August 24, 2009

New Class Lists

I raced through all of my new class lists today, scanning for names of students I know. I became very afraid when I saw some of the names! I had one of those classes from hell last year at the middle school, and I was really hoping that some of the students (incoming freshmen this year) would decide to take someone's classes other than mine. Lo and behold, some of these challenging students decided they liked me so much that they want to spend another whole semester with me!

I'm going in with an open mind, and I'm not going to pre judge them. But these one or two students have the ability to single handedly destroy an entire class if the teacher lets them. I'm not going to be the teacher who lets them this year.

I'll have to be careful not to single them out. I won't treat them any differently from anyone else, UNLESS they give me a reason to. I'll be much quicker in administering disciplinary measures than I was in the past. When students get away with one thing, they basically have license to keep misbehaving. My goal will be to create an atmosphere of LEARNING from the very first day. I'll have to be vigilant to maintain this atmosphere throughout the term.

I want to emphasize that most of my students are great. I'm just talking about one or two here, but that's all it takes to destroy a learning atmosphere sometimes.

Another random observation about my class lists: each year, there are more and more students whose names I can't pronounce. We have a pretty high population of immigrant families in this community. This is one extra challenge that I didn't have to face at the rural district I taught at two years ago. Overall, these students are very hard working and well behaved, it's just that learning their names takes some extra effort. Effort that is well spent.

1 comment:

Bad Cat! said...

I wonder if any of my teachers had this same thought when they saw my name on their class lists...
The only advice that I can give is to not write those students off right away. If you treat them like trouble, they will be. If you treat them like every other student, they may still be trouble, or they might be your new best student. Good luck!