Wednesday, April 10, 2013

No Foolin'

I think all teachers might be guilty of sizing up their kids during the first week of school, sometimes the first day even.  Let's just say on day one there's a child who is already acting up in the classroom.  I mean, he/she knows about first impressions, right?  What in the world?  Have mercy!  Will this child be the death of us before June can get here?  That's a hyperbole, but you know what I mean.

Here's what I know about those kids.  Sometimes those kids are the ones who manage to carve out the deepest spots in your soft teacher heart.  Don't be fooled into giving up on them.

Are you a kind teacher?  I thought you were.  It won't be enough to be kind to the whole class.  You need to speak to these children individually, call them by name.  Often their tiny little knots of anger will start to loosen.  Sometimes praise can embarrass a child, but sometimes these kids ache to hear a kind word.  Don't be afraid to give a sincere compliment for their accomplishments in or outside of your room.  Even if only yesterday dealing with this particular kid made you actually write the countdown to summer "vacation" in your lesson plan book, don't withhold an earned word of praise or thanks.

We all know that life is hard.  As adults we also have learned that we will never really know just how hard it is for others, including our students.  We're also smart enough to know when to take a child's negative behavior personally and when the behavior has nothing to do with us.  We know how to find windows when children seem to have shut doors on the adults in their lives.  When we speak to even the smallest success with a child, that can be powerful.

And when our students (formerly known as angry) realize that we are on their team, they are usually the first ones to pitch in around the classroom or say a kind word to us in order to make our lives easier.   All because we acknowledged them.

1 comment:

  1. Amen to this, my dear. As a mama of a child who desperately wants to fit in, but doesn't always know how, this is music to my heart... The best of teachers "get him" and his quirky, funny way. I have always said that if you don't have compassion for each individual child, you have no business being a teacher.... Have a wonderful week.