“Madi, you did just wonderfully on that recent assessment. Well done.”
“John, I can’t recall a time where I’ve seen a student deal with failure so winsomely as you did with this past assessment. As I overheard you discussing it with your friends and reading through your test corrections afterward, I was impressed by and grateful for you. It’s good to have you in the class, John.”
Sometimes the best thing we can do for our morale is to remark upon the goodness we see in a student. Teaching isn’t a work about us — it’s a work about students and families. This doesn’t mean that we teachers don’t possess a knowledge and expertise that can serve students and families — on the contrary, it is our job to pursue and possess and share and bring forth fruit from such knowledge and expertise — but rather it is an invitation to decenter ourselves from the work that we do in our classrooms.
And all of that preceding paragraph is only theory until we act on the servant nature of teaching — perhaps most simply, by calling out the genuine good that we see in the people we get to work with.
Even in the most difficult-to-teach groups and difficult-to-navigate circumstances, there is goodness for the noticing.
Eyes peeled, hearts open.