I had a pizza party yesterday for those students who had accomplished 8 hours of math work during our Math Olympics. It's so funny how suddenly "that's not fair" for those other students who don't get the pizza party because they did jack squat during those 8 weeks. I didn't feel a bit bad for them because they chose not to work on math at home, which ultimately is reflected in their math grades because some never practice at home. I was proud of those who actually worked on it at home, and there is a difference in their math because they practice at home.
During our luncheon outside, I was told several times that I am the "best teacher ever." I told them that flattery doesn't work on me, that they're saying that just because I brought pizza, and that next year's teacher will become their favorite. They denied these claims, but we did have an interesting conversation following this. One student said that if she were a teacher she would be strict, kind of like me. I rarely hear kids say that I am strict, but my heart was overjoyed to hear this because I think that is a compliment. I had two people tell me this week that I set the expectations for students to follow, and they really do so. Again, another thing that made me feel good. So lots of time and energy spent setting expectations and goals for students (different for each one of course) and then doing my best to help encourage them to meet those all while staying within the "guardrails"... Seems to be paying off.
Anyway, I said that teachers need to be strict in order to help students follow the guidelines and help them become the best people God has created them to be, so being strict is a good thing. They seemed to agree, and then one student said, "Yeah, but you love us too." I think she hit the nail on the head with that. Being "strict" in a child's mind is a good thing as long as they know that you love them.
And that has always been my goal...