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Monday, November 21, 2011

School Bell: Currency of Thanks

I know that by now some of you may be getting tired of the giving Thanks themes, but I want to take a post to consider the value of thanks on all sides of the school equation.

1- Thanks to a teacher from a parent... I taught school for over 30 years and only three times got written thank you notes from a parent at Thanksgiving or unexpected times.  Believe me, I remember those parents... to this day.  I am not complaining... I got many thank yous at the close of the school year each year, and many spoken thank yous. What I want you to know is the power of a written thank you when a teacher is not expecting it. The way that it boosts your spirits, revitalizes your reserves, and carries you for days and days.

2- Thanks from a teacher to a parent... I have raised nine children completely and others for stretches of time. Some have been great students, some special needs, some challenging, some hard-working and some lazy. Those of you reading this who may be teachers yourselves... How often have you stopped to jot a quick thank you note to a parent who you see working to support their child's efforts in school?  Parents also need to know their efforts are noticed and appreciated.

3- Thanks to your student child... Try writing a quick note to your child after a decent study session for a test. After they struggle and finish completing a late assignment, or a tough project, or making up back work. Maybe even a short thank you note the day they sit down to do their homework without arguing. Kids need to know we notice.  Praise for good stuff is FAR more effective than slams when they make mistakes. By giving that praise in writing, it sticks around both in their minds and on paper longer. 

Any kind of thank you is better than none.  But a thank you someone takes the time to WRITE is particularly powerful because it is so uncommon these days. It doesn't need to be fancy. It doesn't need to be on cute stationery.  Although I personally prefer signed ones, it doesn't even need to be signed.  It just needs to be personal, honest, and specific.  "Steve, Thank you for studying so hard for your history test last night. I am proud of you!, Mom," or "Mr Thompson, Thank you for such a great study guide for the history test, it made helping Steve study much easier!, Mrs. Smith," or "Mrs Smith, Thank you for all your hard work helping Steve study for his test!, Mr. Thompson."   Give it a shot.  It can't hurt.

P.S. I wouldn't hurt for your child to send one to you or the teacher either!

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