I’ve got a student in my classroom who, when I heard that I’d be looping with this, was the first one on my mind. Every year, you go through your class and think “darnit, if I would have just tried this”, and this is my one. The family struggles, not unlike many in our district. Mom and dad work tough hours and this student is with his siblings a lot. I get a lot of attitude, but I see the most kind heart and a willingness to run through walls for friends.
But last year, something changed, not just with this student, but with the whole family. I was hoping that over the summer, whatever it was that was bothering them would be worked through. Honestly, I left it as too much of me! 🙂
If anything, there’s more sullen behavior, acting out, pushing buttons, trying to get a reaction out of me. My wife will tell you, if I’m anything, I am patient. I can wait a student out like no other and I can make my smile shine while I’m whispering what will happen if they don’t stop. Ask my daughter’s that one too, they know “The Smile” very well! 🙂 I won’t snap, won’t bite, but will offer up repeated choices with the behaviors I see.
Honestly, of all the things that I do as a teacher, making that call saying “we need to talk” is the most daunting, and I know I’m terrible at it. I take it as a personal failure on my part that I can’t create what ever student of mine needs at all times. It’s entirely unrealistic and I know this, but it doesn’t change the fact that it goes through my head. As I steel myself to make this phone call, the one good thing I can pull out of this is that I know this child wants to do better, but it’s harder this year, and we’ve perfected many avoidance strategies over the summer.
No, I don’t like it, but something has changed. This child I had started the year out with last year is not with me any more, and as hard as it will be for me to ask, I have to.
That’s my job. I’m a teacher.
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