A great teacher makes it cool to care. –Todd Whitaker
“Mr. Rutherford, I need to speak with you about a student on my bus. Remember how much trouble ________ ________ was last year? Well, she has been fabulous this year. I wanted you to know how well she has been doing.” My jaw dropped, then I smiled, and then I thought, “How good is that!” So I called the student to my office, acted as serious as I could, and then told her she got a positive referral and I told her why. Her jaw dropped, then she smiled, and then we said, “How good is that!” So I called her mom at work. “Ms. _________, I am sorry to interrupt you at work because I know how busy you are, but I wanted to speak to you about your daughter….” And then her jaw dropped, she smiled (I could hear both of those over the phone), then she said “Glory Hallelujah” or something like that.
As educators, we are trained to look for problems. I have been thinking about my list of first-of-the-year rules and procedures that I shared with you all at the beginning of this year. So many pertain to catching students doing wrong. Why not catch students doing right? Why not catch them improving? Why not catch them as they shine? Ms. Bogan felt good by telling me about that student. I felt good speaking to the student and the parent. The student felt good hearing this. The parent almost cried. It was a win-win-win-win scenario. And it cost me nothing.
So, catch a student doing right. Write it up on a referral sheet and send it to me. I would love to receive one a month from you. The good will it would create would be well worth the time.