- January 10, 2018 at 10:56 PM #42894
What are some ways to care well for older, academically-challenged students? How can you keep motivating them without pushing them too far and help them feel successful, even if they don’t make stellar grades? How do you deal with “I hate school” attitudes from these types of situations? Any input would be helpful.
- January 13, 2018 at 2:00 PM #42951
This is not an easy question.
My first thought is that these students have to know that we believe in them and are rooting for them, that we are on their side and not against them. They need us to point out their strengths and see potential in them, rather than constantly focusing on the difficult subject(s) at hand. We have to remember and help our students understand that just because they struggle in school, does not mean they are going to be a failure for life.
These students also need us to recognize and affirm them for their hard work. I think we sometimes fail to realize how hard the struggling student has to work, every. single. day. and how discouraging it must be to always be the “dumb” one or be out-shined by his peers.
When a student says (or has the attitude of) “I hate school,” what if we would respond privately with something like, “I know school is hard and I’m sorry it has to be that way. Thank you for working so hard, even when it is just plan tough. Keep persevering. I believe in you.”
- Would there be ways to reward small incremental steps of progress, rather than only rewarding the A?
- Does the student have a particular strength such as building things with his hands or story-telling? How could you give this student opportunity to shine in such a way that his peers would be impressed or naturally affirm him?
- January 13, 2018 at 9:41 PM #42959
I try to emphasize to all of my students—both the academically gifted and those who struggle—that reaching one’s learning potential is of vastly greater importance than the numbers and letters on one’s report card. The successful student is the one who learns as much as he can under the circumstances that he faces. Students who do their best in spite of academic challenges will be prepared to accomplish extraordinary things in the areas they *are* gifted in. These concepts are part of my standard beginning-of-the-school-year speech, and I try to repeat them often. This thread is a good reminder to me to do that again.
I also believe that students who “hate school” can be inspired to love learning in spite of themselves. A teacher’s enthusiasm for knowledge will rub off. Everyone is passionate about something, and it’s always stimulating to hear someone tell about his passion. We should be that passionate person when we teach Bible, math, science, etc.
At our school we give character awards at the end of each year. One is for students who demonstrate effort, diligence, and perseverance. This is one way to recognize those who work hard without necessarily getting “good” grades. Doing more to honor these students is something I’ve been thinking about lately, and something I want to grow in.
- January 15, 2018 at 7:03 PM #43000
Capitalizing on a student’s strengths and interests can help motivate a student and reduce the “I hate school” attitude. We just completed some career interest evaluations in high school this week and I was reminded again that I need to use the students’ interests and abilities to motivate them, build their academic success and peak their interest in learning.
- January 15, 2018 at 9:36 PM #43002
In reflecting on various students that I’ve met along the way in my teaching career there have been those older students who struggle well and there have been those whose attitude has been their biggest hurdle. But those with a negative attitude about school are often struggling in other areas of their personal lives–they have not yet turned over their lives to God’s directing. While we can encourage and provide support for them it may be only a Band-Aid for the spiritual issue. It may also be the encouragement and support they need to yield to God’s call.
Young people know if their teacher cares about them as a person or whether covering the material is more important to the teacher. As teachers we need to be realistic about our expectations for students. We don’t set the bar so high they can’t reach it but neither do we let them merely step over it because “it is too hard.” We had a student who had a brain-injury in his younger years. He did not do well with certain types of exercises and testing. The teachers modified his material in a way that he could be successful. Another student is dyslexic. Certain modifications have been made there as well. There are a few students that the teachers check in with (privately) frequently to make sure they are getting the material and are staying caught up.
I think it is good for students to realize that a vocational diploma can be just as valuable as the student who may be on the college track. The important thing is that each student is using the gifts and talents he has been created with. In a hospital, the janitor plays as an important role as the doctor. They are both vitally needed.
- January 18, 2018 at 4:13 PM #43055
“Young people know if their teacher cares about them as a person.”
This point is worth highlighting. Out students can tell if we care for them or not, and they will be much more inclined to follow the direction we give if they know it is motivated by love.
- January 17, 2018 at 11:39 AM #43023
The variety of suggestions, ideas, and testimonies in response to the initial question on this thread do quite well in touching on the variety of responses needed for the discouraged, academically-challenged older student. Two items I’d highlight are…
a. Identify with the hard learners, helping them recognize and acknowledge that although the type of learning required in school is both hard and necessary, there are many aspects of life after school in which the talents they have will shine.
b. Help them identify and acknowledge those aspects of school-type work that they do well in (discussion? science subjects? applications?) and capitalize on those however they can.
You must be logged in to reply to this topic.