I am encouraging new teachers and soon-to-be teachers to take the Amazing Teacher Pledge – a set of 10 promises that I believe all amazing teachers make.
To recap, here are the first three promises of the Amazing Teacher Pledge:
Here is Promise #4:
I promise to be my students’ source of praise.
What does that mean, Sam?
I’m glad you asked.
One common characteristic of the amazing teachers that I’ve known is the constant distribution of praise to their students – all their students. Amazing teachers look for opportunities to give a compliment to a student. They enjoy seeing students light up with a smile.
This is easy to do with your top students. Giving praise to your more challenging students, however, can be a little more – challenging.
What I’ve found is that the more you offer praise to your disrespectful or defiant students, the less disrespectful and defiant they become. Amazing teachers find something praise-worthy in these students and focus on highlighting that.
Praise can be as little as a comment about a student’s appearance.
“Hey Jimmy, that is one cool shirt.”
“Briana, I like your new hair style.”
A one-on-one comment in the hall can have a long-lasting effect.
“Mark, you did a great job on that homework assignment.”
In class, during a question and answer session:
“Great answer Juan. That’s a smart boy right there!”
Students, like most of us, need to know that they are accepted, that they are doing well. We all need approval.
The five most powerful words that a teacher can say to a student are:
“I am proud of you.”
It’s amazing how much of an impact this small statement can have on a student. Say it often. Don’t worry about over-using this statement. Say it so much that it loses its effect – if that is even possible. It will be the statement that your students will remember about you long after they leave your classroom.
Students, especially our more challenging students don’t get enough praise.
Amazing teachers see the power in praise and distribute it liberally in their classrooms.
Because of this, students enjoy coming to their class. They will work harder for those teachers. They will behave better for those teachers. They will come back and visit those teachers once the year is over.
Praise is amazing.
Until next time,