Teaching Students to be Proud of Themselves

As report cards go out and students see their marks for classes I worry a lot that students and parents (and perhaps us sometimes) put too much value into the grades on those papers.  I don’t think these kids really believe that the only reason they did all that work was to get one number printed out about them at the end of the semester.  However, at this time of year it certainly seems that way.  What are kids (and/or their  parents) so proud or disappointed about when they look at those reports?  Is it the number grade or is it the realization of how much they learned throughout the semester?  And what’s our role in that perception?  When students are assigned work, what message are we sending about the value of the work…is it about the learning or getting a good grade?  When kids have missing work…what do we threaten, lower grades or loss of learning opportunity?  We should think carefully about the message we are sending to our students.  We all want them to value what it is we are teaching but what incentive are we giving them?  Likewise, when they have done well how are we praising them?  When I was first starting out as a teacher I came across a way of speaking to my students (I can’t remember if I read it, heard it, or was told) and I’ve tried to internalize one phrase ever since, “You should be proud of yourself!”  Check out this article about helping students feel proud about themselves.  Our students need to learn that school is about the learning and that they should be proud of themselves for all the hard work they put into that learning!!  Enjoy your holidays, you all deserve it…but hey, that’s just my two cents 😉

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