Each day, Katie Booser sings affirmations with her students at Franklin Elementary School in Santa Barbara before they take an exam.
“When they believe in themselves, that’s how our world is going to change,” Booser told Fox News.
Booser has done this with every class she has had since starting her career as an educator 10 years ago.
She was inspired by the very teachers who taught her how to believe in herself when she was struggling in school.
“As a student myself, I was that anxious kid … I was nervous, especially before testing or like a big exam,” Booser said.
What helped were “I am” statements, she said.
Now, before each test, she preps her students with the mantra, “I believe in myself. I believe I can. I believe I’ll try my best. I believe I’m awesome. I believe in me.”
At that point, Booser asks her student to pick up their pencils.
She continues: “I am strong, I am smart, I am capable. I’m a mathematician. I will pass this test. Ready, steady, Freddy, go.”
At the beginning of each year, Booser leads the affirmations. By March, she says it’s her students who take the lead, which was precisely her intention all along.
“I can be the leader but the whole point for me is I want them to be the leaders,” she said. “These kids are our future and if we give them the tools to lead, they will.”
Booser also gives her students journals where they write one “I am” and one “I am grateful for” statement every morning.
For many of them, it’s the highlight of their day and if Booser forgets, they’ll be sure to remind her, she says.
“A kid said to me, ‘I am unstoppable,’ I was like, ‘yes, you are,'” she recalled.
These moments, she says, are powerful because “It sets the tone for the whole day.”
However, Booser also gives her students the opportunity to share when things are tough, something she sees as equally important.
She recalled a time when a student gave her a Post-it note after taking an assessment. The note read: “This is really hard for me. I’m feeling really frustrated.”
“I said, ‘I’m so proud of you because you know how hard it is to say that this is hard for me,'” she said.
Booser’s classroom door even emphasizes her life lessons. It reads: “We can do hard things.”
It’s a mantra her students repeat back to her very frequently, she said.
However, years later, parents will tell Booser how their child still repeats the affirmations.
“They’re going out into the world in a job interview and they’re confident and strong and capable and smart … that to me is how our world is going to change,” she said.
According to Booser, academics are important but “being good humans is way more valuable.”