‘This is the Best Thing’: Teacher Invents ‘I Need’ Box to Connect with Students

February 21, 2019 Updated: February 21, 2019

While students are often reminded to seek their teachers’ help when encountering any issues in school, not many would step forward to ask for assistance. So, one teacher in Texas came up with an “I need” box to help her students.

Julia Brown, a middle school teacher, shared her successful method of encouraging her students to ask for help in case they’re shy, overly self-conscious, or afraid of directly reaching out to her.

Brown told Inspire Story that, inspired by the initiative, some of her fellow teachers have started employing the same method.

Julia Niemann Brown 发布于 2017年4月9日周日

“I’m trying something new in my classroom. I’m calling this my ‘I need’ box,” she wrote on her Facebook page, Julia Brown Food, Fitness and Fun.

Accompanying the box are some “notecards and pencils” for her students to write down any problems that they have encountered in school or if they needed Brown’s help.

“If a student needs something they are not comfortable voicing aloud, they can write it on the notecard with their name and put it in the box,” she said. “I’ll get back to them about it before the week is done.”

A few weeks ago I posted about the “I need” box I was starting in my class. I wanted to give everyone an update.If you…

Julia Brown Food, Fitness and Fun 发布于 2018年9月23日周日

Brown’s intention to keep the “I need” box in her class was to let the students know she’s there to “help them with anything they need.”

About a month later, Brown wrote of the progress on her Facebook page.

“The first week, two boys let me know about a bullying situation. We got it taken care of,” Brown wrote.

Photo courtesy of Julia Brown Food, Fitness and Fun

“The next week I changed the format a little and starting having EVERY student put a card in the box every day. They didn’t have to write on it, but every student visits the box daily.”

Very soon, the students are asking her for many things via the cards, including “special handshakes when entering class” and “daily hugs.”

Photo courtesy of Julia Brown Food, Fitness and Fun

But that’s not all…

“What’s even better is students are starting to come to me directly with issues/challenges they are having bypassing the box completely,” she said.

Brown’s method finally worked!

Illustration – Shutterstock | Syda Productions

Surprisingly, Brown didn’t think her approach would be so successful.

“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 concluded her post.

“The best thing about the box is how much stronger my relationships are with my students,” she told Inspire Story. “They know they have someone who wants to help them.”