5 Things Students Love to Hear Teachers Say

Want to know some of the things students love to hear teachers say? Read on!


A few weeks ago, my sophomore class let teachers know the 5 things Teachers Should Never Say to a Student. This week, they weighed in on the 5 Things Students Love to Hear:

1. “You’ve shown great improvement” – “I like this because it means the teacher notices what I’m doing and is paying attention,” Jordan said. “It makes you happy – it’s totally positive vibes, and it gives you motivation to do better,” Samantha added. “It’s something you can focus on and then you can work to do even better,” said Timmy.

2. “I’m proud of you” – “This makes you feel great to hear,” Johnny told me. “You always come back to that moment, and you remember that day when your teacher said she was proud of you,” Timmy said. “Sometimes you might have thought that the teacher doubted you, and now you’ve proven him wrong and shown that you could do it,” Tahj agreed.

3. “You were one of my best students”– “This makes you feel so special,” Samantha said. “It’s cool that teachers remember you and notice you and still think about what you did in their class even if they are no longer your teacher,” Johnny said. “It means you made an impact.”

4. “You have the ability and the potential” – “I love it when teachers believe in me, Johnny said. “And it makes you want to prove to them that yes, you most definitely do have the ability and potential.” “This make you want to work even more on yourself,” Tahj said.

5. “You can do it!” – “It gives me confidence when I hear a teacher say this,” Nick said. “It totally motivates me.” “Yes, and it makes me feel like a role model to other students,” Yicel added.

After the students completed the list, they further elaborated: “All these things are things a parent could say to you, and actually, I see teachers as almost second parents,” Tahj explained. “So hearing a teacher say these things builds a great relationship with a teacher.” “It means that teachers don’t just see you as a number – you mean something to them,” Nick said.

Thank you, sophomore class! I am truly proud of you!

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  • Kristin

    Sophomores representing from RHS!!!

    Great answers!!! Everyone in this world always hopes and wants to be validated!!! Teachers, students, parents, grandparents, dogs, EVERYONE!!! Love this article and look forward to more!!! Keep on keeping on Sophomores of RHS!!! 


  • Kasey Ziemer

    This is so true.

    Everyone likes to feel special and noticed. I enjoyed this article because sometimes people of all ages need reminded of how much they have improved and what they do well. Children especially need this support to help develop self-esteem.

  • NancyBarile

    Thank You!

    Thank you, Kristen, and it just confirms to me even more that I have to listen to the voices of my students because they’ll tell me what’s important to them!

  • Maria Busalacchi


    This is so true-each of these statements gives a child confidence, which is invaluable!


  • Michelle Zhang


    Hello Nancy,

    I totally agree with you that the five points you pointed out. I have experience of said these things to my students and got good feedbacks. For example, yesterday, I have a Chinese student; he is a new in my class and just came for one month. When he did his presentation about a Qing dynasty civilization, I saw he showed very confident and had a big voice, although, his read many words wrong, we all gave him a big clap and encouraged to he keep going. After he had finished his presentation, I said, “I’m proud of you, Enzo.”  I saw he was so happy, and he starts to talk more English in the classroom now.

    • NancyBarile


      And that student will continue to thrive because of you and your encouragement! 

  • MauriceHalvorson

    Students Love

    You are next leader to the class is also the word that boosts the child. It’s good information, I hope I can encourage my students with the five little appreciations. I wrote many articles in

    help with coursework and now I will try to discuss about this matter. Appreciation is a good deed for later success.

  • Deonna C.

    School Wide Change built on positive messages

    I truly appreciate that these statements are given from a student perspective. I desire to build positive culture and motivation within my middle school, so this makes me think about what our students NEED to hear from us. Currently our students are not accepting feedback and redirection from their teachers without talkback or a challenging response. I wonder how they would respond if they heard more of the statements that these students shared. Would they respond with less challenge when they are redirected? Would they accept the feedback, knowing that there teachers were watching for the positives as well as the areas for improvement? Thank you for sharing. 

    • NancyBarile


      I think as long as you stick with truly authentic and valuable positive feedback students will respond. A student with some physical challenges told me that she quit a writing workshop one time because the instructors kept telling her everything she did was wonderful. She wanted more meaningful feedback and felt that what she was being given was because of her challenges. I try to always remember that story! 

  • AnneJolly

    Positive feedback

    Positive comments, positive feedback – probably the most important tool a teacher has for encouraging students toward success. I found that my body language and facial expressions were some things that students responded to even before I made specific comments. Once I could give a kid a shoulder hug. Now that’s frowned on, but I can still give them a nod, a smile, a friendly laugh when appropriate, and use a warm tone of voice. I avoid folding my arms when I talk with them, and keep my hands in a palms-up posture frequently. 

    Group compliments (especially whole class feedback) is important as well.  When my class does a good job I tell them so.  I deliberately look for things to compliment.  “You really worked together well today.” “Thanks for the careful way in which you handled the science equipment.”  You’re a top-notch group of kids!” 

    One thing I made sure to do was to tell them that I enjoyed teaching them and looked forward to their arrival each day. 

    • Deonna C.

      Positive Whole Class Feedback

       I like that you are very deliberate about your body language and facial expressions. I admit that is an area in which I can improve. I too give whole class positive feeback, as long as you do it purposefully and descriptively, it really works to reinforce your expectations in a positive light. Your examples were great, as you were specific about what you saw students doing. One of my favorites is to tell my classes that they are a sunshine class because I find such joy in working with them everyday. You know how much students watch you. They will return the energy that you give them. All teachers need to make the choice and be as deliberate as possible to be positive examples, walking sunbeams for their students. Thanks for sharing. 

  • NancyBarile


    One thing my students told me is that they hate phony positive feedback, and they can recognize it a mile away. It has to be truthful and meaningful, and then they will respond accordingly! 

  • SusanGraham

    They also like…

    They also like…

    • Can you see how much you’ve improved?
    • Tell me how I can help you figure this out. 
    • That’s a unique observation, I never thought about it that way before.
    • Wow! Show me how you did that! 

    There is great power in yielding control to the student.





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    Quantum Code Review

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