Sunday, 3 April 2011

Have you ever given up on a student?

As teachers, we talk about students in the staff room. These chats are good for communicating and getting to know about students.

I know that I am able to talk in depth about EAL new arrivals in the school because I interview and meet them on their first day. This gives me a great opportunity to get detailed information about their background and level of education. In addition, I learn about their hobbies, likes and dislikes before anyone else. When I discuss a particular EAL student with teachers, unless it’s confidential, I am able to give more inside information about an EAL student than anybody else.

 'Every child matters’ and ‘every child has a gift waiting to come out’ but there are times when I feel hopeless and say ‘No, s/he will not make it’. This feeling of hopelessness bothers me immensely. I don’t like this negative feeling inside me. So I start asking other teachers about the student to find out if s/he is better in other subjects. My feelings have changed so many times about a student after listening to her/his side of story or other teachers telling me about how great this student in their subject is.

I also think about my teaching style to find out if I need to make adjustments for this student’s preferred way of learning. If s/he is good at music, homework would be to write lyrics for a song from a topic we learn or if the better subject is physical education, homework maybe to find some pictures of sport actions related to the topic etc.

Many years of living but not so many years of teaching (7 years) taught me that no matter what I think about a student in my mind, I never really lose hope for her/him in my heart. If s/he makes the slightest effort, I am prepared to forgive and forget whatever happened in the past and accept that as a bad patch or phase we went through...I feel so lucky to be part of the teaching profession which teaches me patience and inspires me to become a better person, day after day...