As teachers, we create the climate in our classrooms. If we are negative, our students will react. If we are positive, our students will react. Students react to the energy we bring and the climate we set. Through our actions as their teacher – the leader of the classroom, we set the tone for learning, encouragement, and mutual respect…or something else.
The day to day pattern of the climate we set becomes the culture of our classroom. We know that the classroom culture can help kids thrive, or tear them down. There is tremendous power in this – and tremendous responsibility.
Every day we have the power to choose how we show up in our classrooms. We can choose negativity, stress, and overwhelm. Or we can choose positivity, balance, and freedom.
We can choose to encourage our students – or tear them down. I don’t believe a teacher intentionally tears down her students unless she is in a very bad and dark place emotionally. Most of us try to encourage our students – but sometimes our unintentional actions can do the opposite.
We have to be extremely intentional with our attitude, mindset, words, and actions in order to create the classroom culture in which our students will thrive.
Encouraging the Hearts of Students
James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Pozner wrote a book on leadership called “The Leadership Challenge” in which they outlined five key practices of effective leaders. One of the practices that stuck out to me was “Encourage the Heart”.
Leaders Encourage the Heart of their constituents to carry on. Genuine acts of caring uplift the spirits and draw people forward. No one likes to be taken for granted.” -The Leadership Challenge (Kouzes and Pozner)
As teachers, we are the leaders of our classrooms. As such, taking a note from effective leaders makes sense in informing our practice.
There are lots of things we can do to encourage the hearts of students – from large to small gestures. Sometimes it’s a simple as looking in their eyes and smiling. Other times, larger gestures of gratitude and encouragement are needed.
It’s part of the leader’s job to recognize contributions by showing appreciation for individual excellence…Leaders also celebrate the values and victories by creating a spirit of community. ” -The Leadership Challenge (Kouzes and Pozner)
What are some ways you can show appreciation for your students’ individual excellence today or in these next couple of weeks?
How can you celebrate values and victories in your classroom not just for fun but in order to intentionally create an opportunity to encourage the hearts of your students?
Remember that you set the climate and culture as the teacher/leader in your classroom. How can you be a leader who encourages the hearts of students?
~Alison, A Teacher’s Best Friend