Mar 5, 2010
The Ying and Yang of Teaching: 1
For the past several weeks, I've been working at a new high school. It's a very different environment from the high school I've been at during the past four years. This school is very small, and has a rather relaxed attitude towards managing the student body.
What remains the same is that I still get immediately invested in seeing my students do well. There is also a wide-range of academic ability and interest among the students.
There are four students that I absolutely enjoy working with, because they are in a headspace that makes them available for learning.
Today, I had to spend the entire school day with one student that has written off the whole learning thing. In fact, when we first met in January, and I brought class assignments, he looked at me with a smirk and said, "Didn't they tell you that I don't do work?" To which I said, "Oh really, well that's not going to work with me."
He has been fighting me all along, and it's been a struggle. Today, while he was confined to one room, due to an in-school suspension, I made that boy work. He showed a level of ability and potential. I acknowledged this to him and encouraged him to keep trying to get back into his studies.
The fantasy in my head is that our day together will become a turning point for him. Then, I snapped myself out of Oprah mode, and realized I need to be ready to see him roaming the hallways and cutting class on Monday.
What I do know for sure, is that when I see him I will urge him to go to class, and I will always have a stack of class assignments ready to engage his mind. I will not be another adult that threw their hands up in surrender when it came to him.