- Set up a token economy
- Feature a "Student of the Week"
- Feature a "Teacher of the Week"
- Cover your walls in student work
- Mandate a single lesson format for all lessons
- Have regular assemblies or pep rallies
There are also tons of little things you can do.
Most of my students don't want to be at school. When I see kids walking down the hallway, so many of them look angry, sad, tired or just spaced out. This wasn't a great week for me either and I was very glad that today was Friday, but when I came in this morning, I had an interaction with one of my coworkers.
She told me that my students have told her that they really enjoy my class and that they are learning a ton. I'm not writing this because I want my readers to agree or disagree with it or with my view of my own abilities. I'm writing it because it reminded me that our perceptions of ourselves are skewed.
I'm not the greatest teacher in the world,m but I am by no means the worst.
I want my students to enjoy my class AND I want them to learn. If they are doing both, how could I be upset.
Even if they aren't, school still should be a place where they don't hate to be.
To that end, I'm trying to do little things to change the culture, such as #HighFiveFriday.
I stood in the hallway between classes actively giving out high fives to every student who passed me. If they refused, I followed them down the hallway with an expectant smile, gesturing to my own hand telling them not to leave me hanging.
Students who came passed me multiple times over the day asked what was up.
"HIGH FIVE FRIDAY!!"
I already gave you one.
"EVERY TIME YOU COME BY ME! HIGH FIVE FRIDAY!"
Halfway through the day, the teacher across the hall made the observation that every single kid left with a smile. Even the ones who refused to high five had the "HAH! I got away with something" smirk.
At the end of 6th period, I was at my spot in the hall, handing out high velocity, high altitude palm presses when a student I hadn't seen before asked me what I was doing. Before I could answer, one of my 1st period students who was at her locker replied with "It's high five Friday, duh."
No one is too cool for a high five.
I dare you to resist the urge to high five your computer screen.
C'mon! Do it!! HIGH FIVE FRIDAY!
What small things do/can you do to improve culture of your school?