Sunday, June 23, 2013
"That Teacher": A Blessing or a Curse?
In February I read an article by Angela Watson, "Should All the Toughest Kids Be Placed With the Best Teacher?" I clicked the box to notify me of follow-up comments because I thought it was such an interesting topic. A lot of discussion ensued, and even now, I still get a comment notification regarding the blog post.
As we approached the end of the 2012-2013 school year, Angela's question popped into my head. I don't know if you do this, but towards the end of the school year, I start looking at the students in the previous grade. Then I mentally choose the kids who will be in my class. I just KNOW these kids will be in my class. And I am usually right!
And it's not so much that I consider myself the "best" teacher. But I have learned a thing or two about classroom management. I have managed to build a "no-nonsense, but will love you to death" rep that has followed me from year to year. Thus, I end up with the "tough" kids.
I enjoy taking that kid who has had a rough time of it and changing them using the strategies I employ. Do I always change a kid? No. There are school years that have ended with me having a lot more gray hairs than I started with, and the student hasn't changed one bit. But more times than not, something changes, attitudes, work ethic, something.
But should "that teacher" always have that struggle? Does a teacher always want to be the classroom where the "toughest" kids go ? Wouldn't it be nice to have a class where there is not a daily struggle to earn the respect you deserve? Employing strategies that will get a student to sit down and get to work? Getting this student(s) to not be a distraction or disruption to others?
I'm fortunate. I also end up with students who are not so "tough". This creates a good mix and sometimes one type of kid rubs off on the other. (More than likely, positive vs.negative).
On one hand, you're honored that your peers or principal think that you can "handle" that student. You meet the challenge year after year, and love the feeling when you know you have had a positive effect on that child.
But, on the other hand, you don't want to spend the rest of your years with a class loaded with students you feel have been put in your class so that you can keep them out of the Principal's office.So I ask, being "that teacher", is it a blessing or a curse?