Student who really does not care.

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by chasisaac, Aug 20, 2014.

  1. chasisaac

    chasisaac Comrade

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    Aug 20, 2014

    I have a student who does not care. Fail whatever. His goal is to collect govt money and get high. As a 9th grader he is literally biding his time till he turns 18.

    There is nothing to motivate him. We (various teachers) have tried basketball time, candy, even low level cash, and everything else we can think of to do.

    Let's be also be honest. I am not sure if I were in his situation at home and life I would be much better.

    Any suggestions or ideas would be helpful.
     
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  3. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Aug 20, 2014

    What do you know about his situation at home and / or his drug use? If you have documentation about either, you may be able to get some kind of legal intervention. If there is no documentation, a paper trail could be started.
     
  4. BumbleB

    BumbleB Habitué

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    Aug 20, 2014

    Have you reached out to his parents about your concerns? That would be the first step.

    When students have no motivation to do anything, that usually signals some sort of mental health issue. I would work with the guidance counselor and his parents to hook him up with some counseling. He would probably work better with a male therapist.

    Good luck!
     
  5. chasisaac

    chasisaac Comrade

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    Two great suggestions. Let me be blunt. The parents are of no help and are a major factor of the problem. There are Indian tribal issues involved for legality.

    The underlying problems for this student are huge. I have dealt with the most difficult students for most of my teaching life. I am no stranger to hard students. This one however, I am at the end.
     
  6. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

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    I was wondering if your student was Native American when I saw where you are from. I am certain that you have seen this before, so this must be an exceptional case. My heart goes out to you, since your hands are more or less tied as to what you can do. I would suggest drug testing, if allowed, just to cover yourself, but if the school won't, you are stuck with few options.
     
  7. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

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    I should go on to say that this is not limited to NA students - I work with students who think welfare and doing drugs are a realistic goal in life, and I am far from SD! I do not want anyone to think I am stereotyping - my worst "offender" is white from an affluent family, but getting high is all he can think about, and he is willing to give up on education and a future to follow that one "goal.":unsure:
     
  8. BumbleB

    BumbleB Habitué

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    Same. Over three quarters of my students are economically disadvantaged, and the only college graduates they see are their teachers at school. For many, those are the only high school graduates, too.

    You're not alone, chasisaac. I know that doesn't solve your problems with this student, but sometimes it's comforting to know that others deal with the same issues.
     
  9. chasisaac

    chasisaac Comrade

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    Yes the student is NA. This is one student that is not working at all. There is nothing to take from or give to him that he wants.

    As I have mentioned, I am no stranger to hard cases and I am the teacher who usually gets through. This one is the hardest student I have had. Much of this reaction is from teachers of prior years.
     
  10. Reality Check

    Reality Check Habitué

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    Multiply your problem by 33 and that's pretty much what I deal with in each class I teach.

    They know how to play the system....it's almost formulaic:
    1. Fail all their classes.......they know that they'll have "credit recovery" to make it up. ("Why do the work in the regular 83-minute/20 week class when I can do classes after school for roughly an hour a day for four weeks?")

    2. Fail and go to summer school...........they WANT to go to summer school, it's the only time they see their friends. 6 weeks, 9 a.m. to noon, makes up for the block periods over 90 days during the regular school year they fouled up...less work.

    3. "They can't fail us all, it'll look bad for the school." They're right and they know it........the principal passes them.

    4. If they're on welfare, they have to stay on the school rolls. So, they know they have to show up once every 10 school days to stay on the school rolls.

    There are several aspects to this sort of attitude approach, but you get the idea.................and you're not alone.


    :dunno:
     
  11. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Aug 20, 2014

    If it seems really that hopeless, all you can do for now is ensure that if he doesn't want to learn, at least he's not disrupting others or stopping them to learn. In time he might come around, if you build a relationship with him, he might be willing to do some of the work, but like I said, for now, it is what it is.

    We had a student who refused to come to school, he's so against education, that he'd rather be locked up, which did happen. He doesn't have any conflict with other students, it's not that he feels unsafe, he's just against school. Unfortunately for him, he's on probation, so he got locked up over this.
     
  12. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Agreed. Sometimes the best you can do is try to build a relationship and hope they'll come around. You can lead a horse to water and all that jazz.
     
  13. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

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    Aug 21, 2014

    Linguist is right on the money here. I work at an alternative school and this is the mindset of many of our students. At this point, there's probably nothing you can do to change his mind about school, but you can show him that you are a concerned, caring adult who wants what's best for him, and be there for him if and when he does choose to make a change. I would tell him that, too, as often as possible. In the meantime, if he's not disruptive, I would let him stay in your class and just hopefully absorb something.
     
  14. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Excellent suggestions! If he will not accept you as a teacher, he might let you in a teensy bit as a mentor and confidant.
     
  15. chasisaac

    chasisaac Comrade

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    Well the good news is I have complete sentence out of him today. I am quite happy. And the answer was correct.
     
  16. BumbleB

    BumbleB Habitué

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    Awesome! If you keep building on those little moments with him, hopefully he'll begin to warm up to you. :)
     
  17. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    We have a lot of students who at one point or another (1 day, 1 week, longer, recurring, etc) don't want to do their work. After observing them, talking with them and talking with my principal, I've found that these are some of the reasons they act like that:
    - material is too high for them, so they shut down
    - material is too intimidating to them so they won't try
    - material is too low for them, so they're bored
    - wondering where they will sleep that night
    - wondering if their sibling / parent, etc will survive the night in the hospital
    - just found out some bad news, such as became homeless, parents kicked them out of the house, parent is diagnosed with a terminal disease
    - slipped yesterday and got high and now worried about getting drug tested and locked up
    - has conflict with another student
    - having a bad day in general and is trying to keep it together
    - didn't have anywhere to sleep
    - haven't eaten for over a day

    These teenagers deal with stuff that we, adults couldn't quite handle, and they're struggling. Doing school work is the least of their concern. Sometimes it's something that gets their mind off of things, or it gives them a direction, something to focus on, but some days are just hard.

    One time a student, who was usually great, was so chatty she disrupted the class and wouldn't stop even after warnings. I finally asked her what was going on, and she bursted out: "ma'am, you didn't start your day by your dad yelling at you and knocking your breakfast out of your hand, spilling it all over you. I'm just trying to get in a better mood and get my mind off of it, that's why I'm talking"
    That day I've learned that they deal with their issues in unexpected ways.
     
  18. Errrrrrrrrr!

    Errrrrrrrrr! Rookie

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    Aug 21, 2014

    I have been that student. Keep chipping away and you will make an impact even if he doesn't show it.
     
  19. mrs.whatsit

    mrs.whatsit Rookie

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    Aug 22, 2014

    building relationships is a great way to motivate students. Have you heard of the culturally responsive classroom? its an excellent approach to apathetic or unengaged students.
     
  20. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    These cases are really tough. I do feel for the incredible difficulty of trying to motivate a student like this.

    This person has given up on himself and the system. The usual rewards and punishments won't touch him.

    The only thing that I have found to help such a student is to get that student to help younger students. Find an area that he has a little bit of talent and possibly some interest in doing. If he helps a 4th grader to learn to read, you might see a different person. Then maybe you can at least begin working on things he needs such as learning 9th grade work.
     

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