The Power

Any of us who have worked in schools for any amount of time know about those students who move through each day, invisible to most yet not making any trouble. We also know about those kids who are quite visible because they move through each day creating a wake of problems behind them. These two groups of kids have something in common: they tend to have few meaningful relationships with other kids or adults.

We can’t necessarily create friendships for them with other students. They may just have to forge their own way through the social world of their peers, perhaps making a few connections, perhaps staying isolated.

As teachers, however, we have an opportunity to make an impact on kids from both of these groups. We can pick out one or maybe two of these students and begin to build a relationship with them ourselves. We can do this with students whom we see in the hallways, lunchroom, bus stop or study halls. These are not our own students but students who we choose to make an impact on their possible loneliness.

We can start by just making eye contact, saying “hi.” Another time we can comment on their haircut/style, books they are carrying, food they are eating, shoes they are wearing. We can notice something safe and not too personal about them. Later we can ask them about something: who’s their teacher, their favorite/least favorite class, their after school activities. At some point we might ask them to help us carry something, to help one of our own students, to make a picture that can go on our classroom wall. We can ask them about their sports team, their test scores, their music performance.

This is not an act of pity. This is a professional act of reaching out, slowly and methodically, to show kids they are noticed, that they matter.

This is guaranteed to make a difference in the life of a student at your school.

We have the power to make an impact on kids, one relationship at a time.


November 30, 2012. Uncategorized.

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