“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said; people will forget what you did; but people will never forget how you made them feel.” ~ Maya Angelou
This quote has always had meaning for me because it has proven to be very true in my life. I have forgotten a lot of what I was taught, but I will be forever thankful for the people who, especially in my formative years, made me feel encouraged, capable, and in other ways that brought the best out of me. I remember the teachers who worked hard to support me and help me achieve things that I knew were meaningful. Just thinking of them makes me smile and feel appreciative. And, unfortunately, I also seem to remember the teachers who made me feel “dumb” or incapable as well.
I think it is probably the one skill that the most impactful teachers share, the ability to make students feel noticed, cared about, believed in, and capable. In my experience, this skill is based in genuineness and honest caring, and those who pretend or focus on artificially puffed up self-esteem never had anywhere near the same impact. Educational research would suggest that the best way for teachers to care about students is to genuinely care about each student’s learning. While it is nice to connect with students in other ways—such as hobbies or outside interests—real and genuine caring for students by teachers is best focused around the purpose of that relationship, the learning of the student.
Finally, I will admit as a principal, I admire teachers who consistently show great caring and concern for the students who need them most, those students who don’t feel good about themselves. It is far easier to teach students who are successful and have lots of positives in their lives, than to teach students who are struggling. When I see teachers reach out and really work hard to show caring about all of their student’s learning, and do so relentlessly, that is truly impressive. I am thankful we have so many really nice and caring people on our staff because I suspect it is from that context that we can strive each day to show all of our students we really care about their learning and success.
Have a great week,
Reminder: HS students will be getting progress reports in their planners on this Thursday and Friday. Please ask to see your child’s progress reports and discuss how they are doing in each class. Thanks.