We have finally made it to the last promise of the Amazing Teacher Pledge.
Thank you for hanging in there with me.
Again, the Amazing Teacher Pledge is a set of 10 promises that I believe all amazing teachers make.
To recap, here are the first eight promises:
Here is the final promise in the Amazing Teacher Pledge:
I promise to adopt every student in my class.
Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines the word, adopt as: to take by choice into a relationship; especially : to take voluntarily (a child of other parents) as one’s own child.
Amazing teachers don’t see the children in their class as only their students. They see them as their children.
They refer to their students as, “my kids.”
This isn’t that difficult to do with your top students, your high achievers, your obedient and well-behaved students.
What separates amazing teachers from great teachers is the ability to consider even that uncooperative student as “my kid.”
There are some interesting dynamics that take place when a teacher “adopts” the children in his/her class.
1. A teacher finds a little more patience with students.
2. A teacher will defend his/her students when other teachers complain about them.
3. A teacher will take more time explaining a concept if a student doesn’t understand it.
4. A teacher will offer consequences more to teach a lesson than to make a point.
5. A teacher won’t accept excuses from students who choose not to learn.
6. A teacher won’t give up on a student, even when the student has given up.
I know an amazing teacher who actually adopted one of her own students – legally. Her name is Jenny. The student was living in a foster home, and was not doing well in school. He was being disrespectful to his teachers, and he was failing all his classes. This teacher made a decision to “adopt” this student, first in her class. He was no longer one of her students. He was one of her “kiddos,” as she like to say. As the year progressed, she learned more about the student’s situation, and after speaking with her husband, began making plans to become foster parents. The student also began making changes. He improved in school. He stopped being disrespectful to his teachers, knowing that his “adopted” teacher would find out and give him what for. Near the end of the year, the teacher spoke to the student about her idea of being his foster parent. She told him that there would be rules and responsibilities that he would have to abide by, and ultimately the decision would be his to make. After a few days, he came to her class, and told her that he would agree to come live with her and her family. I think his exact words were, “I would be honored to be a part of your family.”
This amazing teacher saved that boy’s life.
She is my hero.
Way to go Jenny.
We can’t all be like Jenny, but we can make the decision to “adopt” our students, at least in the classroom. We can make it clear to them that that they belong to us.
You would be surprised how many of our more challenging students just want to belong to someone.
This is not an easy promise to make. We have students in our classes who you really don’t want to “adopt.” I know there are a few who I would like to relinquish custodial rights to.
But I won’t. When they make a bad choice, I have to sit down with them and I tell them, “You’re my kid. You belong to me. For the rest of the year, you’re mine. I will do everything I can to make this year your best year ever, but you have to do your part. When you make poor choices, it affects me, because you’re not just my student; you’re my kid.”
Consider that student who is the most challenging in your classroom right now. Close your eyes and picture his/her face in your mind.
Now make the promise that for the rest of the year, you’re going to “adopt” him/her.
He/She is your child.
What are you going to do differently?
There you have it – the last promise of the Amazing Teacher Pledge – I promise to adopt every student in my class.
So what do you think? I would love to hear your thoughts about this promise. Share your comments in the box below.
Until next time,