Students being held back..how do I not feel like it's my fault?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by LMichele, Jun 21, 2012.

  1. LMichele

    LMichele Cohort

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    Jun 21, 2012

    I've been doing remedial reading with 3 grades of students. I see each small group 2-3 times a week. I've been working with them only for a few months.

    A handful (less than 4) of my students are in danger of being held back if they don't pass summer school. One is definitely being left back. I don't give grades since it was a remedial program, and this was based on all of their other classes.

    I'm very surprised. In my class, a few of these kids are my strongest. I guess that's strong evidence as to how well kids respond in small groups.

    As a new teacher, how do I not take this so personally? I feel like this is MY fault and that I didn't do a good enough job helping these kids. My heart breaks for them.
     
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  3. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Jun 21, 2012

    If you did all you could and students were making progress in your class, then there is no reason to feel down. You cannot follow them into each of their classrooms and ensure that they are doing their work and doing it correctly. Eventually they have to learn to learn on their own and if it takes them a few years to realize that, then there is nothing you can do about it.

    You are their teacher, not their mother. Eventually the student has to pick up the baton on their own and take control of their own learning, especially if these kids are making progress in your class as you say.
     
  4. iteachbx

    iteachbx Enthusiast

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    Jun 21, 2012

    I wouldn't take it personally at all. I have a student in my class I desperately want to be held back. I felt like I did every single thing I could for this kid and because there wasn't enough support at home and because he has so many other issues it just didn't make a difference. It's not his fault, it's not my fault, this just wasn't the right setting for him and he needs more help than my co-teacher and I could provide. If you know you did everything that was required of you to the best of your ability then it's not your fault.
     
  5. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Jun 21, 2012

    What grade were these students?

    Keep in mind how many years they have been behind in reading. You cannot catch most children up in only a few months. Plus, I bet some of their failure was due to not completing assignments.
     
  6. callmebob

    callmebob Enthusiast

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    Jun 21, 2012

    Not your fault at all. Those students need some responsibility put on themselves.
     
  7. Tyler B.

    Tyler B. Groupie

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    Jun 21, 2012

    You should feel bad when your students struggle and experience joy when they find success. It's a perk that goes along with teaching to experience these vibrant emotions. However, you need to take Periguin5's comments to heart as well. You are not their mother. At some point, you must distance yourself from your students.




    Favorite blog:
    http://ed-is-life.blogspot.com/
     
  8. Irishdave

    Irishdave Enthusiast

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    Jun 22, 2012

    :agreed:

    Thinking of it as your fault? What the heck, what doesn't kill you makes you stronger. YES it was. (Feel better now you have it off MY chest? LOL).
    If you look on it as a learning experience for you, go ahead let it be your fault (in your mind only).
    First pour yourself some cool beverage (alcoholic or non-alcoholic) and revisit your different techniques, see which ones worked and which ones need some tweaking.
    Then pour yourself another cool beverage (alcoholic or non-alcoholic). Look at the student how much time did the student put into failing and/or how much time did the student put into NOT failing? How much time did the parent(s) put in?
    When a student fails it is a dirty job but someone has to do it!
    Now pour yourself a third cool beverage (alcoholic or non-alcoholic).
    Start your vacation.
     
  9. MrsSachs

    MrsSachs Rookie

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    Jun 22, 2012

    Sounds to me like you are giving them 100% and getting good results from many of them, and above all you care. You sound like a true educator, don't let a few children's failures color you image of yourself negatively. Just keep giving these kids your all and the rest is in their court.
     
  10. callmebob

    callmebob Enthusiast

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    Jun 22, 2012

    I'm a real fan of the beverage pouring ideas there dave, especially the alcoholic form. On vacation, it is 5:00 all day long.
     
  11. CFClassroom

    CFClassroom Connoisseur

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    Jun 22, 2012

    You can't take it personally. There were others before you and developmental levels and cognitive abilities come into play. Do your best and celebrate your successes! :)
     
  12. Jayneorama

    Jayneorama Rookie

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    Jun 22, 2012

    There is a difference between having some empathetic emotions toward the plight of a student, and feeling as though it's your fault the student is being held back. Ask yourself honestly which one it is you are feeling? If it is truly feeling as though it's your fault, I love what Irish Dave has to say.
     
  13. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Jun 22, 2012

    Keep in mind some struggling students ARE working VERY HARD to overcome their challenges. The OP only worked with these students for a few months...it takes more time than that to even start to close up a learning gap under the bet of conditions.
    I can't remember the last time we retained a student in my K-4 building...sure we have our share of strugglers and students with learning disabilities, but we generally don't retain.
     
  14. ChristyF

    ChristyF Moderator

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    Jun 22, 2012

    Fifteen years in, I still feel that way if a student fails. Honestly, when I reach the point that I don't, I hope I know it's time to leave teaching. None of us are perfect, and there are always things we can/could do differently. All you can do at this point is reflect on the year and tweak anything you think needs a little tweaking. It's a learning experience for you both. I'll also say that I've never had a student that I feel suffered because they repeated a grade. Not all benefitted as much as others, but none suffered.
    So, don't take it to heart, but do take it as a chance to make your amazing classroom even better.
    :hugs:
     
  15. LMichele

    LMichele Cohort

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    Jun 22, 2012

    Thank you everyone. I spoke with another teacher about it today, and I do realize that these students are in 6-7 other classes throughout the day. I only see them a few periods a week for the past few months. Prior to this, there wasn't any reading program available to them. I was never expected by admin to work miracles & get them up to grade level, just give them extra support.

    I spoke with one of the admins about it today, and how I was surprised to see some of my strongest students doing so poorly. A lot of it is the effort they put in, which I can definitely see. I requested that I continue to work with these students next year. (they are MS and I moving down to younger grades)
     
  16. callmebob

    callmebob Enthusiast

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    Jun 22, 2012

    That is good to hear that none have been retained, I am not a fan of retention.
     

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