We are all familiar with feeling excluded.
We try so hard to fit in that we even change ourselves and hope that it is the answer. Many students decide to do this and eventually regret it as they grow older. Somewhere inside that kid who has been teased different was a person who is only trying to be true. Preserve that authenticity in your students through these tips.
Stop, Look, and Listen
Observe your students’ behaviours. Take at least a minute a day just to see how they are. Do the Stop, Look, and Listen habit by consciously stopping anything you’re doing, looking at each and every student, and listening to their stories—even to their silence. This would give you a good sense of how they are and how you can address their feeling excluded.
You can introduce this habit to your class and remind them that we all need someone who checks on us and reminds us that they have our backs.
Ask, Don’t Tell
There are those who are more open about what they feel and actually approach you to share about their life. When this happens, do not feel obliged to give any advice. When you feel the urge of telling them what they should do, remember the question, “What do you think you should do?” This way, you not only help them but you also teach them how to reign over their emotions and win their life’s battles using their own weapons.
Shielding your students can only go so far but arming them with the right attitude towards things is a whole level higher.
A Sense of Belongingness
Show your students that they aren’t alone and outcasted by telling them your own experiences. You might have encountered something similar with what they’re feeling. Telling them how you handled it can encourage them and help them overcome their own feeling of exclusion. Be their friend when they need one.
You can also have weekly group sessions. Group your students randomly and have them share things about themselves to each other. You can even create three different questions that they need to answer to stir up conversation. This is a way of building up their self confidence, friendship, and even their sense of belongingness.
Shape your students into genuine people by always being the first to believe in them and by being there for them when they feel like they’re losing touch of themselves. Make them familiar with the feeling of acceptance.