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

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2013
    Messages:
    1,377
    Likes Received:
    278

    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?
     
  2.  
  3. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2005
    Messages:
    5,639
    Likes Received:
    1,157

    Jan 27, 2020

    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.
     
    webmistress, mrsf70, rpan and 4 others like this.
  4. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2005
    Messages:
    13,930
    Likes Received:
    1,752

    Jan 27, 2020

    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.
     
    mrsf70 and Tired Teacher like this.
  5. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2014
    Messages:
    10,520
    Likes Received:
    2,593

    Jan 27, 2020

    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

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2013
    Messages:
    1,377
    Likes Received:
    278

    Feb 2, 2020

    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

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2014
    Messages:
    10,520
    Likes Received:
    2,593

    Feb 2, 2020

    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

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2010
    Messages:
    3,043
    Likes Received:
    513

    Feb 2, 2020

    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

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2013
    Messages:
    1,377
    Likes Received:
    278

    Feb 2, 2020

    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

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2017
    Messages:
    665
    Likes Received:
    494

    Feb 3, 2020

    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.
     
    Tired Teacher, mrsf70 and nstructor like this.
  11. a2z

    a2z Maven

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2010
    Messages:
    5,884
    Likes Received:
    1,803

    Feb 3, 2020

    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.
     
    Tired Teacher and nstructor like this.
  12. Pi-R-Squared

    Pi-R-Squared Groupie

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2013
    Messages:
    1,377
    Likes Received:
    278

    Feb 3, 2020

    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.
     
    stephenpe, RainStorm and MrsC like this.
  13. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2005
    Messages:
    13,930
    Likes Received:
    1,752

    Feb 3, 2020

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

    Pi-R-Squared Groupie

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2013
    Messages:
    1,377
    Likes Received:
    278

    Feb 3, 2020

    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

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2009
    Messages:
    3,277
    Likes Received:
    466

    Feb 4, 2020

    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

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2008
    Messages:
    4,615
    Likes Received:
    1,205

    Feb 4, 2020

    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.
     
    nstructor likes this.
  17. Tired Teacher

    Tired Teacher Devotee

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2019
    Messages:
    1,016
    Likes Received:
    539

    Feb 7, 2020

    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.
     
    stephenpe likes this.
  18. Aces

    Aces Habitué

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2018
    Messages:
    904
    Likes Received:
    511

    Feb 25, 2020

    I found out that one of my students figured out what can of vehicle I drive and he looks for my truck in the parking lot when he gets here. Apparently, knowing my truck is in the parking lot, in the same spot everyday is a reassurance that it’s going to be a great day. So Iunno. Maybe?
     
    MrsC and a2z like this.
  19. RainStorm

    RainStorm Phenom

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2005
    Messages:
    4,135
    Likes Received:
    507

    Feb 25, 2020

    It is too much pressure for anyone. The expectations put on us by our districts, our administrators, our parents, and even society as a whole are just too much. Many teachers are already at the breaking point, and they just keep shoveling it on. They add and add and add to our responsibilities without ever taking anything away. There is only so much that is humanly possible. No one can humanly do what they are "requiring" us to try to do.

    But somehow, if we only care enough, try enough, give enough -- we can save every single child from the cruelties that exist in the world? And if we don't manage to do that, we have somehow failed as teachers, and are complicit in trauma our students suffer daily. That's too much to put on anyone. We are suppose to be teacher-martyrs -- giving everything "in the name of the children."

    But who is taking care of us, as we are overcome by the sheer immensity of our students' problems? Who is raising our children, as we are completely consumed by our school martyrdom? Who is caring for our families -- our aging parents, our growing teens -- while our families needs are completely ignored and overlooked?

    Who helps us deal with not being able to go to our child's first day of kindergarten because it is also our first day of the year with our classroom? Who helps us deal with missing our own children's parent/teacher conference night, because our class' conference night is at the same time? Who is tucking our little ones into bed while we are at the mandatory fundraiser at the basketball game at our school?

    Who is caring for our aging parents -- taking them to the doctors when they are no longer able to drive and no longer able to comprehend what the doctor is saying? Where are our support services when our aging parents pass away and we are overcome with grief and regret because we didn't have as much time to spend with them, and now they are gone forever?

    Who helps us when we can't afford to buy our teen that leather jacket he really wants because we spent what little money we had buying snacks and school supplies for children in our class who came to school hungry and without basic supplies? How do we explain to our oldest that yes, once again, she has to watch her siblings afterschool because we are busy tutoring students whose parents can't or won't help them with their studies, or when we are at yet another required afterschool professional development on our own time?

    Who is going to explain to our children that we can't take that vacation this year, because we didn't get a cost-of-living raise, or any other raise this year -- again. Who is going to calm-down our husband when we come home bruised, again, from a child who threw a chair at us in class, and who was returned to our classroom 20 minutes later with no consequence and an attitude the size of Texas? Who will console us as we call CPS again for a student who is being mistreated or abused by her parents? Who is going to sit with us when we are shaking too hard to drive home after a parent screamed, cursed, and threatened us afterschool for something that was not our fault and was completely out of our control?

    Where is our support system?

    ...the silence is deafening.
     
    Tired Teacher and Backroads like this.
  20. ms.irene

    ms.irene Connoisseur

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2010
    Messages:
    1,565
    Likes Received:
    743

    Feb 26, 2020

    "Making a difference" doesn't necessarily mean "making them all great in your subject area." You never know what kids you are reaching, even if their grades don't reflect it. I personally try to pick just one kid per day that I will make a point of just saying hi to, or asking how their day is going. You never know what a kid might be going through, and how much just noticing them might matter.
     
    a2z and readingrules12 like this.
  21. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2007
    Messages:
    6,822
    Likes Received:
    187

    Feb 26, 2020

    I think it's less about completing homework and grades and more about the human aspect, the relationships. So, yes, I think by being someone present in their lives who cares about them is impactful.
     
    Tired Teacher and a2z like this.

Share This Page

Members Online Now

  1. Ima Teacher,
  2. agdamity,
  3. futuremathsprof,
  4. catnfiddle
Total: 329 (members: 5, guests: 307, robots: 17)
test