- Boundary Markers: An Alternative to Classroom Management - March 10, 2016
- International Mother Language Day-February 21st - February 25, 2016
- "Dear Future Me..."A Great Reflection Assignment for Students - February 1, 2016
- Thank You In Advance: The Power of Expectation - January 15, 2016
- Under the Guise of Inclusion - November 20, 2015
- Therapy Dogs and Schools - October 15, 2015
- SUPERPOWER Schools - October 13, 2015
- When Life Happens While You Teach - September 22, 2015
- "I'm Her Favorite Student!" - August 31, 2015
- Good Writing vs. Great Writing: Leading the Way - April 27, 2015
Am I your worst nightmare? If you are a teacher, and I was your student, I certainly could fall into that category. Why? Would I do drugs or wreak havoc in your class? Would I shout out profanity? Disrupt studies as the class clown? No. When I was in school, I was the one that barely showed up. I was the one that sat in the back and slept if I could. I was the one that day-dreamed my life away wishing I were anywhere but there…in that seat, in your classroom. I did not care about anything that you were teaching; I was the apathetic student. I had no dreams, I had no goals and I simply wanted life to fade away and for people to leave me alone. I gave as little effort as I possibly could and I knew that if I tried hard enough to not care, people would give up on me and realize that the effort was moot. It was. It worked. They did. I was the apathetic student.
How did the student with no ambition actually become a part of the system she viewed as a prison and become a teacher? It is a long story, but ultimately I came to see that over the years I had built into my life a sort of mindset that I was incapable of learning, for I had some pretty hefty learning disabilities back before “learning disabilities” was even a term. I thought I was stupid…there I said it. As the years went on, and I had my own children and I realized that I actually had a love for learning and teaching. I taught myself how to learn and contrived the tools with which to work with within my disabilities. I was not stupid, I just learn differently.
When I decided that I wanted to become a teacher, and as I was nearing the end of my college career (then in my late thirties), I began to ask the professors, “What do you do with the student that doesn’t care?” It seemed that we had learned about how to deal with every other kind of student in those College of Education classes, but no one ever seemed to address this particular issue. It concerned me because I had been that student, and I knew that I would one day come upon in my career, many others that were like me. Do you know that not one professor could seem to answer my question? I actually seemed to ask the unanswerable question. So I persevered, became a teacher, and answered it for myself.
“What do you do with the apathetic student?” You never give up. It’s the only thing you can truly do. You hope and pray that whatever you are doing will someday come back for something...some benefit; some purpose. You teach and try and hang in there. You pay attention to them, even when they don’t want it. You reach the child where you can reach them, but most importantly, you never give up.
I was thirty-four when I decided to go to college for the first time in my life and I was forty-three when I graduated. I am now in my 7th year of teaching. Going through all that I went through only made me a better teacher. I seem to gravitate towards the unwanted. I encourage, I cry, I worry, but I don't give up. I have often said that if my teachers would have ever known that one day I would grow up to become a teacher, they would have died laughing…or maybe they wouldn't.
Do I remind you of any of your students? Have you ever just felt frustrated with the apathetic student in your classroom? Have you ever gotten to the point where you thought your only solution was to simply give up? I’m here to say, please don’t. It just may be that you are looking at a future teacher or CEO of a company….for underneath that exterior of apathy, just might be a real treasure of success.