The Power of Positive Words


(c)DearTeacherLT2013 (You may use the image if you link back to the blog and/or give credit to Dear Teacher/Love Teacher)

(c)DearTeacherLT2013 (You may use the image if you link back to the blog and/or give credit to Dear Teacher/Love Teacher)

Dear Teacher,

How has your week gone?  Mine has been pretty good, just tiring.  I do think my students are learning, and that is the key to it all!  It helps me remember why I love being a teacher.  Has your week let you remember that?

Lately, I have been observing the power of words.  Words have power…both positive and negative.  Positive words can change your perspective on the world, and so can the negative ones.  Words change our minds, attitudes, perspectives, tones, and hearts.  They are, indeed, quite powerful.

I am seeing that I need to use my words more carefully.  I need to choose them with great effort and do so intentionally.  I need to do this at home, at school, with adults, but more importantly with my kids and my students…especially my students.  With my own children, I have the currency of time.  I can “undo” and “fix” issues that arise when I am not careful with my words.  This is not so much true with my students.

Do you realize that, if you are on a typical American schedule of a school year, we only get 36 weeks with our students?  That is not much time, if you really think about it.  We don’t have the time correct the effects of negative words constantly.  The time is just not there.  We need to be careful with our words!

We need to be precise with what we say.  We need to think through situations before they come.  We need to turn negative situations around in a more positive light, at least in the terms of what we say.  We need way more positive verbiage and a whole lot less negative!  We need more awesome and less awful!

We also need to take chances to use positive words when no words are needed at all.  I know, that is a confusing statement.  What I mean is that we do not need to wait for a situation to come up to use words, especially positive ones.  We should not wait for a negative situation to put positive words into, but we need to use every minute we can to fill the void of silence with as many positive words as we can!

Just in case that was not cleared up, let me give some examples.  When you pass students in the hall, find something positive to say to at least one of them, even if it is just, “I like your shoes.”  Find little reasons in your classroom to praise a student for something.  It can be as small as, “I liked the way that you got your book out without making a lot of noise, that was awesome!.”  Just tell a student they are awesome without a reason at all.  Last, but not least, finds some time to write some notes of affirmation and encouragement to students.  These are worth their weight in gold.

Handwritten notes go so far with students…well, they go far with all of us, no matter how old we are!  Everyone loves when someone takes the time to write something down about us.  I makes us feel better.  It affirms us.  It motivates us.  It moves us.  It is the same for our students.

I have written about it before, but I wrote a note to each of my students (85 of them) and each teacher and administrator at my school last year at the end of the year.  I had mixed responses from the adults, but the students were almost all the same.  They loved them.  The notes were all personal and the students knew that I took the time to write directly to them.  I did them in phases.  After the first phase, students that did not get one hounded me every day until they did.  Some students came back to me this year and said they still have them.  Words have power.

I am trying to do the same this year.  I am slowly trying to write to each student here at the beginning of the year.  Once a student gets a note, something changes between them and I.  They know longer work in my class just because they are supposed to, they work and learn because they know that I care about them.  Students need to know that we care.  They really do.

Do you let your students see how much you care?  How are you with how you use words?  Can you take the time to write some notes to your students over the next couple of weeks?  Try it.  I think you will witness the awesome power of words just like I have!

You are awesome!  I know that you care about your students.  Show them.  Tell them.  Write to them.  Keep on teaching, Teacher!  You are amazing!

Love, Teacher

PS…Another little plug.  Last year, I wrote the notes on quarter sheets of paper and note cards.  Over the summer and into the school year this year, I have been working on notes that I can print and write on the back of to give to students and teachers.  The students love them!  I have been giving stacks of them to other teachers to use, and they love using them.  I am sharing them in my TeachersPayTeachers store.  I am not asking for much.  The only reason that I am even selling them is because they do take a lot of time to make.  Please consider checking them out.  I am working on making the files more user-friendly, but they are not too bad now.  Thanks!  Oh, and the picture in this post is available as a printable note there.  Have an awesome day, week, and weekend!

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4 comments on “The Power of Positive Words

  1. Caroline Reed says:

    I actually do the things you mentioned! Like a simple, “I like your hair today,” or “I love your shirt.” I probably do this at least 3-5 times a day. In the classroom I give specific feedback very often. It can get time consuming, but the results & rewards are so worth it! 🙂

    Your blog reminded me of a favorite quote when I was in college studying to be a teacher. It states, “Students don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care!”

    Thanks for the time you dedicate to writing your blog posts. I’ve been a reader for a little while (found you on edmodo), but this is my first comment!

    • Dear Teacher Caroline,

      Well, it was a great comment! You should comment more often. 🙂 I thought of that quote, too, but I was really trying to avoid it because I thought it would probably come to everyone’s mind anyway. Thanks for proving me right!

      Thank you for your kind words! Most of the time I am writing to myself. The times I want to give up on the blog (because of time constraints), I am reminded that I have readers that look to my blog to keep them going in a very difficult job. That keeps me going!

      You are awesome, Teacher Caroline! Keep on teaching!

      Love, Teacher

  2. […] The Power of Positive Words (dearteacherloveteacher.com) […]

  3. […] Dear Teacher, How has your week gone? Mine has been pretty good, just tiring. I do think my students are learning, and that is the key to it all! It helps me remember why I love being a teacher….  […]

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