What happens when you say to your students “I love you?”
In reality, pretty much everything you would want to happen happens. Here’s some background information.
Each year on the first day of class I start off the class by telling my students, “I love you.” I pause for about ten seconds, and then I say it again. These are the first words out of my mouth. Typically, a few things that happen. First, one of the funnier or more outgoing students will respond with, “I love you too.” Second, you will see a group of students that give you a weird look and feeling like are you serious you don’t even know me! Third, you will get kids that will genuinely believe you and follow you anywhere. This is what initially happens; the following is what happens long term.
It sets a tone for your class
Having teenagers share their emotions can be difficult. When I share how I feel about them, it shows them that my classroom is a safe place and that it’s okay to share their emotions. Students start to care for each other after they see how I treat each one of them. Love is contagious. And the tone is set for the year. They get a glimpse into what the year will end up looking like.
Your students view you as a real human being.
As teachers, sometimes we hide behind the stage curtains and take off the costumes when we get home from work or leave the classroom. Sharing our emotions lets our students know that we are real people. I start out with love and reinforce that throughout the year, but this allows me to show and tell them about other emotions aim feeling without reservation. When a student is getting on my nerves, or getting annoying on a particular day. I can calmly say, ” You know I’m not having a good day today, can you tone it down until after class, I don’t want to get upset, and I am getting a little frustrated.” I can be authentic, and they know that I care.
It creates high standard for everyone (including yourself)
When you publicly tell each and every student that you love them, you set a standard for yourself to show the kids that you love them at all times. Ultimately, this helps change a mindset so that decisions are based on love and what that entails. I hold students to a high standard, and they are willing to take feedback/coaching/constructive criticism in a positive way because they know that I love them.
You have to prove it to the students.
Proving it to them connects back to the emotional bank account. Part of creating a good relationship with students is doing what you say you are going to do when you say you are going to do it. By prefacing an entire school year with the bold statement of “I love you,” you are inviting your students to go on a journey with you. This journey is one of encouragement, support, understanding, sacrifice, hard work, and dedication.
Done correctly, each and every student that enters your classroom will KNOW that you love them and have their best interest at heart. It creates a positive learning environment and a safe place built for success.