Why Not Treat Them Like They Want to Be In Our Classrooms?

image from icanread

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.

4 thoughts on “Why Not Treat Them Like They Want to Be In Our Classrooms?

  1. Our students are children first – someone’s beloved child, sibling, grandchild, niece, nephew, friend. They are students only to us, but loved ones to many. Treating them as such is crucial to teaching. Great post to reflect on as I enter the new year! Thanks, Pernille!

  2. Pingback: Why Not Treat Them Like They Want to Be In Our Cla… | EducatorAl's Tweets

  3. My advisory group is the kids who need extra organization help. The kids that need an adult to double check their planner is filled out, and that they are using their advisory time to catch up on missing work. The island of misfit toys. At the beginning of this term I had one girl who was less than thrilled to be in my group. She was pouty and completely against me. She wanted to be with her friends. She didn’t really know me as a teacher yet, and I didn’t really know her. I told her one of her options was to find one of her friends who wanted to come to the organization advisory and I’d make room for them. She looked at me in the eyes and said — “No offense, Mrs. Severson, but I can’t imagine anyone would want to be in here.” She was still ticked. I really made the effort to be kind to her, but not baby her. To help her and commend her on the progress she had made. We got to know each other. The last two weeks before winter break she asked if Greta could join her in my room. YES! Silent victory — not only did the first girl want to be in my room — she wanted a friend to join her as well! The best part of the relationship building — the first student is doing so much better in my ELA class as well. Student will work for anyone that they think likes them.

  4. I love this! It has helped my thinking about what kind of space I want my classroom to be… not only do I want to treat my kids like they want to be there but I also want to take responsibility for building a space that they want to be in. A space where they want to learn. A space where they want to ask questions. A space where they know they will be heard.

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