What Matters Most?

photo 1My big lesson tonight in class will be simple: Our students don’t care what we know – they care how much we care.

Work on building a community of learners every single day.  Build your foundation because without it – nothing else matters. Engage your students in what kindness looks like and feels like – have them do kindness.  I used to love to read The Araboolies of Liberty Street by Sam Swope in the beginning of each school year.  I’d ask my students what made them unique and like no other – just like the Araboolies?

In today’s data-driven, standards-based era – don’t overlook the importance of building a community in your classroom.  Carve out time each day to let your students know how much they matter and how much you care!



  • Nice post! It reminds me of some recent reading I’m doing about “design thinking” where the message can be taken as: Engage your students every day in creating choices instead of just “making choices” from the existing list. They can participate in making solutions, sometimes where there does not appear to already be one available.

  • Yes, yes, and maybe.
    Too often the call to “care more” about students is not matched by actions in the classroom. Caring about students means providing them with ridiculously awesome lessons and inspiration each day—during class! You can show you care by not boring them–that is the ultimate sign of respect. Sure you can ask about their game, their sick relative, and make sure no one is sitting alone at lunch. The reality is though that you can show you care the most by providing them with an awesome learning experience. Building community should not occur outside of the regularly scheduled class activities–the outside of the regularly scheduled program activity should compliment not supplement.

    I would be willing to bet that any class in which students matter most don’t have activities to prove that to the students, it just starts from the moment the teacher says hello on the first day of school.

    A quote I am about to use in a blog post… “If you want kids to be empathetic, place them into an environment that is supportive, democratic, and fair minded free of cruelty. Not as defined by teachers, but by kids. An environment where kids with lousy short term memories are not punished.” And…”When students feel like they have a genuine power over their environment, they have a vested interest in keeping it both peaceful and successful.”

    Somewhere in there is the answer to how to show kids you care 🙂

    Sorry..maybe an over the top answer, but I am literally a few minutes away from publishing a post that has your sentiments weaving through it. Been on my mind for a while–some of the ways we are trying to “show” kids we care are simply to avoid the fact that not be so boring would be the ultimate testament to us caring about them.

    A timely post for me–thanks 🙂

  • Knowing our students, beyond test scores, as individuals helps us create safe, joyful, & challenging classrooms. When we know our students for the people they are we are able to create highly engaging learning opportunities that stretch them while at the same time build on their strengths & interests.

    Academics is just one thing we teach our students. Knowing our students also allows us to support their social and emotional skills. We can teach them interpersonal skills that will help them be successful in & out of the classroom, and long after they complete their academic career.

    In the end, isn’t that what we all want? Future citizens that are ethical, creative problem solvers, & critical thinkers. What better service could we provide for our current students & tomorrow’s leaders?

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