Friday, November 16, 2012

ode to a note

When I was in elementary school, the one where I had to bring my lunch, every so often I would find, stuck neatly in between the contents of my brown paper bag, a sweet note from my mama.

Handwritten notes are very important.  Especially in the age of 30-second, spur-of-the-moment text messages, e-mail, Facebook, and Twitter.

{We'll talk about the lost art of the face to face conversation some other day}

I've been reading a book about how the culture of Starbucks supports progress by following certain leadership principles.  The other day, I read the chapter about caring like you really care.  In that chapter, Howard Behar, the author, recounts how he sent a hand-written card to every employee on his or her birthday.  Every employee.  Every. single. one. of. them.


I mean, I spent a whole 31 days {ish} focusing on sweetness.  And.  I definitely covered the idea of caring like I care, even though I didn't really know that's what someone else had already called it.

I even planned to write a little ditty about the good 'ol thank you note.

But I didn't.

This week, though, I have been putting the idea of thank you notes into action.  With a twist.

The school where I teach uses a unique system to help track students' behavior and attendance over the course of a week.  The students carry a 4x5 in card to each of their classes, during class the teacher is able to mark if the student is not doing what he/she is supposed to be doing and the student is able to earn incentives if they have less than 3 marks on their card on Friday.

Because I hold on to the card during the hour and give it back to the student before they leave, I decided to use my trusty and super cute posty-note pad to leave encouraging notes to random students.  I don't write their names or mine on the note, because I don't want the kids to be embarrassed by the praise {or that I may have noticed they were feeling particularly down}; they know the note is for them because it is on their card and that is from me because it wasn't there when they gave it to me at the beginning of the hour.

I've given out five this week.

Most of the students have been very grateful and almost seemed to not believe that nice things could be said about them.  It makes me happy to know that they know I see the good in them.

1 comment:

  1. I love this.

    I'm doing Thank You notes with reasons I'm thankful for each of my Advisory students this Wednesday before the Thanksgiving holiday. Even though they sometimes bug, there are still things each of them do that I like.

    I think notes make a real difference with some of our students.