motivation · Teaching

Put Your Best Foot Forward

Bitmoji ImageLezlie’s take:

Junkets and Jewels has shifted to a once-a-week blog, and I hope all of you are still with us! We love writing, but sometimes life gets in the way (so many of you are raising your hands!), so we decided to cut back–for the time being. And we’ve also resolved to feature a special word each week. This week’s word is ENCOURAGE. You know how much it matters to you. Allison and I have discussed this as teachers: when we get the least bit of encouragement from administrators we feel like we can move mountains! I love it when my boss(es) give me encouragement when my students are far from engaged. I teach college classes, and while that may sound a bit easier that teaching K-12, you still wonder if you are getting through to your students. But just this last semester I was encouraged. My students had to write a critical thinking essay which included what they got out of my class (I teach “Learning Frameworks”: using a planner/staying organized, note-taking strategies, test-taking strategies, etc.). One young man, who seemed to have a lackluster attitude in class, wrote an essay extolling the virtues of what he learned and how, if he had put greater effort into his work, would surely have made an A. Yes! So you were listening! Thank you, Zach, for the encouraging words.


Just remember, someone is always watching, and listening. A kind word, a bit of encouragement, can go a long way!



Bitmoji ImageAllison’s Take:

It happened. I got sucked into another commitment. Those of you that know me know that I tend to over-commit. I told myself at the beginning of the year (yes, I know it was only a few weeks ago) that I would focus on just a FEW things, so that I wasn’t up at all hours of the night suddenly remembering one more thing I needed to do. However, when your principal asks you to head up a book study for third grade, you say yes. And while I was excited about the idea I’ll be honest and say that a part of me was thinking, “how am I going to do this TOO?! I already feel like I live at school, not to mention how much time at home I spend working on school stuff, and now this?!” Then I checked my teacher mailbox and found a sweet, encouraging note from my principal attached to a cute spiral notebook. Instantly my attitude changed, and I not only felt honored to be asked, but excited about this new project. All it took was a little positivity and encouragement to change my attitude.


Have you ever noticed how much more willing people are to do something when they’ve been encouraged? The word encourage comes from the Old French word encoragier,meaning “make strong, hearten.” I love this definition. And I got a chance to see it in action this morning. Today was our school-wide spelling bee. It’s the first year my kids have been old enough to participate, and so many of them were TERRIFIED of going up on stage. We talked through ALL the possible situations they might encounter (“if you spell it wrong, you just sit down. No biggie” “You won’t trip, just make sure your shoes are tied” “what do you mean what if your pants fall off? Why would they fall off? Does that happen often?!”), but what really made them get up and do something they were scared of was the encouragement of the class. Right before it started there were high-fives, “you got this”, and “you’re going to do great”s throughout the class. I could literally watch their little chests puff up as they left the room, convinced they were going to do great! So cool to see. Especially because the encouragement wasn’t only coming from me, but their peers.

It may not seem like a big thing, but a little encouragement goes a LOOOONNNNGGGG way! A couple of words may give someone the confidence to try something new. If nothing else, you’ve done your part to make someone smile today.

encourage mint (1)


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As always we’d LOVE to hear your take on our blog! We’re here Wednesdays and some Saturdays. Weekends are mostly spent looking for new adventures. We’d love to hear your comments on our posts! If you enjoy our blog, please Follow us (blue button under the wine glasses) and give us a Like! Many thanks! 



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