Teacher Tales: Praise
For me, the love affair began in 6th grade. My teacher, a kindly older lady named Mrs. Horn, wrote two simple words on the bottom of the one-page story I had turned in. “Great Job’
Of course, back then I didn’t know anything about classroom motivation- the way in which good teachers keep their students motivated to learn. Authentic compliments, those that acknowledge when a student surpasses expectations, or goes “above and beyond” the norm are quite a valuable teaching tool.
As a budding writer, I looked at those two words, written in her crisp cursive hand, and felt a joy that I hadn’t felt before. As my sixth grade year flew by, I started receiving more and more little notes at the bottom of my papers. With each small success, my confidence grew, and soon, I began to crave the notes. But, I felt like there was so much more to writing than merely the grades and notes.
I began to proudly read my stories and paper to my parents. I tried to emulate the writing styles of the authors I read. Eventually, I grew to love writing so much that I decided to become an English teacher to share my love with other people. I had this notion that I would help my students discover their “voice” through their writing. I would share the works of the masters with them, and show them the rich world available through books.