Each summer, I like to read education books to gain that all important professional development (the real thing, not just a seminar to check off on a box).
If you have any students who qualify for free/reduced lunch, you need to read this book. It makes SO MUCH SENSE! My school has a high free/reduced lunch population. As I read, I saw my students represented in this book.
The main idea that I took from reading it, in terms of what I’m going to do differently in my class this year, is to affirm these students’ abilities. They need to be told often how wonderful and smart they are. I already did some of that, but this year, I plan to make a conscious effort. So much of their lives are uncertain, it’s hard for them to believe it.
After reading this book, I’m more convinced than ever that they need a different approach. They need to see me attempt things and fail, then continue on, because I’m confident in my abilities. They need to be reminded that they can succeed after failure because they have the strength and ability.
I often tell them stories about my running (mostly because running makes for good life metaphors). Last year, it came up that I never win the races I run. They were astounded (I don’t know why – I’ve told them frequently how slow I am!) I explained that I just run the races for the shirt and the food. That seemed to make some of them feel better. Apparently, they had this idea that I’m some sort of star athlete. I think the more I can share with them the problems I’ve encountered and the ways I’ve tried to overcome them, the better.
Connecting with these students is SO important, too. Middle class students will often learn in spite of the teachers. However, these students need to care about their teacher and believe that their teacher cares about them.
So, who’s with me? Check out the book, then come back to my blog and see how things go this year! I’m excited to work with my new students and, hopefully, make a difference!