Saturday, January 17, 2009

I Realize I Am Just Rambling On Here...

One of the things I love the best about teaching is getting to know things about my students other than the difficulties they have in math. When one of my students is on a sports team, I try to attend at least one game during the year. I know you teachers in small towns do this all the time but NYC teachers usually head for the door as soon as the last bell rings.

When I was young, I attended every after school function and had fun at all activities. When my kids were young they came with me. Every play, every ball game, every student helped shape their formative years. Even as a burnt out Suit hater, I attended soft ball games and soccer games. My son played on a neighbor school's team and I would run from side to side to cheer, depending on whether he was in the game or not.

Joe is one of the stars of the basketball team. For two years he drove me crazy and while I am glad he is with another teacher this term, I will never stop caring him. He is a senior and I am off this week from the college so I decided this is a good time to watch his game. This kid is dynamite on the court. His guidance counselor thinks he might make it to the pros. It is a shame that he messed up academically and blew some opportunities for college scholarships. Joe is one of the smartest kids I've ever met. (I felt terrible about not being able to pass him last term.) He is a fine young man. I hope he gets picked up by some college preparatory school and ends up with a big career.

Drew is one of my current geometry students. He was not doing well in the beginning of the term but about two months ago he got bitten by the study bug and his grades have drastically improved. This kid was dynamite on the court. He and Joe passed the ball back and forth and made the other team look like the Washington Generals being played by the Harlem Globetrotters. Drew's dad was at the game. In fact, he goes to every game he can. Drew is his dad's sun (no, I did not spell this wrong) shine. With a dad like this, it is no wonder that Drew is as special a kid as he is. Aside from his basketball skills, Drew is a truly fine young man. When a member of the opposing team got knocked down, Drew was the first one on the line to help him up.

As teachers, it is important to recognize that not all our students are created equally but they all (yes, even the crazy ones) have some special talent. Recognizing it and praising it can go a long way in helping them succeed in school and in life. I know this is not an easy thing to do. Believe me, after 30 years of teaching I have seen many kids whose redeeming values are almost impossible to find. But, if you can find it, and build on it, you have a chance to help save that child. You don't have to go to a game or after school activity to do this. Praise the girl who wrote an article for the school newspaper. Praise the kid who showed up in class 5 days in a row. Be creative. Look really deep. Find the good in everyone.

4 comments:

Eric said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chaz said...

It's a good thing that you are a female. Caring and nuturing of students are never considered a problem. However, as a male teacher in a high school the very same attitude is not only scrutinized for sexual content but can result in a vindictive administrator to call SCI investigators in.

In the perverted world of the DOE we male teachers that dare get involved with our students, especially the females, is like putting a target on our backs.

Pissed Off said...

I keep everything out in the open with my kids. When I was in trailer, I never stayed late with them.

Even females have to worry now a days and I do.I can't beleive there is any harm in praise (as long as it is not related to anything personal) or going to a sporting event.

Miss Eyre said...

There haven't been any middle school dances this year at my school. I used to at least put in an appearance at every dance, letting the kids teach me the Soulja Boy dance and what have you. I miss going to them! But I still have the music recitals. I'm looking forward to them.