Here's another one that's worth the labor at the end of the year. It takes 5-10 minutes per day for a week (five days total), and if you don't finish the intervention feeling at least 1% better about the work you do, then I owe you a cup or a glass the next time I'm in your town.
1. Pick five kids that you could say something nice about in a pinch. Specifically, these are young people you: –appreciate –enjoy –admire –are curious about –see potential in –like teaching –like to talk to
2. Find some form of contact info for their parent/guardian — phone number preferred, but email works.
3. Each afternoon for a week, attempt to communicate with one home per day regarding that thing you appreciate about that youngster.
4. It need not be complex. These are the kinds of things I say:
“Ms. _____, hi there! This is Mr. Stuart, _____'s fifth hour teacher. Hey, real quick here, I just wanted to let you know that the other day I was thinking about your student, and I was just like, ‘Man — I really love _______ about that young person! They are so _______! It's _________.' In fact, just the other week I remember [insert anecdote].
“All of which is to say, thank you for your work as a parent/guardian — I appreciate what you do, and I appreciate that young person I've had a chance to be with this school year.
“You ever need anything, just let me know!
It's noooooooot complicated.
But, as a Dad, can I tell you something, colleague? There are few ways you can woo this ol' grizzly heart of mine as effectively as by genuinely complimenting my children. To know that you see them, value them, know them even a fraction of the degree to which I do… wow — it penetrates my soul.
So — give this one a try. You'll be signaling Care (a sub-component of Credibility) like an amped up radio tower, and while you're at it, you might just be reminded of why we do this work to begin with.
All the best to you, colleague.