Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Help Me Help You

My roommate and I (who conveniently teach in exactly the same school in exactly the same hallway and have exactly the same lunch period) were discussing our day yesterday and, as the year comes to an end, we were boiling down to the same theme in both of our classes.

The end of the year is home to all the good stuff: parties, Field Day, recognition ceremonies, etc. The fun is endless. For most (all) teachers this also provides a fair amount of leverage. And for most children, it works. But then, you have the student who needs to go outside and run around during field day more than anyone else, and yet they can't seem to make the right choices that will get them there.

And you play the loving teacher card: "I really WANT everyone to get to go to Field Day and have a great time. I don't want you to have to sit inside in the office and do work while everyone else is enjoying such a glorious day. But friend, how many chances can I give you?"

They inevitably stare up at you blankly with the beginning of a tear forming in their eyes because they know they've pushed you too far this time. But then you give them hope, that maybe if they turn things around in the next 3 days, you'll reconsider.

The next morning rolls around and the same kid who you really thought you had gotten through to yesterday is missing the same darn thing that they've been missing every day, the same thing that got them into this mess in the first place.

I guess the truth is that they've made their bed. Why then, do I have such a hard time letting them lie in it?


  1. Oh dear, I do this everyday with my son You give them every chance to succeed and you know if they just get that feeling of success it will stick. So you don't want to give up. And you have a whole class to deal with! Bless You!

  2. It's hard because it takes a long time to break a habit that was formed over a long time....and you want them to break that bad habit. And you want them to get that feeling of success that elissa mentioned, and you want them to have the triumphant end to the year that everyone else has had.

    Because you're a good teacher and you care and even when you know someone has made the wrong choice, you still want to believe that they CAN make the right one.

    Because you see though the missing work or supplies or appropriate attitude to the kid underneath who can make you laugh or has great insights into the reading or is kind to the bullied kids or takes on too much responsibility at home.

    I'm not saying you should keep giving chances because that's not the best thing for the kid either (I'm in the middle of that myself......sigh), but that's why it's hard. At least, that's why it's hard for me. :/