Middle school teacher Julia Brownfelt her students needed a way to ask for help without having to talk to her directly, so she came up with a clever idea: the “I need” box. She decorated a box and put it in her classroom as a way for her kids to open up and not have to feel self-conscious by asking the teacher.
Initially, Brown’s students could write down what they need and drop it in the box. This let her know about a bullying situation that she was able to get taken care of. But by the second week, the teacher changed the format so every student visits the box daily to drop a card in, even if they don’t write anything down. And now she says she’s had a “plethora of needs” turned in, ranging from specific supply needs, to seat changes, to after-school help, and even daily hugs.
The thing is, it’s not always easy for people to ask for what they need, no matter how old they are. So this teacher found a way to make it easier for her middle schoolers to make a request and it’s making a huge difference. Brown says now her students are coming to her directly with issues and challenges and they’re bypassing the box to talk to her face-to-face.
“I’ve been teaching middle school for 15 years,” Brown says. “And I can honestly say this is the best thing I’ve ever done to reach my kids this early in the school year.”