I work at a virtual school, so my students come from across the entire state of Utah. I have to work extra hard to get to know my students because when traditional teachers get to see the cute smiling faces of their students as they walk into class, I often just see a name on a computer screen. They see me, but I rarely get to see them. This has made it especially difficult to connect with them and really motivate them to work their hardest.
I teach middle school English, but my number one objective is to help a student feel loved, empowered, and appreciated.
In order to do that in a virtual school, that requires sending a lot of mail! It's amazing to see the difference it makes in the attitude of a struggling child when they get a postcard from me, written by hand, telling them that they matter.
This project will go toward funding letters, stamps, rewards, and small tokens of appreciation that will be delivered across the entire state.
My goal is to enhance learning in my classroom and to motivate students by sending them a handwritten postcard or their choice of small prize in the mail. For example, when a student wins a raffle for 100% attendance or completion or assignments, he or she will get to choose which prize I will mail to their home. On the other hand, when students are struggling, I can send them an inspirational postcard of encouragement so they know they aren't alone.
I know that it’s not where my student started out or even where they are today—their potential is limitless.
I want to help them believe in and discover that success. I’ve observed that these small rewards and incentives can be that extra boost a student needs to get back in the game and an important way to connect with students who I don't interact with face-to-face.
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