Sometimes I think the best PD I've ever had has been listening to re-runs of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood while taking road trips with my family. The man was the world's first and greatest remote teacher. In my students' language: he was a total pedagogical GOAT.
And there's one line that he says every episode that I bet you've heard a time or two: “It's such a good feeling.” Here's a ninety-second clip of how it typically went:
So listen: I teach ninth graders in 2022. You wouldn't think Fred Rogers' playbook would have much crossover to what I do.
But when it comes to regularly commenting on the goodness of being together with my students, of getting to learn together, of getting to know them — [insert vigorously nodding head]. YES. There is a million percent crossover with this “strategy,” this active signal-sending from one teacher's heart to any listening students.
It's not fancy — just like Fred's wasn't. It's not timely — Mister Rogers' neighborhood was an anachronism in 1968 when it started and remained anachronistic until its final episode in 2001. It just sounds like this:
- Hey there, students, when I watched you all walk in today, I just noticed the good feeling of being with you all. It is a good feeling.
- Man, look at what we've been doing — working so hard to learn so many things. And you know what I just realized as our independent work segment was coming to a close? It is a good feeling to be with a bunch of people learning.
- I like being with each of you, learning together.
It sounds absurdly cheesy, right?
I'm even laughing while I write those. Sooo unsophisticated.
But wow — sooo good.
Try it. Again and again and again and again. And bonus side effect: watch what it starts doing to your heart.
Teaching right beside you,