No duty is more urgent than that of returning thanksJames Allen
Too often we don’t follow up with simple acknowledgements of student (or adult) behavior in a meaningful way. Our default is to acknowledge behavior in a punitive way, so we essentially steal what could be a teachable moment and turn it into a punishment.
Yesterday I was out of the classroom for a combination of a doctor’s appointment (that has been rescheduled three times) and a family death. Due to lack of substitutes, my colleagues had to cover for me, and I absolutely hate that situation. A few of them texted that my students were wonderful and working and respectful, and another had the opposite situation–a disappointment, to be sure, because we explicitly discuss how we talk to and treat new people in our classroom.
So today, in addition to summarizing a chapter or two of our class texts, we will also be writing either a thank-you note or a letter of apology to our guest teachers. An entire class of 7th grade someones will not be happy, but to let it go by unnoticed only allows perpetuation.