As you saw in the incredible video above, teacher Chris Ulmer begins every class with compliments for each student.
Ulmer, a special education teacher, has had the same class for three years. In Ulmer’s first year, every day had a theme like “Monday Funday” and “Toast Tuesday.”
Ulmer noticed his kids were always more motivated, happier and better behaved on Toast Tuesdays (when class began with compliments), so he decided every day would start with affirmations for each student. The incorporation of 10 minutes of daily affirmations contributed to significant growth in his class. Students’ confidence and self-worth have skyrocketed, some students have begun looking Ulmer in the eye, and students have started complimenting each other regularly.
And other teachers have posted on Ulmer’s Facebook page that the daily compliments had a considerable impact on behavior and kindness in their classes as well. (I can’t wait to incorporate some of this into my own teaching.)
Ulmer has been blogging and creating videos as a way to support his students, and here’s what he posted online:
Seven months ago I reached a boiling point. As a special education teacher I have students with a variety of conditions but they all share one common element; they are pure. They represent love and everything that is right in this world. But yet, it seemed as if 99% of society could not see this. One parent even told me that their greatest fear was passing away and leaving their child homeless, wandering the streets and being ignored as if they were a “lightpost.”
I knew I had to do something. I called together the parents of my students and proposed the idea of starting a class blog that openly discussed each diagnosis with access to the children. I fully was aware that this was unheard of and could cause complications for my career. I did not care. These children deserve to be heard, loved and appreciated. The world needs to understand that in many ways, the children have it right. We need to learn from them.
Please, for the sake of my students and individuals with special needs everywhere…make this spread around the world. Follow our journey. Take a few minutes each day to understand my students and friends.
Follow Ulmer and his students here — Special Books By Special Kids . Ulmer’s videos and posts are doing an incredible job sharing the love and beauty of kids with special needs. These kids are full of love.
There’s a lot we can learn from this class.