In the fast paced day to day-ness of our world, it is easy to take the easy route of telling some one that they did a great job, or that you appreciate what they’ve done for your campus.
The words are always welcome. However, there is nothing as powerful as tangible words on the page. I’ve appreciated and saved emails, but inevitably they are deleted. (darn space constraints!) Compare that with handwritten notes. I have kept almost all that I’ve received…from as far back as college! There is just something about the time and effort that it takes to write a note…just seems more thoughtful than a tweet or an email. It’s personal. It’s private, intended to be seem by you, the writer, and them, the receiver.
I know it may seem odd for someone with degree in technology who blogs on its impact in her life on to encourage the writing of actual ink-on-paper notes…but truly, it makes a difference. It’s free. It’s valuable. It’s something I commit to doing more of in 2014!
Luckily, the genius of Melina Miller (@mmiler7571) even helped me figure how I can make it happen. When I was a teacher, I made a check list of all my students names and tracked the positive parent contact I made each semester. I mailed/sent home a minimum of 3 happy notes per child, per semester. The relationships that were built on that alone were priceless. It also guaranteed I didn’t forget someone or send too many “easy” notes. Keeping a checklist meant I kept it consistent.
At my previous campus, I used these to give shout outs, but never seemed to do it as consistently.
Melinda uses self stick notes that I also scored at Walmart for a $1 (woot woot!). Perfectly sized for a genuine, happy, note of appreciation. The fact that they are techie themed is just happiness to my heart! But still, how could I guarantee I didn’t miss someone?
Why change what had worked in the past? In my Erin Condren planner I made a checklist of all my teachers with the months left for the semester and will check them off each month. The handwritten note in a world full of different ways to communicate may seem like a lost art. According to the U.S. Postal Service’s annual survey, the average home only received a personal letter once every seven weeks in 2010, down from once every two weeks in 1987. And The Wall Street Journal recently lamented the “lost art of the handwritten note.” As an added bonus, studies show that those who express gratitude also benefit by experiencing better health and sleep, less anxiety, and more life satisfaction. They benefit giver and receiver alike. And…to my pocket weary educators…they’re free! (Well, unless you need cuter notes…then they it’ll cost ya!)