I was on a course the other day and one of the people said that everyone wanted to be appreciated. I thought about it and decided I agreed (I don’t always agree with what I’m told on courses but I’m learning not to necessarily voice my opinions.)
How do people make us feel appreciated? It can be something really small even just a thank you, a well done or even a thumbs up. It does make such a difference. If you feel appreciated you start to feel better and pass it on; you notice what other people are doing and tell them too. A very happy, positive cycle. We have cards at school that we can give to children who are seen doing the right thing and also a random acts of kindness board. The children love it – appreciation for doing the right thing. The parents love it – appreciation that they are bringing up their children to do the right thing. Happy children are children who are more ready to learn, to appreciate what they are being taught. The happy positive cycle continues.
If only it was always like that.
It works the other way too; you go to work, you do your job, you work hard, you try to work as a team, what you do is just accepted – why should it be explicitly acknowledged? You are doing what you are paid to do. It does matter because, we all like to be appreciated. If we don’t appreciate the people we work with, in all capacities, then this will not build team spirit. If we don’t appreciate them then they are less likely to appreciate us and the children, a slow downward spiral can start. The children are less happy, they aggravate each other a little bit, they don’t listen as well, the teacher who has spent time preparing an engaging lesson doesn’t feel appreciated, stops noticing the children who are doing the right thing, the downward spiral continues and as the 19th-century naval saying goes: “Everyone gets kicked, and the cabin boy kicks the cat.”
The downward spiral feels like a helter-skelter, a slippery slope downwards that it is hard to stop until you get to the bottom and then a long slog to get back up again. What can we do about it? Perhaps if we all just go out of our way to appreciate the little things that everyone is doing – the child who picks up a piece of litter, the TA who has sharpened and sorted all of the crayons, the teacher who has found the CD for assembly, the secretary who makes the phone call to the slightly awkward parent, the cleaner who has made your sticky table shiny again – all things that may be part of their jobs but that actually make our schools much nicer places to be.
Let’s flood the place with appreciation and positivity and help each other back up that happy spiral.