First of all, I want to say how much I respect you and your job. There is so much that teachers do that many people do not think about or realize. Your job is incredibly difficult. I do have one request/piece of advice. I want to talk about “that kid”, you know the one, that kid that always seems to be in the center of drama or trouble. Please understand that she doesn’t want to cause trouble, more than anything she just wants to be “normal”. He doesn’t want the label of “trouble maker” or “bad kid”. One thing they really want is to be recognized for your equivalent of “Student of the Week”. I know you are probably thinking that your award is reserved for those kids that meet all the expectations set for all the kids in your class and if they can’t meet those goals then recognizing “that kid” will dimish the honor. Here is a little secret from parents of “that kid”, our kids agonize all year hoping and praying that all the hard work they put into each and every day is acknowledged by their teacher. You see, even though these kids may not meet all your expectations they are usually working so much harder just to be where they are than most of their peers. The kids that meet those goals easily may appreciate “Student of the Week”, but for most of those kids, they know they will get it early in the year and they do not get anxiety so intense that they cry themselves to sleep or throw up at the thought of not being appreciated. As parents feel their pain. We know that in the long run, no one will get a great job based on their number of “Student of the Week” awards, but we do understand that this is a crucial influence on whether or not they develop a love of school and a love of learning or come to see themselves as “less than” and not good enough for acknowledgement.
Watch these students closely, you will see successes, they may seem small to you but they often have taken a lot of effort for that student to achieve. If you acknowledge that effort, you will see more cooperation and a better attitude from that student. It will not make those students that don’t struggle stop doing well. Kids (all kids) do well if they can. Kids are not going to start having problems because you acknowledged the effort of the few that struggle. Acknowledging their effort will also go a long way in helping their peers see them in a positive light. By working with the child to help them solve the problems of whatever is standing in the way of them meeting your expectations you will have a positive effect on your classroom. Sometimes you will need to change your expectations for those kids, but that will not be detrimental to the rest of the students. For example, if one student gets a bit more time on a project
Sometimes you will need to change your expectations for those kids, but that will not be detrimental to the rest of the students. For example, if one student gets a bit more time on a project, some kids may ask if they too can have extra time. Ask them what is standing in the way of finishing the project/assignment on time. Talk to them about their concerns. Maybe they need some extra practice on time management. Soon the kids that do not need extra time will not ask for it. The same is true for other accommodations. Some kids might want to try them out initially, but soon you will see that most kids will only use them occasionally when they really need it. For more information on problem-solving please go to http://www.livesinthebalance.org
Please remember that all children want to do good, feel loved and valued. Several little things on your part can go a long way in showing love and compassion to “that kid”.