The cracks are beginning to show…

I’m winning.  Not in all my classes, not all the time, but I am winning.

I saw the cracks begin to show today in my last block class, one of my more challenging ones.  They’re really bright students, but it’s the end of the day and an hour and a half is a pretty long time to pay attention.

One student in this class has become a special project of mine.  I’m going to call him Jess, because he reminds me soooo much of Jess from Gilmore Girls – really smart, but really seems to hate school.  I know it’s because he’s bored most of the time, but anytime I try to give him more challenging work, he won’t do it (I totally understand his mentality, by the way…why should he have to do more work just because he’s ahead?).

Anyway, a couple of weeks ago I decided to stop getting on to Jess for being late, off task, etc., and to just praise him out the wazoo anytime he did anything well.  I try to always smile at him, even when he’s late and have been trying really hard to engage him in conversation.  It’s been working pretty well most of the time, but today was magical.  I had the kids in reading groups and I paired Jess with one of my English learners.  By “coincidence” (aka by Jesus), the English learner had to go to the restroom while they were working.  I took the opportunity to tell Jess that I had paired him with this student on purpose because he had been doing such good work and I knew that he could help him understand.

I thanked him for being willing to help and that’s when I saw the crack in the armor.  For a brief moment, Jess had a look on his face that I had never seen before.  He looked like he actually believed me, he looked proud, he looked honored.  His face was devoid of his usual skepticism and bravado.  It only last a few seconds, but I saw it.  Little by little, I’m getting through to him.  Little by little, he’s starting to believe that I really do care.

I’m winning.  It’s going to be a very long war, but right now, today, I’m winning.

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4 Comments

  1. Dad

     /  September 15, 2009

    1, 2, 3, YES!!

    See! We told you that you can do this. Just remember, all wars have winning and losing battles. As long as you win more than you lose over time, the war gets won. Adapt, adjust, overcome!

    These students have no idea how blessed they are to have you as their teacher. But one day they will. That’s a promise.

    YOU can do all things through Him who strengthens you. – Phil 4:13 (Altsman paraphrase)

    Reply
  2. Justin Pocta

     /  September 16, 2009

    Wow, that is great. Love your approach. Keep at it, friend!

    Reply
  3. Becca

     /  September 16, 2009

    I told ya – It’s all about the positive!! Good job – I’m sure you’re doing a GREAT job!!!!

    Reply
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  • A collection of ramblings and musings on Jesus, life, education, family, and anything else that pops into my head.

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