Gratitude: Beyond “Thank You”
Gratitude goes beyond the exchanging of “please” and “thank you”, which are certainly both very important in creating a respectful environment. Many of us likely grew up being told to “count our blessings” when we were just a little too grumbly about our circumstances. Gratitude is a social emotion that boosts happiness and a sense of well-being. Studies have shown that gratitude plays a role in the reduction of stress, and improves overall mental health. These studies have also shown that grateful people have more positive relationships, have better academic outcomes, and are more successful in their careers.
Why is Gratitude an Important Part of Campus Culture?
We all arrive on campus every day with backpacks full of “stuff”, especially these last couple of years as the pandemic has left us struggling to find a “normal” learning environment. Gratitude plays a very important role in helping to stabilize our staff and our classrooms. If our staff can flip the script from the things that make teaching difficult to the positives of teaching, then their perception changes, they are better able to be a positive role model and infuse their classrooms with productive energy. If we give our students tools to see the good around them, in their circumstances and each other, our classrooms become places where students feel safe, can grow academically, and socially. What a powerful thing a positive, nurturing, inclusive learning community is!
How To Foster Gratitude at the Campus Level
Gratitude isn’t something that can be forced, given as a task to complete, or put on a list of campus goals. Everyone wants to feel valued. They want to know that what they do matters. Building trust and creating social and emotional connections is important and showing gratitude is a key building block for a solid campus. Gratitude must be fostered, practiced, and encouraged and it begins with the administration, faculty, and staff.
- Say thank you, it’s a small but powerful gesture
- Encourage everyone to create a gratitude journal
- Acknowledge the positive before pointing out the negative
- Respect others time by being prompt and keeping meetings within time
- Give opportunities for gratitude
- Set up a gratitude wall in a common area where everyone can show their appreciation for someone by placing a note on the wall
- Provide time in faculty and staff meetings for expression of gratitude
- “Catch people doing good things” and acknowledge it
- Celebrate victories big and small
- Write a quick thank you note to someone, even if it’s a sticky note in their campus box
Tips to Foster Gratitude in the Classroom
It’s up to us as administrators and teachers to model gratitude for our students. While it seems that adding something else to the already packed school day is just too much, helping students become more grateful, actually helps save time spent in correcting difficult behaviors, cuts down on frustration, and supports student engagement. Ways to foster gratitude in the classroom include
- Model gratitude
- Have students keep a gratitude journal of the good things
- Write thank-you notes to others
- Notice and acknowledge improvement in your students
- Encourage your students to acknowledge help from others
- Have students look for three things every day to be grateful for
- Provide a board or other way for students to share gratitude with others
We’re certainly grateful for all those who follow our blog and visit our website every week! We hope we inspire and inform you.
Gratitude: A Powerful Tool for Your Classroom. Retrieved November 13, 2021, from https://www.edutopia.org/blog/gratitude-powerful-tool-for-classroom-owen-griffith
Change Your Classroom With Gratitude. Retrieved November 13, 2021, from https://teachmag.com/archives/9240
Gratitude Why STEAM is important to 21st Century Education. Retrieved November15, 2021, from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/basics/gratitude
Teia Hoover Baker is an educator, published author, and entrepreneur. She is an innovative, devoted educator whose career has been dedicated to coordinating programs that support struggling learners. Her passion is meeting students where they are and guiding them to excel. Her main focus is always what is best for children. Teia holds a Bachelor’s in Journalism and a Master’s of Education. In her spare time, she enjoys being Lovie to her growing grandchildren.