A colleague ran into a former student of mine. He was in my class 10 years ago. She shared how he felt about our school, but she added, "His favorite teacher was Mrs.Mims because I knew she cared about me."
"She cared about me."
Let it sink in.
We need to understand, and remember, that we are dealing with children.
Many of our children come to school with issues adults couldn't fathom, much less handle. When they walk in that door, many need a respite, a safe place, from wherever, or whatever, they came from.
They don't need to hear that they are late, again. They don't need to hear that they have been absent for X many days.Why tell them how much work they need to make up before saying, "Good morning, glad you are back?" It's the little things.
And I,am by no means perfect. There are those kids throughout the year that no matter how hard I tried....it didn't matter to them, and it made our relationship, difficult.
With my students, there is no question that they are loved. They know that I care. They know I will "fuss" when it is needed. I will hold them to high standards. I will listen to them. I will have fun and be serious. I won't tolerate "mess." I give and expect respect.
Is it easy? No, not always. I have had instances where I had to bite my tongue so I don't say something I have no business saying to someone else's child. They will take you there.
But I keep working on it. I have become better at building the relationships in my classroom over the years.
Because 20 years later, they will remember that I cared.