Student of the Month Gives Me an Opportunity to Celebrate Student Success Each Month

At the end of every month, I have the honor of selecting one student as my “Student of the Month” to celebrate their successes in my class during that month. This is one of my favorite times because I get to celebrate the successes of one particular student alongside their family and friends.

At my school, every month each teacher selects one student from any of their classes to honor as their Student of the Month. This student could be selected for their outstanding academics, excellent teamwork, most improved, or for just doing something wonderful in class. Each student is honored at a special luncheon during the school day where they receive a certificate, bumper sticker, and special student of the month t-shirt to wear in place of their uniform. Students are given tickets to invite their family or friends to join them at the special luncheon. I love having the opportunity to eat lunch with my Student of the Month and their friends and family because it gives me the chance to share how awesome this particular student has been in my class. It is also an excellent relationship builder as well because I get to learn a lot more about the student, their family, and their future goals and aspirations.

Out of 140 students it is often a daunting task to just choose one student to honor each month. When choosing my student, I like to rotate between class periods, spreading the love to even my most challenging classes, as well as picking a student who has never been chosen before. My Student of the Month is usually not the expected straight A student but rather a student who has shown great improvement in my class or a more challenging student who did something particularly positive.

Having a Student of the Month has been transformative for my classroom culture. The short time that I spend sharing lunch with the student and their family and friends provides me with so much insight into their lives, making our student-teacher relationship even stronger. Students in my classes know that they are working hard everyday to potentially earn Student of the Month. The students who have earned Student of the Month come back to class after the celebration in a positive light and often serve as new leaders in the classroom. The picture that we take during the luncheon hangs on the “wall of fame” behind my desk as a celebration of all of my past recipients.

Communication with parents and families are too often about negative student behavior in the classroom or low grades. Student of the Month has shown me just how powerful it is to celebrate the successes of my students just as much. How often do you include parents and families to celebrate student successes?

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Chelsea Culbert

Chelsea Culbert

Chelsea Culbert is a proud product of New York public schools where she graduated with her International Baccalaureate diploma. She went off to attain her B.A. in Chemistry with concentrations in Public Health and Child and Adolescent Mental Health Studies at NYU. While at NYU, she started the chapter of “Strive for College,” a non-profit organization that connects college students as mentors to assist high schoolers throughout the college application and financial aid processes. Immediately after graduation, Chelsea pursued her teaching career with Teach for America Los Angeles. While teaching, Chelsea completed her Master’s degree in Urban Education at Loyola Marymount University. Chelsea is currently teaching at her Teach for America placement school in Lincoln Heights where she serves as Department Instructional Lead, Instructional Leadership Team member, and coaches Varsity soccer.

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