Feeling Valued

    cc licensed ( BY SA ) flickr photo shared by Andrew Guyton
    I was teaching a math class probably about 10 years ago, and I remember one of my top students (academically) goofing around and distracting others.  I talked to her about her behaviour, and how although she understood the material, others were having issues and she was disturbing their work.
    During the same class, I remember one of my struggling students, who was often a distraction in class, doing extremely well on an assignment.  I went on to praise the student for the effort and how well he worked on this particular assignment.
    After class, the “high flyer” in my math class came up to me and said something that has stuck to me for awhile.
    “You know, I work my butt off in class, always do well, always help others, yet when I do one thing wrong, you get on my case. You never tell me how good I am at the work that I do, but only get on my case when I do something wrong.  Then you have another student who goofs around all of the time, does no work, and when he does well on one test, you act like you are going to throw him a parade.  Do you think that I don’t like the recognition? It seems really unfair.”
    Huh.
    I have thought about that conversation so many times since I had it that time and how we treat the people that “excellence” seems to come easy as compared to those that struggle.  I don’t think that we need to forget about giving recognition to students/staff that struggle and then end up doing some great stuff, but we do need to think about the ones that do great stuff all of the time. It is not that they need the recognition to do the work that they have already been doing, it’s just that everyone needs to feel valued no matter how well they do.
    Now many people will say that people that always do great things will get awards, money, etc., but I am guessing those awards (I’m not big into awards by the way) seem empty if they don’t feel cared for by those that they see everyday.
    How many times have you ignored those students/your staff that do great everyday?  I know I did and that conversation always reminds me that everyone needs to feel valued.

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