Teacher Creates An 'I Need' Box To Connect Better With Students

"This is the best thing I’ve ever done to reach my kids this early in the school year."

Julia Brown is a middle school teacher in Texas. At the start of the school year, she revealed on her Julia Brown Food, Fitness and Fun Facebook page that she was trying something different in her classroom.


She decided to start an "I Need" box to allow students to write down things they might not feel comfortable vocalizing.

The teacher told Scary Mommy that she was inspired to start the "I Need" box after a student survey from the previous school year. The survey asked students to name an adult on campus they would feel comfortable going to about anything. Approximately 10 percent of the students felt they had no one. 

Brown thought that the "I Need" box would be a solution. She explained on Facebook, "I just want to let my students know I'm there to help them with anything they need."  That could include anything from school supplies, hugs, extra help on a lesson, help with a bully or a seat change.

Brown shared the post at the end of August and said she will see how the class received the box. About a month later, she posted an update on September 23 to share the impact the "I Need" box has had on her class.

She said in the first week alone two students informed her of a bullying situation, which then got resolved.

Brown continued that in the second week, she adjusted the format so every student would put something in the box, but it was their choice whether they wanted to write on the paper or not. It eliminated the concern students would feel self-conscious going to the box. And it has kick-started something great.

With the new format in place, Brown has received a "plethora of 'needs'" including special handshakes to enter class, daily hugs, seat changes and school supplies.

On top of that, she says students have been encouraged by the box to come to her directly.

"I've been teaching middle school for 15 years, and I can honestly say this is the best thing I've ever done to reach my kids this early in the school year," she wrote. 

Both posts have inspired other teachers to start similar things in their classrooms. General commenters are saluting what a simple but effective idea it is.

Times may be tougher for teachers compared to the past, but things like Brown's "I Need" box show the difficulties haven't come between teachers and their passion for connecting with students. 


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