I love that part of my job description is supposed to be mind-reading. I refused to sign a bathroom pass for a student who had done no work, is failing most of his classes, was arguing with me about everything. Today, after 8 months of school, I get an email from his mother that he has a diagnosed bladder problem and a doctor's note was taken to the office yesterday.
OK, how am I supposed to know that and the kid didn't tell me that.
Had a parent conference this week where the parents told me their child comes home and tells them he doesn't understand what I teach. I ask every day, several different ways, if they understand and how can I help. I cannot get them to do work in class, so I cannot see what they do and do not know.
The next day, student sat in a different place, did work, asked questions, and said he understood. Eureka!
Communication is important, but it goes two ways.
On the bright side, a student from last year stopped by to say goodbye. She is moving to another school but wanted to come see me one last time. She told me she loved me and that I am the only person who ever believed in her. That isn't true, because I know some of her friends and the believe in her also - but I may be the only person she heard.
The parents in the conference asked me about my teaching style - and the teaching style of the other teachers in the room. And I told them the truth. I am not warm and cuddly. Several of the teachers in the room are warm and cuddly. But I am persistent. My student may not come away form my class thinking I am their favorite teacher but if they can say they learned math from me, I am happy.
I will explain things however often or however many ways I need to. Sometimes I have to take a break to think of another way. I don't give up often - (I have given up on a couple but they won't do even the minimum to help themselves. I cannot do 100% and have them learn anything.) - and I tell my students often I do not teach stupid students. I teach students who missed something somewhere along the way. My job is to help them find it and learn it.
My gift this week from last year's student helps me remember why I want to teach. And I wish her well.
No-sweat Summer Event Alert: Kathleen Davis on parenting teens, award-winning playwright and novelist Victor Lodato, illustrator Andy Rash at Whitefish Bay Library storytime, Janette M. Braverman on leadership and communication, and Edward Kelsey Moore offers laughs and heart in an Indiana town.
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