I bartended for many years before and after I became a teacher. Something about the hours and the people appealed to me and it is even how I met my husband; he was a bouncer and I was behind the bar. I remember seeing the same people come in weekend after weekend. Not because they had to. Not because there was anything special going on. Not because the drinks were fantastic. Instead it was because of the people who worked there. The people who made the place special. The people who knew you, who knew what you liked, who asked about your family, who made you feel cared about. They made the experience special.
Why am I bringing this up? Because in our classrooms we make the difference of whether kids want to show up or not. We already know they have to be there, but our relationship with them is what can determine whether they want to be a part of our classrooms or not. It is our attitude, how we greet them, how we treat them, that will make the difference.
So when school starts again, offer them the attention they deserve. Ask about more than homework or work habits. About more than what is happening at school. Look at them when you speak to them. Seek them out for conversation. Listen. Remember. And share yourself.
We know it is about the relationship. We know a successful education can hinge on personal relationships. Why not treat the students as if they don’t have to be there but instead want to be there? Why not treat them like we would our favorite customer? It’s amazing how much a smile and a few lines of conversation can do, don’t forget that.
I am a passionate teacher in Oregon, Wisconsin, USA, who has taught 4th, 5th, and 7th grade. Proud techy geek, and mass consumer of incredible books. Creator of the Global Read Aloud Project, Co-founder of EdCamp MadWI, and believer in all children. I have no awards or accolades except for the lightbulbs that go off in my students’ heads every day. First book “Passionate Learners – Giving Our Classrooms Back to Our Students” can be purchased now from Powerful Learning Press. Second book“Empowered Schools, Empowered Students – Creating Connected and Invested Learners” is out now from Corwin Press. Follow me on Twitter @PernilleRipp.