Monday, August 25, 2014

Feeling Inspired and Inspiring Others!

Today was one of those feel good days.  You know those days...the days where you finally feel validated that what you are doing is actually making a difference.  Today, not once, but twice, I had people come up to tell me about students that have said they want to be science teachers so that they can be like me.  I also received lots of hugs and a sunflower!  Teaching is like fighting in the trenches when it's pouring outside and you can't see an end in sight.  But occasionally, the rain subsides and you see a rainbow.  That rainbow gives you hope for the future. I saw MY rainbow today!

Today's post is not going to be about a strategy to implement in your classroom. I've created a list of 10 things I do to inspire students, and, also, to help you get through those days where you feel like you are in torrential downpour.

1. High five, fist bump, or make up a crazy unique handshake with your students.
2. Compliment at least five students a day.  This does not have to be anything planned. "I like your shirt!"  "You look great today!" 
"What a neat idea!"  "That's really cool!" etc.

3.  Greet your students by name.

4.  SMILE, and not just a little bit.  I maybe take this to an extreme, but really it's a lot more fun to be in class with a teacher that seems like he/she is enjoying him/herself.

Photo from We are Teachers
5. Don't make everything about business. Teach, teach, teach, and then stop.  Work on teambuilding, collaboration, critical thinking, or just mix it up with a content related game or trivia.

6. Listen to your students....even the ones that tell you the never ending story.  You may be the only one that will listen to them.

7.  Find a system that does not criticize students individually.  Whether it be Whole Brain Teaching or another system, constantly reinforce good behavior rather than focusing on the negative behavior.

8.  Have some sort of incentive program.  Last year I used gem jars, this year I am using Whole Brain Teaching's Scoreboard.  I also give out stickers for students or teams that successfully complete a challenging activity.

9.  Find time to pray about your students.  I pray on my way to work each morning.  I ask God to give me guidance on what I should do each day in my classroom and to help me make a difference in the lives of my students.

10.  Take time for yourself.  Find something you enjoy doing and attempt to do it as often as you can.  If you are feeling overwhelmed in your classroom, take a second to breathe and think about a time when you felt you were making a difference.

11.  Don't give up hope.  With all of the things going on in the world, it is easy to feel down.  Know that you CAN inspire students, you CAN make a difference, and if you don't do it, who will?

I wanted to conclude this post with an inspirational video.  After seeing Rita Pierson's presentation, I hear her voice throughout my day. Good luck inspiring our future. 
I know you can do it!

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