Veteran Teacher Discovers Unique Way To Reach Students
Kristin Danley 10/8/2018
Middle school is rough. Kids face bullying situations, plus there's trying to fit in somewhere and cement good friendships while maintaining good grades.
Something as simple as saying the wrong thing or not having enough money to afford the right school supplies can strike fear in this influential age group. Middle-schoolers also do not like to share their feelings or ask for help even when they desperately need it, but one veteran teacher has found a clever way around this conundrum.
Julia Brown has taught middle school for 15 years. She's seen it all.
As a way to reach out to the students who need help the most, or simply need to vent, she created the "I need" box. So far, this gift-wrapped shoe box has proved to be direly needed and a huge success!
Love What Matters
Julia told Love What Matters that she places the box in her classroom with blank note cards and pencils. Students can wander into her room during passing time or lunch time to express what they need help with.
"If a student needs something they are not comfortable voicing aloud, they can write it on the note card with their name and put it in the box. I'll get back to them about it before the week is done."
Some of the issues students have reached out to her for help with include assistance on a makeup assignment, obtaining school supplies when there's no money at home with which to purchase them, and working through friend troubles.
Students have asked if she could help them confront a bully, change seats and speak with her about a situation at home. Some have simply asked her for a hug.
"I just want to let my students know I'm there to help them with anything they need."
Julia and others have deemed the "I need" box a huge success based simply upon the response she's received so far. In the first week of school, two boys informed her about a bullying situation that was quickly nipped in the bud.
The following week, Julia decided to make the "I need" box mandatory because sometimes, kids need that extra push. Every student now has to fill out a card and slip it into the box every single day.
Love What Matters
If they can't think of anything to write on it, they can submit a blank card, but at least they're getting into the habit of turning in a help card. But Julia said she's received so many more requests this way.
"Since then, I've had a plethora of ‘needs' submitted ... What's even better is students are starting to come to me directly with issues/challenges they are having bypassing the box completely."
This is a wonderful idea for this tricky age group! Hopefully more teachers adopt this practice in their room.