Those who know me know I live, breathe, read, write, education. I love what I do. And I am a lifelong learner.
As a teacher, a new year brings new promises. You are so filled with optimism for the new year and what you might accomplish. During those first few weeks, you assess and re-assess to see where your children are. You need to know the baseline. You need to know where to begin teaching. You need to know what they know and what they need to know.
Some years you get a student, and you think: "Wow, how am I going to get him/her to where they need to be?"
Personally, I love this challenge. I love trying to figure out the puzzle of how to help this child.
Sometimes, well a lot of times, students come with baggage. The baggage of paperwork. There are two schools of thought. Don't read the paperwork and form your own ideas. Read the paperwork and formulate a plan. I normally will read the paperwork to figure out the plan.
I once had a student who came to me with quite a binder of paperwork. The future looked bleak according to the write-up. He had numerous disabilities. He had not had a positive school experience the year prior. The paperwork really worried me. I knew I had several jobs.
1- Establish trust with him. He needed to know it was a clean slate and his disabilities did not define him or his position in my room.
2- Read. Read. Read. Figure out how can I break through and help this child learn to like school again. To feel safe at school.
3- Encouragement.... build his courage. Build my courage. Build a classroom environment where he was valued and encouraged.
4- Make sure the classroom is balanced and no other child feels slighted by my attention to this student.
But, then you see it. You see the child shed what he was before he walked in. You see the child grow into who he is and who he should be. A smiling child who loves to come to school. Who was afraid of trying, who now trusts that he can try, he can do it. He will not be cured of his disabilities. But he will not become them, he will learn how to live with them positively. And if I do my job right he will learn to advocate for himself.
BUT please...future teacher...DON'T COUNT HIM OUT!
Wife, Mom, Educator and Lifelong Learner