George Lucas Educational Foundation
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It is the month of Thanksgiving, and everyone is getting excited about turkey and pumpkin pie. People are also considering the things they should be thankful for. Well, I think this is the perfect month for teachers to stop a student and thank him or her.

Thank a student? For what? How about anything you can think of? Showing up ready to learn is one great reason to thank a student. They have so much going on in their lives that it is a huge accomplishment to show up in class ready to go. The students make choices every day about how they're going to behave and what's important to them. The fact they show up in class is worth a smile and a thank you.

As teachers, it's easy for us to feel underappreciated. Teaching can be a thankless job, but so can being a student. Just because it's the legal requirement for them to be in your class doesn't mean that they don't deserve a small amount of recognition for being there. Doing homework or studying for an exam merits a high five and a thank you from the teacher. Not every day is an easy one for these kids, and I believe a thank you from a teacher would go a long way.

Most importantly, saying thank you to a student is great modeling. If you start thanking kids for their effort, they'll start to thank you and thank others for the work they do each and every day. If we want our kids to appreciate the hard work we put into each lesson, what better way is there than starting to appreciate and thank them for the hard work they put into each lesson?

Did that just blow your mind?

If it did, maybe you're forgetting one of the biggest things teachers need to remember: these students in your class are people as well. They crave the same type of attention and reinforcement that all of us do. Take a minute before the Turkey Tiredness overcomes you and find a way to thank your students. I bet you they will even thank you for it.

Happy Thanksgiving from The Nerdy Teacher

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Beth Dunton's picture
Beth Dunton
Seventh Grade Science teacher from Dover, NH. Pursuing Admin certification

Yes. So often we forget to model the niceties of life for our kids - and they really appreciate it! In my nine years teaching, I've always written individual thank you cards to kids for any xmas gifts they may give to me. They are thrilled to have a handwritten thank you - many of them have never gotten one before!

I've had a few teachers tell me that it's a waste of my time to do this, but I vehemently disagree. I'm going to make it a point to thank a few kids tomorrow.

Elana Leoni's picture
Elana Leoni
Edcamper, Former @Edutopia, Founder of Social Media Marketing Consultancy aimed at helping educational orgs.

Thank you, Nick for this post. As adults, we need to set the example on how we'd like young adults/children to act when they become adults. And not taking things for granted by thanking them for their hard work is a great way to walk the talk.

And more often that not, your thanks will come back to you (not that you do it for that) :)

Melanie Link Taylor's picture
Melanie Link Taylor
Educator, Blogger, Southern California

Students are actually underappreciated. Kids make huge efforts for us and it blows their minds when we acknowledge that and tell them so. How small an effort for us to make a huge contribution to the kids' store of self esteem. You are so right. I'm including your article in my blog for this Saturday, 'Attitude of Gratitude Tweets of the Day 11/17/12' Thanks.

hleibowitz87's picture

It's no secret that teaching can be a thankless job, so why do people do it? Why do we get up every morning, put on our dress clothes and our best smile, and head into the classroom ready to give our students the best version of ourselves? Because we're there for the children. Our students are often our biggest motivation for any and all efforts put forth in the name of education. What would it do for our students if they knew that? If we were able to truly convey that we are here for them, that our sole purpose for the hours of work and preparation that we put in is for their benefit and their enjoyment, how might that change their outlook on school? Letting them know that you care is not a weakness, it's a strength. Saying "thank you" is not humbling to the speaker, it's empowering. I whole-heartedly agree that saying thank you to a student is a great way to reinforce positive behavior.

David's picture
Year 7 to 12 English and history teacher from Armidale, NSW

It is, after all, just plain good manners. And if we model them ...

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