My social studies methods course in college (Murray State University) was taught by Dr. Benes. As undergraduates, we all knew that we knew more than he did. He had crazy ideas about discipline. He suggested things like NOT having a discipline chart and asking kids “what do you need from me?” when they chose to misbehave. We hadn’t even taught in a classroom yet, but we knew that wouldn’t work. We KNEW that good teachers had to have behavior charts posted, especially in elementary classrooms. His ideas were crazy.
Or maybe not. . .
The further I get in time from my college days, the closer I am aligning myself to Dr. Benes’s ideas. In fact, I wish I had taken his suggestion more seriously as I began my teaching career. I could have created communities where everyone felt loved and valued throughout my entire career. I wouldn’t have those nagging memories of using recess and holiday parties as bribes to coerce good behavior. Instead, those events would have been times for play and celebration that ALL kids need.
I’ll leave you with one tip from Dr. Benes that I have cherished and remembered for all these years: “you have to love the kids, and they have to know that you love them.” This is as true, or even more true, today than when he spoke it to us years ago. It’s not enough to love your students, they must KNOW and FEEL the love. If you love them, but they don’t feel loved, then it doesn’t matter. This week, let’s make a commitment to make all of our students feel loved.