ATLANTA - Classes at Kindezi at Gideons Elementary School in Atlanta, Georgia started back up last week, and one teacher wanted her students to start their school year on a positive and encouraging note.
In a video, which has quickly gained national attention, Neffiteria Acker, a fourth-grade teacher, is shown holding a mirror while her students say positive affirmations to themselves.
"I practice positive affirmations with myself in the morning. I practice them with my daughter who’s five years old, and, I’ve seen just a tremendous amount of confidence and self-value increase with her," Acker told FOX Television Stations. "So, I decided to do it with our students."
Acker said she searched extensively for a full-body mirror that was about the height of a fourth-grader.
"I wanted to make sure that they were looking at just them," Acker continued. "They came up with these amazing affirmations that just sent chills in our bodies."
In the video, students are seen lining up saying affirmations including, "I am smart," "I am a good person" and "I am strong and independent."
The footage was recorded by Cierra Broadway, another teacher at the school, who also previously did similar affirmation exercises with her students prior to the pandemic.
"I just felt literal chills when I heard them saying these things that they came up with on their own," Broadway said.
Acker said she has since asked her students for feedback on the affirmation exercises.
"They were like ‘I was nervous at first because I don’t like talking in front of a bunch of people, but after I did it, it just made me feel very happy and proud of myself,’" Acker shared. "Hearing them speak that life and love into themselves. It was emotional."
Broadway revealed the school, located in Pittsburgh, Atlanta, is in a rougher neighborhood, and thus some students come to school with trauma.
"A lot of the time, the only love and positive affirmation that they do receive is from us, teachers. So, it makes us feel really good to know that we are indeed making a difference," Broadway continued.
Some of the students told Acker that they do the exercise at home now.
"I hope they get a sense of self-love, self-awareness, self-confidence, so no matter what someone says, no matter what someone does, no matter how badly the world tries to tear you down, we believe in you," Acker continued.