In an academic world governed by test scores, rules, and regulations, Special Education teacher Chris Ulmer’s classroom is a refreshing change. Ulmer, a teacher in Florida, takes 10 minutes out of each and every morning to look each student in the eye and deliver individual, heartfelt compliments to every single child, finishing by thanking them for their hard work in class and offering a high five. While Ulmer reports that this daily exercise has boosted the self-esteem and confidence of his students, many of whom have struggled with social and academic difficulties, he also found that within just a few weeks, the kids also began complimenting each other. The students, who have been with Ulmer in the same classroom for the past three years, have also begun participating more in school wide activities and are thriving in a classroom that is a safe, inclusive, and welcoming place. Ulmer hopes to publish a book about “his” kids. In the meantime, he posts regularly on the Special Books by Special Kids Facebook page that he created as a supportive space for recognizing their accomplishments and helping other children understand that they are not alone and are part of a greater community. Ulmer’s work may take place primarily during school hours, but we’d love to see this culture of kindness, acceptance, and gratitude spread to our homes, local communities, and beyond.

+ Special Books by Special Kids Facebook page

via The Mighty

Image © Chris Ulmer