Tuesday, September 12, 2006

The Unmotivated

Here you are. Let me get that for you. No, you don't have to eat that. Yes, you can have that toy.
I don't know how to motivate all of my students. The difficulty I face is that sometimes I succeed, and sometimes I don't. Nobody trails me through my day to observe and offer ideas. So what do I do?
What do I make of a student who walks into my reading support class, pants around his knees and hat askew, flaunting his I don't give a f--- attitude, but by the end of the year manages to blow the state exam apart? How much of it was the kid? I certainly hope a lot.
As I instructed my Pre-College students on how to stand out in their Entrance Essays, I found myself telling the story of applying for the Education program. Most students gave the cliche speech about making a difference to the assembled panel. Not me. I wanted to stand out. I told the panel all of the reason why I didn't want to be a teacher. One of the points I made was that if my focus was only on making a difference, I might find myself depressed more often than not. So really, how much of an influence do I have?
And, what do I make of a student, jeans pulled up and polo shirt ironed, who fails my English class, bombs the state exam, and is placed in my reading support class as a result, but on the initial reading test, places three grade levels above his own?


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