I’m perusing a book called The Advisory Guide
to help me get a better understanding of a program we are implementing at our online school next year. In the book the author refers to a story that goes something like this:
In a conflict resolution workshop the coordinator gives the group of teachers prompts and has them identify words that label their level of anger in a typical situation. The photocopier breaks down, or a parent argues with you about a child’s grade. Most teachers responded with words like mad, irritated, uncomfortable etc….Then the coordinator presents a scenario that nobody knew how to address, A teacher yells at one of YOUR students in front of you in the hallway. None of the teachers had a keyword response, they sat muted and still. Then one raised his hand and said, What do you mean by YOUR students?
If HS students who take my course aren’t mine than who do they belong too? At the elementary level this isn’t an issue because one teacher has a student for an entire year and there is no doubt which teacher takes responsibility for that child’s learning. However, its very difficult at the secondary level to take accountability for an individual student because most teachers only have that student for an hour or so a day and they share them with 5 other teachers.
So do we need to get away from the mentality of “its someone else’s student?” Absolutely. How? A couple ways. First off, you have to be in the business to connect with students at such a level that you feel personally responsible for their success, even if you only see them an hour a day, or at an online school maybe never. I also think the answer to this problem lies somewhere within individualizing instruction for all your students. Of course this is difficult, but we have to change the mentality of “I set up my course a certain way and you have to do your best to pass.” It has to be about molding to the needs of your kids.
If you individualize learning for every kid then you are showing them that you have a deep personal interest in their success in your course, and maybe even their high school career.
crossposted at The Next Step