I had 2 units to go and no more time to put it off and defer any longer. I had to finish it, or not finish it at all. So this semester, the semester before I become the year 8 coordinator, is when I finish it, finally!! So that's whats happening. Full time work, part time uni.
I recently handed in an assignment which required me to read 3 different articles, and answer a bunch of questions about them. Initially it was a total drag, one of the articles was 30 pages long, and I needed to be sucicnt and to the point. Ugh. But there were some really interesting things I found out after analysing them, but one really stood out to me.
Students need to be cared FOR, before they are going to care ABOUT school.
Kids who are disengaged with school come into the classroom with a notion of how things are going to play out, and it's negative.They expect unfair treatment, to be picked on, singled out, or made to look stupid. As soon as any of this happens, their low expectations have been validated, and they see no reason to change their behaviour. The teacher doesn't show they care much about this student because the student has come in disengaged and perhaps with some attitude or poor behaviour. I think we've all seen this happen, and the teacher writes the kid off pretty quickly. The thing is, the kid is waiting until they know they can trust you before they invest anything in you, or your class. And do you know what you're doing? The exact same thing. Teachers are holding back their trust, because they're waiting for the kid to earn it, to show them that they are deserving on being treated as a PERSON rather than a student with purely academic needs. In the present situation, both parties are holding back their trust and no one is getting anywhere. Teachers need to show they care straight away, ask them about what they like, their hobbies, compliment their shoes and smile at them. Be a positive part of their day and win their trust.
Doesn't this seem so obvious? But look back on your teaching, you've totally done this. I've done this. Most of us have a kid in our class who we make excuses for - but perhaps all that needs to happen with some of these kids, is for us to care about them FIRST, before we get to know them? A lot of great teachers already do this, but sometimes it's easy to get caught up in the curriculum avalanche, and we forget.
Have you had any epiphanies lately??