One way that I help to create a positive atmosphere in my speech therapy room is through standing ovations. When one of my students does something that blows my mind (for example, finally getting a tricky sound that we have been working on for a while or answering a particularly difficult question), I never hide my happiness or downplay the accomplishment by saying, “good job,” in a boring and monotone manner. Nope. That isn’t my style. Standing ovations – that’s how I roll! Ones that are loud and ones that are proud. I want (and NEED) my students to know how great they are doing.
And I am going to let you in on a little secret.
Sometimes, I even stand up on my chair to clap and cheer for my students. And yes, they get a real kick out of it.
Now I know what you might be thinking. Something along the lines of “Mr. Raj, are you crazy? Standing on a chair to cheer for one of my students is too dangerous!!! God forbid one of my students tried to mimic me and then fell off the chair!!!”
Trust me, I understand your concern, but let me share with you a quick story.
This past summer, I ran into a parent of a student that I used to have in speech therapy back when he was in the 2nd grade. This student has since been discharged and is now a 6th grader in middle school. I haven’t seen this student in years, so I was genuinely happy that I had the opportunity to ask his mother how he was doing. After the parent finished giving me the wonderful updates on how far he has come since discharge, she mentioned something to me that threw me for a loop:
“And he still talks about how happy you made him feel all those times when you would stand on your chair and clap for him.”
I couldn’t believe it!
Standing on a chair and clapping was such a simple action, but that simple action was still thought about? Even after all of these years? I never put much thought into the power of standing ovations before, but after bumping into this particular parent, I have recently found myself being much more mindful about the little things.
- The high fives that my students and I share during articulation drills.
- The fist bumps that my students and I share during WH questions.
- The laughs that my students and I share while we walk down the hallway.
- And most importantly, those celebratory standing ovations I do from time to time.
In closing . . .
This isn’t a blog post where I am trying to convince you to do 100 standing ovations a day. Not at all. That would be overkill. I’m not even trying to persuade you to stand on a chair and clap for your students (though, I would love for you to try it!). What I really want to communicate to you through this post is awareness. Be aware of those little things. The high fives, the fist bumps, the laughs. Be aware of just how powerful those little things are. Not only do they create a positive atmosphere in your speech room, but they also leave a lasting and loving impression.