The Case of the Missing ‘Thank You’

said no student everThe beginning of the school year had a unique, almost daily occurrence. A small group of my 7th period students would thank me for another great lesson. It was a great start to the year. I did not realize how motivating it could be to have students say ‘thanks’ for what most people assume is an automatic component of public education. But it was incredibly motivating. I wanted to be a better teacher for them and I self-reflected on every lesson. I can’t take credit for the genuine phenomenon; they started it the first day of school without prompting. I take pride in my lessons and believe they were a good mix of interesting and informative, but if I were a student I do not know that I would go as far as to thank a teacher. I thanked a few teachers after the school year when I realized the real world application of their content, but not for the daily lessons.

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Then something changed. I don’t know what or when. This is depressing. I don’t know what caused multiple students to lose their daily joy in learning. Maybe it was my class became too predictable. Maybe it was the stress of receiving numeric grades for the first time. Maybe they felt like they were being ignored while misbehaving students monopolized class time. Maybe they are pre-teens and disenchanted with everything and I shouldn’t take it personally. I just hope it was not something I could have prevented.

There is a bigger issue. I do not know when exactly they stopped saying ‘Thank You.’ I just realized today that I miss it and it has been awhile. When did I lose some of my passion for teaching? I used to make a conscious effort to pay attention to each student, every day. Clearly I have not been doing this or it would have registered that the great students aren’t vocalizing their gratitude for their education anymore.

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I made other trivial New Year’s goals, but this is the new one that counts: I want to rediscover my excitement with teaching and make it obvious to the students. Hopefully that will spark a newfound joy in their learning. Ultimately that is more important than most of my content or my state mandated SLO. I might not know when the ‘thanks’ stopped, but it is not too late. Today officially marks the halfway point for the school year, which gives me plenty of time to achieve my goal. For myself, I want to be professionally happy. For my students, I want them to have the joy of learning engrained in them so they do not lose it as they progress through upper grades. Many teachers strive for life long learners; my plan of attack to accomplish that is to start right now.

About Lisa Butler

Middle school geography teacher, tech trainer, Flocabulary MC, Nearpod PioNear, and Edcamp Hershey Founder. I have embraced the power of purposeful technology and am creative with their application. If I am not doing something with ed or tech, I am probably reading children's books, baking with a toddler sidekick, running around, or dreaming of traveling.
This entry was posted in Random Ramblings & Advice Received, Reflection. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to The Case of the Missing ‘Thank You’

  1. Pingback: Oh yeah! Canada | Adventures with Technology

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