By Sanjeevee Jayram T
Educationist, Member at India Didactics Association
- Welcome them with open arms even before the school year begins: You can greet your students with a welcome letter. This will help you build a caring classroom community before students even walk into the door. Students will not only feel welcomed, but they will feel appreciated as well. Remember, a caring classroom is a happy classroom.
- Give them something to look forward to Think about the last time that you planned a vacation. How did you feel on the days leading up to it? Or, when was the last time you couldn’t wait until the weekend because you were excited for the plans you made? Giving students something to look forward to will make them happy. It can be something as little as no homework for the weekend, to a classroom party filled with games and treats!
- Invest some time to get to know them: It’s always nice to take some time to really get to know each and every one of your students. This will not only help them feel more comfortable in class and help you build a caring classroom community, but it will help you understand them better.
- Let them eat lunch with you: If you really want to make your students happy, once a month invite a few students to come and eat lunch with you. Children tend to open up a little more when they are in an environment where they feel relaxed and comfortable. Each month, hold a lottery (to make sure everyone gets a turn) and randomly pick about five students to come eat lunch with you. The benefit is that you will see your students in a different light, along with a huge smile!
- Use humor: Who doesn’t like to laugh? Use any opportunity you have to use humor in the classroom. Tell a joke, a funny story, or come into school with a silly hat or mask on. You can even designate every Friday as a silly hat day and come to school each week with something different on your head. The kids will look forward to what you will wear next as well as beam with excitement and laughter.
- Incorporate music: Research has shown that music affects our feelings and energy levels. It’s also a powerful tool to make us happy. Whenever you get the opportunity to incorporate music into your classroom, do so, your students will thank you for it.
- Give them choices Students are always told what to do and rarely get the chance to make a choice for themselves. Giving students a choice in what or how they will learn is a great way to make them happy. It also shows them that you trust them, as well as gives them some independence.
- Let them play: According to research, play is important in a child’s development. It helps them grow physically, mentally, socially, and emotionally. It keeps them healthy, burns off energy, gives them exposure to learn through others, and try different things. It’s a great creative outlet, and it teaches children how to interact with others. So next time you want to cancel recess, think again.
- Give their brain a break: Brain breaks are essential for students. Research has proven that students learn best when they are given the opportunity to rest their brain throughout the school day. The purpose of a brain break is to refocus students so that they will learn better, but it also makes their brain happy. After each lesson, take the time to give students a quick brain break: All it takes is five minutes, and you will definitely see a happy classroom.
- Allow them to get social: Most children love to talk and usually have a lot to say. Provide opportunities for students to get social with their peers. You will see students will establish relationships that promote a positive classroom environment. Getting social and talk about things other than school work, this will make students happy. Try giving students ten minutes at the end of the day to just talk with their classmates. You can even invite the classroom next door to join in every Friday.