Several studies have shown that a teacher has great impact in the trajectory of students and a constructive relationship can build a strong connection for learning. Specific lessons are easily forgotten but a student does not forget how a teacher makes a difference in his life.
Recently, I noticed my students interrupting me at the middle of discussion so eager to share about variety of things. Sometimes, they are totally off the topic and it has something to do more with their struggles and exciting news they have for the day. That’s when I thought of giving them five minutes before the start of the lesson to write everything they want to share. The result was amazing. Writing for five minutes gives them a moment to be quiet and think about their day. In the same way, it also enlightens me about what they are going through. The next day, I usually give them encouraging short notes which is related to what they wrote the previous class.
The activity obviously makes them feel more important and their class participation is a lot better. Kids want to feel that they are not only noticed because they have done something wrong but because a teacher cares. I am sure that they will treasure more the five minutes I gave them than the rest of the time I discussed the lesson. Remember, "Students do not care how much you know until they know how much you care".