As teachers, you have many students in your class with varying degrees of self-esteem. It’s important to support their emotional growth, but showering students with praise like it’s confetti at a New Year’s Eve party may do more harm than good. If you praise for everything, they no longer have to work at anything—the accolades are already being doled out. Though immediately, it feels good, in the long run, that can prevent students from developing their own healthy self worth.
So, the key is not catering to an always-feel-good, everyone-gets-a-trophy philosophy, but rather striking a balance of acknowledging their successes, allowing failures, and supporting their ability to build their own healthy sense of self that enables them to thrive and cope with everything life throws at them.
Here are 6 ways for you to be consistent in promoting healthy emotional development for all of your students.
Rather than, "Nice work," include specific information like, "You colored that red house and stayed in the lines perfectly!” Or “I’m impressed at how you stayed focused on your math problems the entire time."
Give undivided attention
As teachers, you are often pulled in many directions and it’s easy to get distracted, but the boost students get when they feel they are really being heard is immeasurable. Put down your pencil. Make eye contact. And let them know their opinions matter and are taken into account.
Take a brain break
Kids are under a lot of pressure at school to learn new concepts— in several different subjects, take tests in all of them, fit in socially, get good grades, and compete in extracurricular activities. All of this bogs down the brain, increases stress, and can lower self esteem. Help kids lessen the negative effects by taking a break. Get out a few board games, run around the playground, or do a little art to calm the mind, release stress, and increase endorphins and serotonin – the “feel good hormones.”
Make use of special talents
Set your class to be a well-oiled machine, where everyone feels needed and appreciated. Everyone has talents. Take advantage of the vast array. Give special badges out for goofy talents and learning achievements. Here are a few to get you started:
- Minute Math Master
- Super Speller
- Team Player
- Word Wizard
- Master Detective
- Expert Explainer
Decorate your class with projects your students have done. Make it a fun, welcoming place for your students to spend their time —where they feel pride in their contributions to the class. This may be a great way to highlight those special badges you give out!
Pay it forward
Making other people feel special has a boomerang effect. Start in your class by encouraging students to put a note in a classmate’s desk, a smiley face sticky note on someone’s locker, or a small gift of a newly sharpened, “fancy” pencil. Talk with your students about how that makes you feel when someone does something nice for you. Help them see the benefits of a pay-it-forward mentality.
You may be teaching social studies, or English, or math, but really, it’s not what you are teaching, but who you are teaching. You are teaching children and helping them become the best selves they can be. With these tips – and many more you’ve undoubtedly learned along the way – you are helping your students develop into responsible, confident people. Teachers have very unique power to educate and influence their students. Constructive, instructive, and supportive are the three pillars of power you can use to help students to leave your classroom better than when they walked in.
Take a look at our other classroom articles to help you throughout the school year.
About Learning Resources
By unleashing their imaginations, children learn problem solving and practice real–life skills, helping them grow up to be creative thinkers. At Learning Resources® our mission is to provide high-quality and innovative products that provide fun and engaging learning opportunities for children as they explore, discover their world and develop their creative side. Our award–winning educational toys, learning toys, discovery toys, and teaching tools are designed by educators and have been beloved by teachers, parents and children for over 30 years.
Give the little learners in your life more than a toy. Learning Resources toys are designed to foster the development of key skills for children of all ages. Our extensive selection of learning toys & games is perfect for promoting hand–eye coordination, early numeracy skills, letter recognition, critical thinking and imaginative play.
Learning Resources is an international company headquartered in Vernon Hills, IL.
- English Language Arts
- Geography/Social Studies
- Early Childhood
- Imaginative & Role Play
- Discovery & Exploration
- Games & Puzzles
- Critical Thinking
- English Language Arts
- Classroom Kits
- Skill Development
- Learning Styles
- Autism Spectrum
- Teacher Resources
For Your Classroom
- Classroom Activities
Tips for Your Classroom
- 10 Tips for Making Science Cross-Curricular
- 10 Tips for Using Reading Games
- 10 Tips to Organize Classroom for maximum Efficiency
- 5 Ways to Liven Up Student Response
- Overcoming Common Core Fears
- Demystifying Informational Text
- Cross-Curricular Math Tips that Rock
- Start the Year Off Right
- Build a Strong and Successful Common Core Classroom
- Tips and Tools to Help Your Students
- Tips to Add STEM into your Classroom
- Strategies to Support the Autism Spectrum in Your Classroom
- Starting Out With Math Manipulatives
- Setting Up for Classroom Success
- 6 Tips to Support Self Esteem in your Students
- 11 Tips for Spelling Success
- Simple Technology Activities
Learning At Home
- Ready, Set, Learn!
- Bored No More
- Making the Most of Parent-Teacher Conferences
- Getting Involved
- Getting Your Child Ready For School
- Encouraging Healthy Eating Habits
- Traveling with Kids?
- Cool Summer Learning
- Progress Check
- The Power of Imaginative Play
- Teacher Gifts that Keep Giving
- The True Value of a Toy
- Personality Presents
- 10 Tips to Keep Your New Year's Resolutions Strong All Year Long
- Making Memories
- Family Game Night
- Discover STEM
- Top 10 Product Picks for Kids with Autism
- Top Picks for Summer Learning for Kids with Special Needs
- Outdoor Learning, Outdoor Fun
- Plan for Summer Learning
- Tips to Help Kids Start the School Year Strong
- 5 Questions to Ask at Open House
- Halloween Treats
- Science Fairs: Simple Steps to Success
- Halloween Costumes
- Halloween Party – Mad Scientist Mania
- Thinking About Critical Thinking
- Autism in the Classroom
- Tips for Intervention's "First Responders"
- Decorating Your Classroom
- Using Manipulatives in Reading Intervention
- Help ELLs See the Big Picture
- Research on the Benefits of Manipulatives
- Embrace Technology for Assessment
- Blaze New Paths to Understanding
- What is STEM?
- Product Information
- Product Videos
- Bonus Content
- Activity and Coloring Pages