I think your students deserve to know how much you love working with them. There are many ways you can tell them – some are less cunning than others. This is what I did:
A couple of days back I wrote this blog post, in which I describe my relationship with a group of students who I’ve been teaching for almost seven years. It’s a very appreciative article, written from the bottom of my heart. It occurred to me that if something is so positive and genuine, it’s probably worth sharing with those who it concerns.
So … I made hard copies of the blog post leaving out the title. I also deleted the image of our classroom board (they’ve been looking at this board for seven years so my concern was that it would be an obvious cue). I handed out the copies to the students telling them with a poker face that I had found an interesting article on the internet which they may find interesting too. I told them that I had accidentally forgotten to include the title and that unfortunately, I didn’t remember the author. The task for them was to read the text, invent a suitable title and guess a few things about the author: the country of origin, gender, age, and job.
Well, I guess I wouldn’t be a good poker player because they knew immediately – probably from the very first sentence. So I watched them as they were reading. It’s a pity I couldn’t take close-ups of their faces and share them here on my blog because it was an amazing view – they smiled all the way through. It was like watching a child unwrapping a Christmas present.
The ‘task’ was obviously just a feeble attempt to deceive them and I certainly didn’t want them to guess and discuss my age. When I asked about a possible title, though, they suggested something very touching; it’s hard to translate into English, but it was a pet name designating a group of people (them) who claim allegiance, belong or relate to a certain person (that person being me). My confession certainly made them very happy, which, when I think about it now, wasn’t really my primary motivation. What I really wanted was to pour out my heart no matter what.
The next day they came to me and mentioned that I’m indeed almost a doyenne to them – I’m one of two teachers at our school who’ve been with them the whole time, i.e. for seven years. That means something, doesn’t it? 🙂