Believe in Students

This is just a brief reminder of what I’ve been relearning lately: to believe in students.

When kids tell whoppers, it doesn’t hurt to believe them.

Let me explain: since beginning my new assignment teaching Read180 to pullout rotations, I’ve been challenged with learning 70+ new names in grades 3, 4, 5 and 6 and the student personalities that go along with them. As they’ve come through my classroom, many have given me stories I don’t necessarily believe. Rather than challenge what they say, I’ve chosen to take them at face value and it seems to be making the whole class trust me more than ever in my career.

I seem to gain trust by believing a “whopper” like “My mom knows the President” than by taking valuable time asking more questions. This may seem obvious but I know that by erring on the side of believing in them, it sends a message that I am open and accepting rather than critical and exclusive. I’ve even noticed later that some kids with the biggest stories come back and clarify later, which gives me an opportunity once again to show they will not be rejected but embraced for sharing no matter what they choose to say. This is something I chose to write about today as an observation I have made recently in the classroom. I’d love to hear your thoughts on the topic. Feel free to leave a comment.


Having been a public school teacher since 1997, I've gained valuable classroom experience. Sometimes a great tool is a dynamite lesson plan. These posts are from a real teaching journey. I hope they inspire you. Thanks for reading!

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