To "make a difference" in childrens' lives....

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Pi-R-Squared, Jan 27, 2020.

  1. Pi-R-Squared

    Pi-R-Squared Groupie

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    Jan 27, 2020

    I was told that I was "making a difference" in the students' lives... I replied back wondering if that were really true...

    She said, "Yes. The kids love you and you show up every day..."

    To that, I said, "Well, they might love me and I show up every day but how they're doing on my tests doesn't look like I'm making any difference....... they're not doing their homework.... it's like I'm talking to zombies sometimes...."

    So she said, "Don't be so hard on yourself.... Everyone loves you.... The fact that you show up every day means a whole lot to them..... The kids see you showing up every day.... You're definitely making a difference in their lives....."

    So, question for everyone here..... Do you think you're making a difference just by showing up every day?
     
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  3. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    I work with a lot of kids who have no stability in their lives outside of school. You aren’t going to teach kids academics as long as their basic needs are not met. You can try, but it is t going to be as successful as you wish.

    There is a lot to be said for being a stable part of a kid’s life.
     
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  4. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Every year I have this conversation with some students and families. For our students who experience instability at home, struggle with mental health, or struggle in other ways, academics are the least important thing in their lives. If I can offer a safe place to land I'm doing the best I can for them.
     
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  5. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

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    I bet you would have preferred the phrase "they really respect you and always give you their absolute best effort." Any teacher would understand the difference. I'm not sure that I think "being loved" is the same as "being respected" or "creative and challenging". It's a good way to show how words have meanings, right?
     
  6. Pi-R-Squared

    Pi-R-Squared Groupie

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    So I’ve graded tests this weekend. Average scores for the classes? 65, 40, 40... one class had a median of 34!! But apparently I’m “making a difference.” I don’t know how but maybe I should change up what I’m doing cuz it looks like they’re not learning anything. My high achievers continue to score well, my low ones do poorly, and the middle ones stay in the middle. It’s been like this for 7 years no matter where or what grade level.
     
  7. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

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    Are any of your teammates having better results? If so, I would be finding out what they are doing to achieve those results.
     
  8. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    I think it's a beginning. It makes a small difference. I agree with you in your hopes to make a difference elsewhere such as tests and homework.
     
  9. Pi-R-Squared

    Pi-R-Squared Groupie

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    For the most part, the ones doing really bad in math are also doing bad in other subjects. It's almost a pattern... English, science, history grades C or D and math C, D, or F. Occasionally, I'd see other subjects B or C and math would be D or F. The A/B students are A/B everywhere including math. And I've been getting the "I hate math" comments much more frequently this year. :(
     
  10. rpan

    rpan Cohort

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    We are in the business of education so grades matter, but our job is more than that. I agree with @imateacher that if students’ basic needs aren’t met, there’s nothing much we can do. We see them for 6 hours a day and that attention is shared by 20+ other students. That’s out of our control. But sometimes we make a difference and we don’t know it. By showing kids we care and giving them a safe environment in the classroom. We care about them despite them being naughty or unable to read or not passing any of the tests. We make sure they are physically safe for the however many hours they are with us. For many students, this makes all the difference, especially when their home life is just awful. Someone (the teacher) thinks they are worthy. Many students won’t ever admit it to us, but that doesn’t mean it’s not happening.
     
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  11. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    You are definitely making a difference in their life even if they are not doing well academically. You still have a lot of the year left, maybe you can use your relationship with them to help them understand that part of your caring means you want them to be learning so they will have more choices in their life if they choose to make them.

    I've told children who didn't want to learn certain subjects or couldn't understand why it is import about how their choice of jobs or further education in the future did not change my opinion of them as people, but learning this subject gives them more opportunity and more choices to choose from. Not all understood, but some did. I think part of making a difference in the lives of others is letting them know they are valued. By being there every day and the fact that they love you, you let these students with difficult lives know you value them.
     
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  12. Pi-R-Squared

    Pi-R-Squared Groupie

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    I handed back tests today and noticed a particular student had been slipping. Her test scores were always in the 90s until the two most recent scores of 64 and 57. I didn't talk to her about the 64 figuring it could be a one-off "having a bad day" type of event but the 57 was very surprising. So I asked her to stay after class to talk. I asked what was going on. Boys? She said no... Friends picking on you. She said no. How are things at home? She started tearing up, stating that home life isn't great, and that she mainly keeps to herself..... I told her that as long as she's in my classroom, that she can feel safe and no one will hurt her. Then I told her that I love all my students and she said she could tell... She also said she didn't want to talk to anyone else about stuff that goes on in her life.... She didn't have anyone to express her thoughts and feelings.... that made me sad.... Then I told her if anytime she needed someone to talk to, just drop by and say hello.
     
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  13. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    And that is making a difference. Kudos to you for creating a safe place for your students.
     
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  14. Pi-R-Squared

    Pi-R-Squared Groupie

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    I've been told many times, "I hate math but you're my favorite teacher." Every time I hear that, I reply, "You just say that because I'm not mean enough. I'm gonna toughen up for next year!" ;)
     
  15. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    Our school district is moving to Trauma Informed practices, which I 100% agree with. But, it also means that we get weekly reminders about the evidence of outcomes of childhood trauma, and how every child needs someone to be that buffer for them. Which I know and agree with.

    But.

    I teach over 170 students each day. I have as many as 37 in a class at a time. I am responsible for their instruction, and maintaining a safe classroom environment. I also sponsor one club and two competitions. It's a lot to do. The constant reminder that I'm the only hope some of these kids have is too much pressure. I've noticed my anxiety has gone up since we moved to these practices, and my job satisfaction has gone down. It has nothing to do with the practices themselves! It's the fact that they didn't reduce class sizes, course load, or paperwork responsibilities to go with it.
     
  16. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Phenom

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    That's something that would be really helped by smaller class size. They just keep piling on things we have to do but not accommodating or assisting us in any way.
     
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  17. Tired Teacher

    Tired Teacher Habitué

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    You will never know for sure whose heart you made a dent in or what type of impact you may have on some lives. There are old teachers and people who impacted my life greatly, but I didn't always get a chance to tell them.
    I relocated a few times in life, and they did too.Most are probably dead now. I remember when I got my 1st computer and was able to search for people who had made a huge dent in my life. I found a few, but there were a lot of people I could never find to tell.
    So...showing up, being kind, and getting to really know and help the kids may be what they need.
    I think test scores are way over rated. I didn't always feel that way. I always felt like as a teacher my job was to help kids learn academics. If they loved me, great! If they didn't, they needed to practice and behave...lol
    Times have changed and kids have too. The things we think are important today, may not be so important by the time they grow up.
     

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