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I am a middle school science teacher at a Title I school. I teach 6th grade. I have recently been reading a book called Teacher with Poverty in Mind by Eric Jensen. It has been an eye opening read, especially as a Title I teacher. The part that struck me the most is a section about the effects of hope on brain chemisty in the chapter on classroom practices. It inspired me to take on a project of writing a personal letter to every student that I teach (and a few that I do not teach). I pointed out their strengths, their growth, and what they should think about as they move on to 7th grade. More than all of that, I found something to praise about each and every student…especially the more difficult ones.
The results have been amazing. Students could not wait to get their letter. I could only write a handful a day, so it took time to get to each. Students started asking other teachers when they would be writing letters. My classroom dynamic changed. Some students really started working hard for me when they did not work much before. Some improved behavior. Some became classroom leaders. It had some effect on almost every student. Hope is a powerful drug. Students need the medicine that hope is to their system. It is our job to teach, but we also have to give hope. Hope for now and hope for the future.
This brings me to the reason for this blog. Blogs with strategies and best practices are a dime a dozen. My letter writing campaign made me wish I had someone to write a letter to me as a teacher. Someone to encourage me. Someone to praise me. Someone to challenge me. Someone to give me hope. As teachers, we need hope as much as our students do. Hope changes our brain chemistry. It changes our mood. It changes how we view our students.
That is the purpose of this blog. To give hope. To be what we all need. We all need a little more hope so that we can turn and pour it out to our kids. I hope this blog brings you encouragement and hope.
Keep teaching, teacher. You are awesome!
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