sentences or grammar points on the blackboard.
Have students write their self-introductions on a self-introduction form.
Display them on the wall of your lobby or classroom. Give an award for the most beautiful penmanship.
With parent permission, post pictures of your students studying on your website or Facebook account.
Praise students for their good qualities in public. For example, if a class succeeds in reading words or sentences from the blackboard, ask the school secretary or another teacher to take a moment to come the room and listen to them read.
Compliment students in private. Ask a student to stay a few minutes after class to compliment how well he or she is doing with specific task.
Create a student bulletin to spotlight students. On it hang pictures of your students, display examples of their writing, pictures of them traveling abroad, etc.
Give recognition to your students in your school newsletter or school blog. Post names of students with various accomplishments, such as traveling abroad, participating in a speech contest, tutoring newcomers, doing book reports, winning baseball games, playing in a piano recital, etc.
Perfect attendance definitely deserves a certificate or a gift.
Give birthday certificates to students the week of their birthday. Sing the Happy Birthday song together and shakes hands with the birthday student.
Please add more of your ideas to the list. Celebrating your students is a strategic signal to them that you value and appreciate them. Students are loyal to teachers who find good thing in them. Acknowledging students is a win-win situation for all involved, and the effects can last a lifetime.
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