attention, behavior, being a teacher, punishment, students

A Student Gives Up And I Get Even

His head was down, hoodie pulled over his eyes.  The frustration radiating out of him, the dry erase board lay there untouched, unwritten, and I thought to myself, “again?  Seriously…”  And the irritation in me kept growing.  This kid who obviously didn’t get what I was teaching had just given up, how dare he.  So I coaxed, I goaded, I even raised my voice a little trying to let him know that the choices he was making was not going to help him learn anything.  That I needed to be the center of his universe for him to understand it.  That we were not going down this road again today.

In my mind I knew I was going to have “the talk” with him once class was done.  I was going to tell him how unacceptable his behavior was, how disrespectful, how I would be emailing mom and speaking to his homeroom teacher.  I was going to give it to him good too because all I could see when I was teaching was that head down, hoodie up and that just wasn’t acceptable.

When class ended, he approached the table and I looked up and saw his look of sheer resignation, the, “Uh oh I am going to get it now and I don’t care because I just don’t get it”  attitude streaming from him.   So I said, “I noticed how tough math was for you today, how you had given up…” and I hesitated, noticed his downward glance.  “So I want  to thank you for continuing to try, for not thinking I was crazy in my explanations.  Please keep reaching out for help and I will try to get to you as soon as I can.  I know you can learn this, don’t forget that.”

Eyes up, shoulders back, and out he walked from my room.  Who knows what Monday will bring.

2 thoughts on “A Student Gives Up And I Get Even”

  1. You hit it right on the head! You said what we should all say. The frustration you feel is real, but you rose above your feeling and looked into his. Great post!

  2. Tonight, I was reading the drafts of my advanced class's final exams and came across one that began with a statement about how all of the question options were stupid and how they had nothing to do with what we did in class all year. I have to admit, I was angry and then (and still am a little) deflated. I went back and reread this post and decided that I'm going to take a similar approach tomorrow.Thanks for this.

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