Middle schoolers believe you when you tell them they are smart, kind, or funny. They also believe you if you tell them they are lazy, unmotivated, struggling, or "behind." Although they may not show it or tell you, your words have a big impact on their own beliefs about themselves. It is important that we take this power seriously and are careful with our words. One (even joking) negative comment can become part of a students inner voice about his or her abilities.
I'm writing this as a reminder to myself about the power of our words. Of course, I am never the teacher to outright tell a student that they are lazy... but maybe I am implying it in some way? When I ask a student, "Did you not do your blog assignment, again?" Was that "again" at the end of my sentence necessary? no. Was it hurtful? maybe.
I'm going to make sure that my words are positive and helpful. Even when I'm tired. Even when I'm overwhelmed. Even when a student didn't do their blog assignment, again.