Even a small amount of positive reinforcement goes a long way in helping students achieve success.
For Marion Middle School students, posting inspirational messages on the stall doors of the girls’ bathrooms was one way of doing that.
Missy Stubenhofer, MMS principal, said she saw an example of it on Facebook last summer.
“It encouraged girls to think positively about themselves,” she said.
Chrissy McFall, MMS secretary, said that after everyone saw the idea, they wanted to pitch in and help make it happen.
“Using Google Drive we shared quotes with each other, and found ones that we thought would fit in the areas designated,” she said. “Teachers, the librarian and myself were all in this together.”
Once the quotes were identified, Alisha Frazer, the 7th-12th grade art teacher, agreed to go through the messages and decide which ones would fit in the spaces allotted, Stubenhofer said.
“Frazer) picked one, cut out vinyl letters, painted the area above the mirror in the girls’ restroom and put up the first saying,” she said.
“It looked so great we talked about doing the boys’ restroom, which meant we had to brainstorm again.
“This time, Alisha not only did the saying above the mirror in the boys’ restroom, she also did longer sayings on canvas—one for each restroom.”
While acknowledging she played a role in the project, Frazer didn’t want to take much credit.
“This was really a group effort from the MMS staff,” she said. “I don’t remember who shared the idea with the group, but the effort over the past couple years has been to add some welcoming touches and positive words of encouragement throughout the building.
“This was just another step,” Frazer added.
McFall said when everyone saw the article they all said it was awesome, so it was decided to give it a try.
“Teaching is more than the ABCs,” she said. “I think the whole idea is for students to see their teachers doing things outside of the regular school day—coaching or a community activity is really important.”
McFall said she believes teachers are responsible for more than just academic enrichment.
“If someone wants to be a great educator, they must connect with their pupils and reach them on multiple levels,” McFall said. “The best teachers are committed to their students’ well-being both inside and outside the classroom.”
McFall said one of the biggest reasons for the enthusiasm about the messages is because “teaching is really more about inspiration, not information.”
Stubenhofer said MMS students use the second floor restrooms the most and the pink messages are in the girls’ restroom with the blue in the boys.
“While the push to get this done was a staff effort, Alisha definitely took the initiative and got it done,” Stubenhofer said.