Why Celebrating Our Students Is Worth It

I know I am not alone in this, but I absolutely love the idea of intentionally spending time on building community in our classrooms. When we think about engagement, all too often our minds go to students being engaged in a particular subject or activity, when engagement is so much more. In a time where discipline issues, students facing trauma, and larger class sizes seem to be plaguing nearly every educator I know, it is all the more important to be able to celebrate each other.

In Chapter 2 titled Celebrating Learners, Routman describes how essential it is to “notice and celebrate everything the learner has done well” and also points out that teachers who feel as though they are regularly celebrated by their administrator are more likely to remain in a school. Could lack of celebration be a part of why teachers are leaving the profession in droves? Could lack of celebration be why out students are being less and less engaged? My guess is yes!

So, when I read this chapter, I felt a strong nudge, or maybe even a gut punch to celebrate more and worry less, to think more positively, to notice others, and to be better about encouraging others. The “Take Action” steps that Routman outlines will serve me as a checklist when expressing gratitude and appreciation:

  • Do your part to promote a positive and joyful culture
  • Model joyful learning and teaching
  • Take more time to celebrate small victories
  • Plan occasions for the staff to socialize
  • Reevaluate how planning and instructional time is spent
  • Leave school at a reasonable hour
  • Recognize that change takes time

“We all need to become gifted at showing gratitude and make visible for others and ourselves the little and big things we appreciate.”

I couldn’t agree more! Practicing an attitude of gratitude does make us feel better – not only about each other, but about ourselves.

When we challenge ourselves to think of what each of us can bring to the table, not just the adults, but the students as well, we will begin the see the value in each other. There were so many incredible nuggets of information that I took away from this chapter such as finding a learner’s strengths before their needs, and considering a person’s gifts. When we seek to celebrate our students, this is building an unmistakable community in our classrooms, in our schools, and the larger community as well. This chapter has reinvigorated me in an otherwise drained time of the school year. I can’t wait to celebrate with my staff and our students!

This post is part of a book study around Literacy Essentials: Engagement, Excellence, and Equity for All Learners by Regie Routman (Stenhouse, 2018). Check out more resources associated with the text at this website (https://sites.stenhouse.com/literacyessentials/), including a free curriculum for teaching an undergraduate course using Literacy Essentials.

 

Author: Paige Bergin

I am an Instructional Coach in Tulsa, OK and I have been in education for 16 years. I have a Masters in Educational Administration and Curriculum Supervision, am a National Board Certified Teacher and the recipient of the Presidential Award for Math and Science Teaching. I love working with teachers and administrators to set meaningful goals. I am a passionate educator who is determined to make a difference with teachers and students - one day at a time.

4 thoughts on “Why Celebrating Our Students Is Worth It”

  1. Paige, Great insights and so glad you connected celebration to gratitude! Thanks so much for sharing your wise thoughts and for being part of the online book club for Literacy Essentials. One of my big learning lessons related to celebration is it’s not just students who need genuine celebration. To build a trusting school culture, teachers need to be celebrated by their principals and peers, which requires a mindset of noticing and commenting on strengths before needs–just like with students.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Paige,
    Great post! Thank you for pointing out that engagement is so much more than mere academics. Spot on with your comments about discipline, larger class sizes and trauma. I feel this stress and I know a lot of other educators do as well. Being intentional about building community and celebrating our students and colleagues is a great way to shift the mindset of the culture.

    Like

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