I LOVE the holidays! But, I’m one of the lucky ones. I have a close family who gets together; I have warm, welcoming friends who invite us to potlucks and Yankee Swaps; I have friends who spend a day with me going Christmas caroling. Since those are some of my favorites about the Christmas season, I truly feel like one of the lucky ones. Many of us have our own favorite traditions that circle around this time of year.
Unfortunately, not all of our students spend the winter break in happy environments like the ones I mentioned. So, what can we do? Well, I’m certainly not able to take them all to my house, but my principal, Anne Blanchard, today reminded our staff of a few things that are reasonable, easy to do, and don’t cost a thing! So, here’s what she had to say:
“Rather than dwell on the things we cannot change, I’d like to focus on the little things we can do to encourage and support our students who struggle emotionally and otherwise, particularly during this heightened time of year.
- A kind word, compliment (particularly about their hair; it’s the single physical trait that most middle school students are concerned/worried about) can have a positive impact—especially if it’s unanticipated and sincere.
- Striking up a brief somewhat personal conversation is another way to lift a spirit. It shows interest in the student as a person.
- Encouragement following a setback
- Praise for effort and a job well done
- A quiet redirection when the student is off the mark
- Depending on the situation, use of humor to lighten the air. A wise administrator once commented to me when I was a rookie: “When you stop laughing with them (students), it’s time to get out of education!” I’ve always remembered that.”
As you can see, these are such simple connections we can make with our students to let them know how much we care.
I wish you all a fun, safe, and rejuvenating holiday season!