Thank you Ruth Ayres for providing this space to celebrate!
I love the first week of school. I love the newness and the setting up of routines & rituals in class. I love getting to know my students and letting them get to know me. This week I shared my goals for the year with my students. I want them all to know that they are important. My goal is for each of them to know that YOU MATTER. I'd seen a tweet about it and done some research and read a little by Angela Maiers who has a YOU MATTER Manifesto and I decided to share this message with them.
How did I work towards my goal this week?
1. Every morning, I made sure that the board had a message of YOU MATTER as each class walked in.
2. At the end of each class, we'd share about the best part of class or something they learned about someone in class.
3. On Friday, our exit ticket was about YOU MATTER.
I knew this was working on Thursday. The students were logging into an online class that I had set up. I used a very easy password to get into the class, so I was joking with them about being able to crack my "super secret password". (It was my name...too easy.) When someone in the class figured it out and announced it, another boy quietly said to me, "Oh, I thought it might be YOU MATTER."
I realized that the message was getting through. On Friday, the students had three questions to answer for their exit ticket. How had they experienced YOU MATTER this week? What had they done to make someone else feel like they matter? What's their plan for next week? The answers took my breath away. Here are some of them...
How have you experienced YOU MATTER this week?
*the teachers care that I'm their student
*teachers try their hardest to remember our names even though they have a lot of students
*people have asked me sit with them at lunch
*when my teacher said it doesn't matter what my reading level is
*my friends saying hi to me in the hallway
*someone helped me open my locker
*people say excuse me when they accidentally bump into me in the crowded hallways
*every teacher I've met makes me feel special
Kindness matters. I've always known that and worked hard to practice that. Gratitude matters. Again, this practice guides my life! Sharing these ideas with the students and involving them has given them an opportunity to see how they can help and how they create community and it shows them that YOU MATTER. WE ALL MATTER.