The Scoop: Schools


It is important to me that we come back to the fact that children did not plan or choose the lives they are living. They have to cope with the families into which they were born or adopted. They have to work with the bodies they received at conception. They have to learn with their own particular sets of abilities and limitations. In spite of their differences, all children are worthy; all children are precious; all children are unique individuals in spite of the labels we sometimes put on them. This poem is a great reminder.


Special Learner

I didn’t choose to be this way

I wanted to be smart

To gain your praise, my friends amaze

with gold stars on the chart

You’ll never know how very much

I wanted to be fast

To turn in work with time to spare

Instead, I’m always last

I don’t know why I ask you things

then ask you to repeat it

I don’t know why I try to

fi nish work and can’t complete it

I don’t know why for me it’s hard

to grasp the things you teach

It seems I almost get it

then it slips beyond my reach

My heart’s desire is to inspire

succeed, achieve, and fl ourish

But I’m a kid in desperate need

of one who’ll teach and nourish

All my expectations,

all my hopes so wild

For underneath the labels, see?

I’m just another child


Click Here to print: SpecialLearnerPoem.pdf





Validating children with positive, uplifting responses is an incredible skill for everyone who works with kids. Some teachers are good at this, and some get in a rut of saying the same few phrases over and over. The responses we give might possibly be ones that are remembered for a lifetime. I can remember a variety of teachers who said things to me through my grade school, middle school, and high school, positive comments that live in my memory to this day.


Positive Things to Say to Kids

That’s the way!

You amaze me.

Isn’t this fun? Learning new things is awesome!

Where have you been all my life?

Move over, (popular star or hero): there’s a new superstar in town!

You light up my world.

You used to struggle, and look at you now.

You are headed for greatness.

I never knew that. You’ve taught me something new.

Teaching you is such a pleasure!

Attitudes like that fill up this classroom with sunshine.

You are an example to us all.

I can see success in your future.

You’ve got it! Would you help me teach the others?

Your smile lights up this room.

I can hardly wait to get here every morning to teach you.

I can see college in your future.

You, my friend, are a good citizen.

School can be a challenge, but you meet that challenge head on each day.

I am so lucky to be your teacher.

How did you get so smart?

Did your mother teach you that? Please give her a big thank you tonight.

If you keep this up, you’ll be in the Hall of Fame.

That’s a home run if I ever saw one!

I wish they gave black belts in excellence because you would surely win one.

Today is a brand new day. Let’s start fresh.

I have no choice but to tell our principal what incredible work you’re doing.

You are brave, hard working, and intelligent. What more could I ask for?

You are the dream team!

Do you know how special you are to me?

I am never going to forget what you just did. This is now one of my favorite memories.


Who ARE you? How did you get so smart?

I saw what you did for ________________. That was a terrific thing to do.

You are an example for us all.

Do you know how many people look up to you? Well, I’m one of them, too.

Thank goodness I’m not the only one who asks a lot of questions. That’s how you learn!

I will be happy to answer that for you.

I agree. It is hard. Let’s see if we can figure it out together.

Happy dance! Happy dance! Happy dance!

Brilliant! Simply brilliant.

If you can’t figure it out, let me know. I’m happy to help you.

You have a great work ethic. I know grown men who don’t work as hard as you do.

I count on your great attitude every day.

If I could pick any kids in the world to teach I’d pick you.

Wow! I don’t know if there are enough words in the English language to describe how good that was.


You are little professionals, that’s what you are!


If you want to see perfection, look at this!

(cheering) We want another one just like the other one!

(singing) I like it. I love it. I want some more of it!

I was hoping you would work hard, and  you did not let me down!

Look how far you’ve come. It’s astonishing, that’s what it is!

I wish I had a real crown to put on your head right now.

Spectacular! You better get used to hearing that word!

I wouldn’t trade places with any other teacher on the planet!

Get ready for success. That’s all I have to say. Get ready for success!

Would you teach that to me? I would like to understand how that works.

Remind me to write a note to your parents telling them what an amazing kid they have!

I can’t wait to tell the other teachers about this.

When I see that look on your face—the look that says you got it—it makes my day!

It’s not just about me teaching. When I see you working hard, I know I’m in the right job.

You are one curious kid. And most of the world’s geniuses were also curious kids.

Thank you for making the right choice. I was holding my breath, but you made the right choice!

If students were paid for learning, you would get a big raise!

Let me take a picture of you. I don’t ever want to forget this moment!

A person who works this hard could own her own business one day.

If this gets any better, I don’t know if I’ll be able to stand it!

You should feel very proud of yourself.

Diligent. If you look up the word diligent in the dictionary, your picture should be there!

I am so proud of you I might start dancing!

There is no stopping you! Get ready, world!

Phenomenal. Simply phenomenal.

They need to name a new flavor of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream after you!

I can always count on you to have a positive attitude. That is a valuable asset.

You work hard…and then you play hard. That’s what winners do.

You are a spectacular listener. That is a huge life skill.

I will do whatever it takes to help you be a success. You’re worth it!