One thing I have learned in life is that for me praise really means a lot. As an Educator, I like to give praise to my students frequently. However, there are times I give praise and really mean it*! And the students really know. I have seen even my smartest students get so gleeful at getting a high score on a quiz that was relatively simple. And I have seen struggling students react indifferently towards a decent score that they don’t necessarily always get. It’s interesting how some of my highly motivated students react more positively to praise, than some of my less motivated students.
[[[* I know it’s kinda messed up for me to admit I halfheartedly praise my students sometimes, and then share how there are times I really praise some, and they totally get it. I could have done of two things there,
1- not admit it all,
2- gloss over it and not give you this disclaimer,
Here are my thoughts on this –
- If I were to not admit it at all – I’d be full of shit and you would be able to tell, and probably not want to continue reading it
- If I were to not give this disclaimer, most of you wouldn’t have cared even though some of you would have still noticed. For those that cared – “thanks for keeping me honest and requesting of me to be my best and most authentic self 😉 ]]]
For myself, as an official first year teacher (prior to this year I was subbing, which doesn’t quite count the same); I am hungry for praise. Heck, I’m hungry for anything. But, truthfully – sometimes I wish my administrators, and some of my fellow teachers I work the most closely with, would just stop me one day and be like “Jacobs, I’m proud of you, you have no idea what you walked into, you were a blank canvass starting this job, and in-spite of your struggles, you come into work every day wanting to make a difference in our students’ lives!” Well, nobody has ever said that to me at work. They might have given me half praise, or part of that quote I was looking for…but, no not really.
That’s okay though. And therefore, I’m writing about it, to give myself that praise. So, here’s what I’m saying to myself. “Josh, you have learned a heck of a lot. You are resilient, you have heart, and you have really been busting your ass in all these months you have been here working. Nothing will keep you down. You might get knocked down a bunch more, but you will always, always, always get back up! You are the man! I’m proud of you for me. You got nothing to prove to anyone but yourself. Keep at it. You are growing into a fantastic teacher. Do you know why you are, because you got the grit and determination, and the positive outlook to make it happen. It’s not about anyone else, but you and the student’s lives’ you get to impact. Colleagues and Administrators come and go. But, just if your feet are planted on the ground, and you keep on putting one foot in front of the other, you got only one place to go, and that is up! I’m proud of everything you have been able to accomplish so far. Thanks for being you, and your contribution to your students and to society as a whole!”
One other thing I promise to myself, that I emphasized in my pep talk, is that I won’t ever give up. It’s been a very challenging number of months, but I’m going to get through it. If someone were to ask me how I know, my response is simple “Because I say so”. But, not only that – it’s a promise I have made to myself and when I make a promise to myself nothing will stop me from getting to where I say I will go. That’s why!
Another beneficial reason why I give myself this talk is so I continue to have the strength and disposition to give other people my positive talk. Heck, we are all starving for it! I don’t want to comment further onto the how or why this isn’t properly addressed in our day to day lives (especially educators), but all I know is that I’m going to continue to be who I need to be for me, and if others benefit from it, I’m happy and grateful to be a contribution to them, and you!
Thanks for reading.
PS – If you liked this post, you might also enjoy this one https://joshoffthepress.com/2017/01/12/who-are-you-going-to-be-spending-the-most-time-with-in-2017-updated-for-studentsyounger-peopleteenagers-2/
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