Wednesday, October 05, 2011
I was reflecting on yesterday's negativity in my post and trying to sort out the reasons I feel so frustrated. Is it me I am upset with? Is it my students? Is it school in general?
And perhaps the biggest question...
What can I do to change my state of mind?
The bottom line right now is many students do not see the connection between education and their future. For many, too many, the goal of graduating from high school is overwhelming. They have no fantasies about anything past graduation if they possibly make it that far. College is not something they perceive as a reality possible for them. They see themselves as failures before they even start.
Believing in my students can go a long way in setting them up for success. I know that. I acknowledge my role in that part of the process.
Just believing isn't enough though. I have to transfer that belief into a reality for them. There is where the disconnect lies.
One young man in English 2 is bright, gregarious, bubbling over with knowledge and ability. But he is also a self-proclaimed "ass". He has no intention of passing the class, even though he could easily with minimal effort. He will somedays participate in discussions, contributing amazing insights into the conversation. Other days, he can't be bothered to show up on time, can't be bothered to put pencil to paper, or fingers to keyboard. For all the knowledge I *know* he has, there is little evidence in the grade book to substantiate that knowledge. Maybe he will surprise me and Ace the mid-term and final and manage to pass the class, get credit and move on. Maybe... I hope so. Either way.... it seems my encouragement falls on deaf ear with him. He acknowledges his potential, but chooses to let himself down. He claims to want to be a doctor someday, and I have no doubt he is capable of achieving that goal, but with his current work habits and defiant attitude, that goal is not achievable despite his extraordinary intellectual ability.
Another young man... in my math class. He cannot be bothered to grab his book, bring his assignments to class, even grab a pencil off my desk to use. He refuses to open the book to the page we are on, refuses to copy notes, try problems. He is sooooo determined he is going to fail, he refuses to even try.
Another young lady... so intent on her social life and the ensuing drama there on a constant basis, cannot focus on work in any class. She is constantly worried about someone else and what they are doing, where they are, who is making comments about them. She has potential, but it is unrealized.
When I first starting teaching, I could have stopped there. THOSE would have been my challenges this year. But unfortunately.... that is just the tip of the iceberg. It seems more and more students come unready to learn, unready to be a student....
I keep trying. I keep tackling them one student at a time, one day at a time, one class at a time, one assignment at a time...
There's always a mountain in front of me
Seems I'm always climbin' and stumblin'
And then fallin'
And then climbin'
But I keep on tryin'