How long can you try?

Still struggling with the loss of trust over here. Some of the behaviors have changed (which is actually pretty awesome, since those have been problems for a loooooooong time) but it's still discouraging; I asked the student involved for one more thing to demonstrate that new leaf, and that has not yet come. Which makes me sad, because I don't think I can back down on this one.

And then I read a post by my friend TeachEnEspanol that was awfully similar to my situation (go read!), and the comment I left her applies equally well to me. She said:
I guess the truth is that they've made their bed. Why then, do I have such a hard time letting them lie in it?

And my response, which I need to remember for myself as I'm having that hard time:

It's hard because it takes a long time to break a habit that was formed over a long time....and you want them to break that bad habit. And you want them to get that feeling of success that elissa mentioned, and you want them to have the triumphant end to the year that everyone else has had.

Because you're a good teacher and you care and even when you know someone has made the wrong choice, you still want to believe that they CAN make the right one.

Because you see though the missing work or supplies or appropriate attitude to the kid underneath who can make you laugh or has great insights into the reading or is kind to the bullied kids or takes on too much responsibility at home.

I'm not saying you should keep giving chances because that's not the best thing for the kid either (I'm in the middle of that myself......sigh), but that's why it's hard. At least, that's why it's hard for me. :/

That's why it's hard. That's why I have such a difficult time letting go. That's why I can't give up, even when my husband and my colleagues think I'm being too soft.

The picture I chose today is kind of a cheesy metaphor, I know that, but still. I believe that light is there, and if we can just keep going, just a little further, we'll reach it. Because how sad would it be to quit when (I think) we're so close?

(Image credit to extranoise)


TeachEnEspanol said...

I LOVE this (imagine, it's encouraging others to read my blog and I love it. *feigns shock*)!!! It was exactly the push that I need for the end of the year because you're right, sometimes it is the toxicity of other people questioning you that seeps into your veins and makes you want to give up. And there IS a difference between trying and enabling. I will treasure this as I move forward: "Because how sad would it be to quit when (I think) we're so close?"

Joan said...

I'm there too. Same kid, same consequences, same promises to do better. Same outcome... Kills me every time. I don't give up. I just don't. I may get mad, I may withdraw from that child for a day or two to reflect and regroup. But I only have 175 days to try. After day 175, I am done, that is when I can give up.

Rachel said...

Well-stated, great encouragement! Numerous times throughout the year, I have to remind myself that even though I know these kids have a rough time at home, I can't (always) coddle them or hug them through it - they NEED the discipline and structure. It's one reason why sometimes I don't like finding out too much about a student's home life; I know that if it's rough, I'm in danger of being TOO merciful, which isn't what they need. When I'd rather give them a big hug and a bazillion extra chances, I have to remind myself that I'm actually doing something GOOD for them when I set and maintain expectations.

OKP said...

I commend you for sticking to your guns, and I empathize with you in the heartbreak and struggle. Rachel is right -- they NEED it. You are showing him kindness, even though it doesn't feel like it right now. I hope you get a chance to talk it over or talk it out (even several times) with your student.

teachin' said...

I'm glad you guys are with me on this. It's hard, right? But it's important. And it's nice to have the backup!

"I'm a dreamer but I ain't the only one Got problems but we love to have fun" -K'naan, "Dreamer"

I teach eighth grade Language Arts at an urban school. My kids kick ass and will change the world. I want everyone to know.
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