Somehow, I always get them. The children who have some difficulty behaving and following the rules at school. I have found that they don’t just exhibit these behaviors in my classroom, but in their general classes as well.
Over many years of teaching, I have come to some understanding about the personalities of these children. Some are disadvantaged children, some are the forgotten child of a large family, some are painfully shy or just different. The reasons that they misbehave are varied, but the one thing that all of these children respond to is genuine caring about them from their teacher.
You as the teacher are the one trusted adult in their lives that they can count on to be on their side. We advocate for them. We cheer them on when they are successful, and motivate and inspire them to try something that might be a challenge.
We never give up on a child. We always give them another chance. It’s like we’re a family. You don’t stop talking to your mother because you had a fight. You make up with her. You don’t leave the house and run away because your brothers are getting on your nerves. You work it out with them. And so we should do so with our students.
I have worked with many troubled children over my 28 years of teaching. The one thing that always works with them is genuine interest in their lives. A sincere question about what’s going on with them – why they do the things that they do – will explain a lot about why they say and do the things that they do. Even the toughest boy in your class can become your best student, if you can understand where he’s coming from, the challenges that he faces just getting to school, or just getting along with others.
So, give them a break. Show them you care. Mean it. Let them know that you know what it’s like to be them, and then celebrate the fact that they made it to school that day, and that they participate.
You’ll be glad you did. And you’ll make a lifelong difference in that child’s life.