What happens when a teacher compliments his students consistently? Amazing things!
Facebook is on fire with a video share featuring a special education teacher who practices peace, harmony and praise. How? Every morning this special education teacher takes 10 minutes to complement each and every student.
Jacksonville, Florida teacher Chris Ulmer’s approach to his students has boosted their confidence and put them miles ahead when it comes to social skill development. Instead of bullying, put-downs and not-so-nice-words, these kids have taken a major tip from their teacher and are now strictly supporting one another.
How does Ulmer do it?
The special education teacher could just toss out the occasional, “Good job” or, “Great work.” But, he goes a step further (or, more like a couple steps further). Every day he starts class with a string of very specific compliments for each child. These vary, but include praises for intelligence, overcoming an academic obstacle or the child’s sports prowess. Some of the compliments he gives include, “I love having you in my class”, “You are an amazing student”, “I think you’re very funny” and, “You’re athletic.” He also makes the praise school-specific, noting how well the children are doing in subjects such as reading. After the peaceful praise, he high-five’s the child and gets ready for the next one.
Ulmer tapes the morning ritual and regularly posts the results on his Facebook page. He notes that the daily compliment sessions have truly changed his students for the better. In the beginning, the special education teacher tried the praise once a week – holding “Toast Tuesdays.” He began noticing that on “Toast Tuesdays” the children seemed happier and more motivated. This led him to start ‘toasting’ the kids each and every day.
The student’s in his class face challenges that go beyond what the typical child does. With diagnosis that include everything from traumatic brain injury to autism spectrum disorder, Ulmer’s morning method gives children with often-extreme obstacles a way to feel good about themselves.
Not only have his students shown increases in self-esteem, but they’ve also changed the way in which they interact with one another. The room’s culture has become one of mutual support. They see each other’s successes and praise them (similar to what Ulmer does). There are no insults here!
Unlike some classrooms that switch teachers (and mix the kids in with new students) each year, this one has remained together with Ulmer for the past three years. Ulmer told ABC News about the class, “They’ve evolved as a family. We have an understanding that comes with the time that you don’t naturally have.”
The praise doesn’t end at the students. On one of his videos Ulmer says (via the subtitles that he adds),
“My students have developed the ability to look me in the eye and praise my efforts as well.”
Ulmer states in his video that he believes in focusing on his student’s talents, and not their deficits. He also notes that he doesn’t just talk about, “Peace, love and harmony.” Instead, he displays it through his actions. Doing so helps the children to see the effects that kindness have on each other. As a teacher, Ulmer only wants his students to see the goodness in him. “If they have a mean, jaded teacher they will think the world as mean and jaded.” Ulmer is far from anything that could be considered as mean or jaded.
Watch below and see for yourself how his daily sessions change lives!
Children learn to love or hate at an early age.I think it’s time we actively work towards teaching love and acceptance.
Posted by Special Books by Special Kids on Sunday, 15 November 2015
The Florida teacher isn’t just putting his work on video. He’s also authored a book about his students. His Facebook page, Special Books by Special Kids, chronicles the stories of his students as seen in his book. These include the narrative of each child from Ulmer’s view as well as through the eyes of the students and parents. Even though he’s received 50 rejection letters thus far, Ulmer is still continuing to getting the word out. He regularly updates his Facebook page, sharing the heart-felt stories of his students with the world. With upwards of 71,000 followers, and videos receiving more than 1 million views, it’s clear that Ulmer is much more than a run-of-the-mill teacher. His words of praise show how kindness and acceptance can set a student’s self-esteem soaring!