Enriching Connections

Core scripture: “He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.” (Colossians 1:17)

Message: How do you get students to reach their potential?  I wish there was a magic wand you could wave.  Hocus pocus, alla-kazaam, alla-kazoo … all your homework, you must do! 


Yeah, right.  You would have a better chance of getting a first grader to eat brussels sprouts.  My 7th graders are becoming teenagers.  They get a little bull-headed.  But do you know what?  If you play your cards right, you can learn to tame that bull and ride it.  Even controlling it!

Last week emails were flying around about a particular kid who has struggled all year.  He performs for his friends, he could give a rip about his grades, and he is failing most all of his classes including … culinary?  Yowza!

I wrote the kid a note to encourage him.  In that note I tried a little bribe.  I told him that every time he stayed after to get help, I would tell him the story of a Chiefs player from my childhood.  He literally ran up to me after class that day asking if we could watch a Dante Hall video. 

For me, that was easy!  I mean, I love the Chiefs, and taking 10 minutes to watch a Dante Hall video after a long day of teaching was a nice way to unwind.  But to that young man, it meant everything.  I talked to him about makeup work, gave him another pep talk, and let him go.

“Hey, next time can we do TO?” he asked eagerly.

“Terrell Owens?” I asked.  “Well, I mean, he’s not a Chiefs player, but sure!” 

I haven’t gotten any work yet, but do you think there is a better chance of getting work from him now that I connected with him over our love of football?  Heck yeah! 

I teach another spitfire cheerleader that loves to wear her Sublime shirt.  Ah yes!  A band from my generation!  So much better than the nonsense they listen to today.  We had a few conversations about her favorite Sublime song, and we landed on a favorite cherished song.

That next day, I played that song as the kids were walking into class.  Her dimples lit up the room when she walked in.  I sang a line or two, eliciting a laugh from a few other kids, and the girl joined in singing with me.  It was a sweet moment.

Question: Is that kid going to have a better chance of finishing the quarter strong?

I have this other kid.  He is quite unique and diagnosed on the spectrum.  This boy loves to wear his Bob Ross shirt.  I see it at least once a week.  Sometimes I wonder if he wears it a few times before washing it!  Ew.  Every time I see that shirt, I remark about it.  He wore it again last week.

“Yes!  You wore my favorite shirt today!” I shouted as he walked in.  “Alright, I have a Bob Ross trivia question of the day … what does Bob Ross say every time he beats his paint brush on the easel?”

The kid smiled and readily replied, “Beat the devil out of it!”

“Yes!” I said, giving him a high five. 

By the way, that boy struggles with getting work turned in on time.  He never fails, however, to finish strong for me.  Which makes me wonder … would he go to those lengths for a teacher who didn’t notice him and make him feel special? 

Find those connections with students.  Cherish them and build upon them.  It may be a team you cheer for, a song, or a silly Bob Ross shirt, but whatever it may be, GO WITH IT!  The more you connect, the more you unite as one.  That unity will propel your students to greatness they never thought possible. 

Challenge: Notice all the different ways you connect with students.  Try to enrich those connections as you teach this week!  You never know what a difference that will make as we sprint to the finish of 3rd quarter. 

Scripture study: Read Acts 22 and journal or discuss the following questions …

  1. How did Paul connect with his audience from the beginning?
  2. How would these connections make Paul’s message that much more receivable?
  3. How can we use our testimonies as a way of connecting to non-believers?

Prayer points: Lift up the following areas to the Lord …

  • Praise God for the numerous connections He gives us with our students.
  • Pray that the Lord would take those connections, unifying us together as one.
  • Pray that we can all finish 3rd quarter with a full sprint!

Just for fun: This week we are combining “Clint Speaks” with the “Just for Fun” category.  It is so much easier to tell the story about the Sublime song than to write about it.  Enjoy!


Prayer: Lord, thank you for the numerous connections You unify in our classrooms.  Help those connections deepen relationships with our students, pushing them to greatness.  Amen.

Categories: Uncategorized


  1. Connecting with students personally is so very important. I have always felt that they need to know that you truly care for them to want to do well in your class. Christ and Paul are two great examples of this.

    • Sheryl, it is so awesome to see you added to the IT Teacher Prayer List. Not only that, but to see you participating, warms my heart. I am so glad we connected spiritually. I bet those students connect with you in the office. 🙂

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