One of the goals I set for myself as a teacher this year is to make more conscious and focused efforts to teach my students, not just teach my content. Sometimes, it can be easy for teachers to forget that our students are not just students – they’re people; people who enter our classrooms with stress and anxiety that come from school, work, sports, relationships, etc. I know I’m guilty of sometimes focusing so much on teaching my content that I can forget about the people I’m teaching. What do they need? How can I help them as people, not just as my students?
This idea has prompted quite a few changes in my classroom procedures throughout the course of my teaching career – it’s still hard to believe that this is year 10! When I started teaching, students were not allowed to eat in my classroom. I viewed that as a distraction from the learning we were trying to accomplish – teacher facepalm moment! Now, I follow a “Maslow before Bloom’s” mentality … if our students are focusing on how hungry they are, are they going to be super productive in class? Are we as teachers extremely productive when we’re hungry or thirsty? If I don’t have a cup of coffee in my hand, I’m not the best version of myself!
At the beginning of the school year, I informally polled my students, most of whom are juniors, about a “Take What You Need” bulletin board. This board would include small pieces of paper with inspirational and motivational quotes that they could take from the board and keep with them on their Chromebook, in their backpack, etc., to help them throughout the day. The response from my students was an overwhelming, “yes!”
Yesterday, I FINALLY completed the Take What You Need bulletin board. Yes, I know it’s almost November – but, better late than never, right? As I typically do when I create most anything, I created a Google Slides presentation for the inspirational quotes. Google Slides is awesome and is DEFINITELY not just for presentations!
Only one of my classes was able to see the board yesterday, but the students were grateful for the “quote board,” and immediately began taking the quotes from the board. My goal with this bulletin board is to create a culture of motivation, failing forward, and promote a general feeling in my classroom that things can be difficult, but I believe my students can and will be successful!
I plan to continue adding quotes to the presentation throughout the year. If you’re interested in creating a “Take What You Need” bulletin board in your classroom, please access the presentation here.