Every human being (every one of us) is a valuable, worthwhile person. Teachers and parents cannot make every day a perfect day for all children, but both can make each day a little better. The following are some suggestions on how to do this:
- Believe a child wants to do the right thing, even though his or her behavior shows otherwise.
- Catch children being good, even if it takes all day; and then praise them for that behavior.
- Let bygones be bygones when discipline is involved. Don't bring up what a child did last week or yesterday. Deal only with the specific incident; keep it in perspective.
- Remember that those who don't achieve in reading or math usually walk and talk as well as any other student. Let them be in charge of the playground equipment, take notes to the principal's office, or pass out lunch tickets. Good students get rewarded on their academic work, so save those special privileges for the other pupils.
- In literacy activities or problem-solving exercises, use names of children in your class. Make any work as personal as you can. Think of ways to adapt assignments to have real connections to children's lives, which will help to ensure their success.
- Let each child act out something he or she does well, such as coloring, jumping rope, making a face, or brushing teeth. Have the class guess what it is. Then list on a bulletin board something in which each child is an expert.
- Cut out or draw a big tree and put it on the wall. Tell students that it is a "me tree." They can draw as many pictures as they wish to hang on the tree, showing things that make them happy or activities they enjoy doing.
- Add positive adjectives to children's given names under their self-portraits on display. For example, "Nifty Nancy" is sure to bring a smile from just plain Nancy, just as "Cool Carl," "Terrific Tim," "Wonderful Wendy," or "Happy Harold" will make their faces shine.
- Put a list of "good things to say to kids" on your desk or in your lesson book. These positive comments will remind you to praise more often. Praise yourself too. You deserve it.