Throughout the school year, Boosterthon team members will talk to students about the importance of encouraging one another (the “E” in Epic) nearly 25,000 times through the EPIC Adventure character theme. Encouragement can come in many ways, from all kinds of people—anyone can be encouraging.
And many students receive great encouragement from their parents at home, but they also can be fortunate enough to have a teacher who encourages them on a daily basis, as well. Since children spend most of their waking hours at school, an encouraging teacher can have a major impact on a student's life. So, we searched for a teacher who not only constantly encourages students, but also lifts them up and believes in them during the greatest time of responsibility and change an elementary schooler go through—the 5th grade.
Michelle Snow, a 5th grade teacher at Bright Elementary in Frisco, Texas, is known for her love of Oklahoma University, her collection of Frisco Fighting Raccoons, and her encouraging spirit. A teacher for 29 years, Ms. Snow learned that with a student she must “go for the heart before the head.” If you can connect with the students through the heart, then they will go the distance in the head.
“It is important that each student knows I believe in his or her ability,” said Ms. Snow. “Once they know that, academics come much easier. Believe in the students and it will come.”
In fact, believing has become quite a theme in Ms. Snow’s classroom. As a personal cheerleader for many of her students, she has the word “Believe” in her classroom over 30 times. Plus, that’s not the only thing she collects in her classroom. To best relate with her students, one corner of her room is decked out in OU gear, while over 150 raccoons (the mascot of the local Frisco High School) roam her classroom. “Being real and approachable is the way to let students know I care for them,” said Ms. Snow.
As her 5th graders prepare for middle school, a time of excitement and angst, Ms. Snow focuses on the importance of ownership. In her classroom, the students learn to take responsibility for their actions and learn life lessons that show them “when they do the right thing, they get to have fun.” There is only one expectation in her room: “Just do the right thing.” And doing the right thing springs good habits and forges great character.
Reflecting on the source of her own encouragement, Ms. Snow credits her mother. As a single parent with three children, one of which was born with Down Syndrome, Ms. Snow’s mother had many hardships, but she still provided her children with the opportunites and words that would allow them to be successful.
And to be a source of encouragement to her students, Ms. Snow asks herself daily, “Who can I reach out to?”
Being aware that you have the ability to encourage anyone, especially those you care about and who are in your immediate reach that is the most important—and Ms. Snow does just that.
And it all begins with belief. That you can do it. That someone is behind you in your efforts. Not surprisingly, Ms. Snow still has past students drive hours to visit her and thank her for believing in them.
So as another week of school starts, remember to encourage those around you and thank your student’s teacher for all that he or she does to encourage students on a daily basis.
Be sure to check back tomorrow for 5 tips on how to show your teacher you appreciate them in honor of “World Teacher Day!”
Know a teacher who deserves celebration? Tell us on our Facebook page!
The Boosterthon Fun Run is a fundraising company designed for America’s top schools. Since 2001, Boosterthon’s taught millions of students across the nation about the importance of fitness, leadership, and character while helping schools raise needed funds. To inquire how our unique fundraising program can help with your school’s fundraising needs, visit www.boosterthon.com/contact.