About This Book
Teachers inspire students every day, and this new collection provides some much-needed inspiration for these dedicated educators. With great stories about teaching from teachers and stories of thanks from students, Chicken Soup for the Soul: Inspiration for Teachers makes a great teacher gift for graduation, holidays, back-to-school and end of the year… a great teacher gift all year round!
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Five ways that teachers do make a difference.
Drawn from Chicken Soup for the Soul: Inspiration for Teachers by Amy Newmark & Alex Kajitani
Teachers create the future, acting as role models and confidants as well as helping students learn the curriculum. There is constant pressure to meet quantitative standards, but what about the qualitative achievements, the ones that can’t be measured numerically? Sometimes, teachers need to be reassured that they are indeed making a difference—that they are shaping tomorrow’s thinkers and leaders. The 101 stories in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Inspiration for Teachers do just that, providing our beloved teachers with the inspiration and appreciation they deserve every day. Here are five tips for teachers, drawn from the book:
- Don’t be afraid to use your tough love. When the school track star was failing her class, Linda Carol Cobb refused to change his grade. Various members of the administration pressured her to boost the boy’s grade, but Linda remained firm. The student would need to attend summer school to graduate, and he blamed Linda, as did the school administration. “The whole stressful ordeal had been tense and disheartening,” Linda shares. So she was surprised when, a few years later, that student returned to thank her. “I learned an important lesson from you. I learned that I have to be responsible for my own actions,” he told her. “You did the right thing.” This brought tears to her eyes. Linda said she was proud of him and shares, “I was proud of myself, too.”
- There are days when your students will amaze you. Near the end of her student-teaching semester, Jeaninne Escallier Kato’s second grade class welcomed back a special student. Tammy had recently survived surgery on a cancerous brain tumor, and all her classmates adored her. “The children prepared me for Tammy’s arrival by showing me her picture and telling me that she was the smartest and sweetest girl in the second grade,” Jeaninne says. But it was a class kickball game that showed Jeaninne the depth of the students’ kindness. When Tammy’s turn came, all of her classmates worked together to make sure she kicked a home run. Everything, and everyone, seemed to move in slow motion, Jeaninne said. “I have never seen anything more perfectly choreographed in kindness than that kickball game.”
- You can invent new ways to teach. First-year teacher Deborah Elaine had to get creative when the matter of race and skin tones came up among her preschool students. The topic had taken on a negative tone, Deborah says, so she wanted to share a book that addressed the issue positively. After reading the story to her class, Deborah led her students in finding and mixing paint to color their handprints. “The purpose was to tear down the black/white fence and help them to see that we are all different shades of brown, created from the same base,” she says. “It’s not one or the other, but a spectrum.” The lesson worked wonderfully! Deborah writes, “The children were excited to identify with the characters and to have a positive association with all the different shades.”
- Sometimes a 180-degree change in perspective is the perfect strategy. From the very first day, Belinda was a challenging student for new teacher Danny Brassell. He sent the seven-year-old to time-out or kept her in at recess every day of that first week. However, those punishments did nothing to stop Belinda’s name-calling or fighting. Danny realized a talk with her mom was in order. When Belinda’s mother demanded to know what she’d done this time, Danny suddenly decided to try a different approach and highlight what she was doing right. “I smiled and described every positive thing that Belinda had done over the past week,” Danny says. The next day, Belinda hugged Danny and promised to try harder at getting along with others. He shares, “One positive comment from a little seven-year-old made all the difference in the world to me.”
- Some students will remember you forever. In elementary school, Anne Cavanaugh Sawan always brought her lunch and envied the other kids who got to buy lunch. Her first grade teacher, Mrs. Caruso, must have noticed because she offered to buy Anne lunch as a reward for her hard work. “The next day, I proudly carried my tray of chicken fricassee across the cafeteria and took my seat at the hot-lunch table,” Anne shares. “Honestly, the food wasn’t as great as I had imagined, but I was pleased to be there and felt honored to be a part of the group.” One time, Mrs. Caruso gave Anne’s family bags of “extra” clothes, toys, and books. “I don’t know why Mrs. Caruso took a shine to my family. Maybe she also grew up in a family that struggled. Maybe she knew what it was like to feel just a little less than everyone else,” Anne says. “Somehow, even with her quiet charity, she never made me feel ashamed. She just made me feel loved and important.” Years later, Anne still remembers that feeling. “I’ve never lost that feeling—of being important to someone and being protected by her,” Anne writes. “After all these years, I’m still grateful to that wonderful teacher.”