Just last week, I was chatting with my aunt-in-law, a reading teacher in a very tough school district. She had had a bad day and was looking for some support from a fellow teacher. We talked about how rough it is to feel like you're making a difference when the results just aren't there...
On the heels of that conversation, I had a moment that affirmed my choice of profession... On Friday night, at my son's soccer game, I ran in to one of my students from last year. It was odd to see him there, since I live 35 miles from the district I teach in...but oh well. This student was a student who was walking a fine line between good kid and deliquent. I knew that he had support at home, but his friends were taking him down a bad path. He got in trouble almost every day in my class and really seemed to be asking to be kicked out of school. But he really touched my heart. I knew that there was something special in him. So I tried to ignore some of his behavior and just kept silently pushing him. So, Friday night, I ask him how things are going for him at the high school. He has a 3.0!! And an A in French!! He said that he was really surprised how much he remembered from my French class after a long summer off of school. And that was a student from last year, before NTPRS and all that awesome training and coaching I got in Chicago!
So I keep the faith that those students who are trying so hard to get left behind, that try so hard to push my buttons...some day, they'll wake-up.
How about you all? With those kids, do you push them? Do you have high expectations for them or do you take a passive stance with them? I struggle with this because my instincts tell me to be passive and touch base with them every so often to let them know that I want them to do better without breathing down their neck in class, but I also think that they need high expectations just like everyone else. Thoughts?