As the holidays approach, few teachers can afford to buy each student a gift – but we all have the power to give students something meaningful that doesn’t cost a thing. Here are three ideas:
I’ve written a lot about the importance of helping kids understand themselves. There are many students in your class who think that they’re the oddball, they’re the one who doesn’t fit in, or that there’s something wrong with them. Deborah Ruf writes:
…the theme of, “I thought something was wrong with me,” was prevalent among those who did not receive some form of explanation or confirmation of their intelligence.
Whether it’s talking about the common traits of gifted students, introversion, intuitiveness, over-excitabilities, or impostor syndrome – helping kids understand themselves a little better is a great gift to give.
2. A Book Recommendation
“You know what, Julia, I think I know a book you’d like.”
Think about how powerful it is to give a personal book recommendation to a student – especially if you can pull the book off a shelf and hand it to them. It means you’ve been thinking about them and you understand them.
In 11th-grade my physics teacher lent me this book on Chaos Theory because he thought I’d like it. I will never forget it!
3. A Public Compliment
My colleague Andrea was fantastic at purposefully calling out something positive about students who needed a little boost.
- “You know I just want to point out how great Andy is at making us all laugh. Thanks, man.”
- “Can we all give Linda a hand for getting her homework in every day this week. Way to go Linda!”
- “Check this out you guys, Dave tried that test a second time and really improved his score.”
Obviously, you’d use this technique tactfully but think about the power of hearing a great thing about yourself from your boss! It means a lot.