A. Grace Martin

Author, Student Teacher, Optimist and Promoter of Self-Empowerment


PSII Monday March 23, 2015

Posted by agracemartin on April 25, 2015 at 11:15 AM

Today I tested the Science 14 and 10-4 students on their Chapter 6 content. One of my female students was very stubborn about writing tests on Mondays. I told her that my intention was to test them Friday, but there was no school on that day. She proceeded to make noise, sit sideways in her desk, and talk about how her hands smelled of celery. I attempted to manage her noise, but then noticed that a different student was sitting sideways. I decided not to tell that student to turn around because then I would have also have to attempt to get my more rebellious student to do the same. Instead I watched each student's gaze very carefully to make sure that they were not cheating. I have decided that next exam will need a spaced out seating plan.

The 9Bs got to do exploratory stations today. I chunked their 90-minute block into 5 minutes of reviewing their test, 5 minutes of reviewing the previous lesson, 35 minutes of notes, 30 minutes of exploratory stations, and 15 minutes of quiet seatwork.

I have an issue to address with one of the grade 9's. This student did not adjust well to the change of a new teacher in the classroom, proceeded to talk with her friends, did not pay attention, and consequently failed her test. I did not talk with her about her failing test mark today, because I wanted to give her time to process it. While she did not pay attention during the review, she did quiet down during the new material. On Wednesday when I see her next I will tell her that I want to keep her close to her friend, but that the chatter needs to stop. The ball is in her court and it is her decision to pay attention or not. I know that this student does not like me and I do not take that personally at all. I will continue to hold an unconditional positive regard for every student, even if they do not return the sentiment.

A common interview question for teachers is, “Is it important for students to like you?”

A common new-teacher response is, “not as important as it is for them to respect me.”

I think that most kids will not learn from someone who they do not like, but I think that it depends upon age and academic level. Small children and low academically achieving students refuse to learn from teachers who they do not like. However, highly academic students (in my opinion) will trust a knowledgeable teacher to get them through the course and their diploma/PAT exams. That teacher may be boring and they may not like them, but students respect high school teachers who can get them through their course.

I think that this grade 9 student is not learning due to a mixture of dislike, lack of interest, and lack of trust. The collaborative learning that I started with did not suit her learning style, so she lost faith in me as a teacher to get her through her exams. Similarly, she chose to not pay any attention to me because I am new and I think that she was uncomfortable with the change. Since she is still in the ninth grade, she does not have the self-awareness to take responsibility for her failure because it is far easier to blame me than to own up to her lack of work. As a responsible teacher, I will let yesterday be yesterday and I will focus on helping this student be successful today and in the future.

As an aside (and to finish off with some humour), I love all of my students unconditionally. I am not as sensitive as this cute puppy, but I do want students to trust me for their own benefit--not for mine.

Categories: PSII Reflection Journal/Log

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