Be Nice!

Be Nice!

With all the emphasis on making data driven decisions, testing, accountability and continuous student improvement, sometimes we forget the most basic, simple thing – being nice and respectful! Creating a culture of being nice goes a long way and could make the biggest difference in student achievement.

Our Response Should Be Nice

It’s sometimes easy to forget that our students are children. We are with them all day long and it’s easy to think of them as adults. Remind yourself daily that they are still children. Children make mistakes. Children get impatient. Children get bored. How do we as adults respond? Our response to these “annoyances” and “frustrations” sets the tone and relationships with our students. Children – in elementary, middle or high school, remember our reactions.

Our Reprimanding Should Be Nice

As adults, how do we ensure a situation doesn’t escalate? If you see a student that needs to be reprimanded, how do we communicate with that child in a way that’s firm but nice and respectful. If adults begin the conversation with humiliation, yelling or embarrassment – chances are the child will not respond back very well and the situation just escalates. We as the adults can control the outcome of these kinds of reprimands.

Here are some simple ways to be nice:

  • Greet every student at the door as they come into your classroom.
  • Get to know your students.
  • Always remain in control of your emotions.
  • Attend extra curricular events and let the students see you.
  • Pick 3-5 students every month that you write cards to.
  • Smile – you’d be surprised how much kids notice the teachers who walk around with non smiling faces.
  • Show you love what you do! Kids pick up on this.
  • Have clear rules and expectations in your classroom but respectfully speak to students when rules are violated.
  • Be aware of how students are called out (avoid humiliation and embarrassment.)
  • Make it a conscious effort to not say mean things about students with colleagues.
  • Believe in your students – when the teacher believes the student can’t do it, what chance does that child have?
  • Pick your battles – what can you let go versus what needs to get addressed?

Although it seems simple enough to do, it’s also the easiest thing to forget as we get caught up with the stresses and frustrations of our jobs. One thing is clear, our students are not to blame – treat them nicely and respectfully at all times, and good things will happen as they will then in return respect you. Once you have earned the students’ respect, you are more than half way there in ensuring they will be academically successful. Whatever strategies or program you put in place, will be more successful, if the student has earned your respect.

Jasmine K. Kullar

Jasmine K. Kullar, EdD, is an assistant superintendent for Cobb County School District, the second-largest school district in Georgia. She has expertise in building professional learning communities as well as school leadership.

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