The resources under the “Being and Becoming” section of our Sakai are truly my most favorite resources of all time. They’re enlightening, honest, real, helpful, and quite hilarious.
“The Kid I Didn’t Kill” by Ellie Herman had me in tears from laughing so hard. She talks about how every year there is always that one kid:
“Gio was that kid. That kid! Every year I had three or four of them, students who occupied about 3% of the actual population of any class but consumed about 50% of my energy. That kid! The one who made my whole body tense up, who could shut down an entire class for minutes at a time with his demands, accusations and outbursts, whose absence, I’m ashamed to say, would cause a wave of relief to wash over not only me but all of the other students in the class when we realized we were actually going to have a Gio-free day.”
But “that kid” exists in every school, boy or girl, young or old. They’re out there…The ones that make an “entire schoolful of people completely batshit crazy.” Ellie reminds us in her blog though that all of “those kids” have one thing in common: they’re smart. They know how to work people, and they know the material, but their attitude gets in the way of them succeeding.
No matter how many cold pricklies certain kids may give us, it important to remember that turnarounds can happen: a change in attitude, drive, and perception on life. It takes students (and people in general) determination, patience, strength, and courage to change. But in my opinion, it takes us, as teachers, even more determination, patience, strength, and courage to realize that our kids can (and will) grow. We need to remember that on the days we want to run their crummy little bodies over, these students have faced failure and rejection more times than they can count. They need an atmosphere that allows them to fail, but then to grow and learn from their mistakes. Our students allow us to fail daily, so why can’t we do the same for them?
Ellie makes a valid point that no, not every kid is going to have a turnaround moment in life, but those turnarounds are possible. We need to have the mindset that those turnarounds are possible and that we have the faith that our students are capable of doing so.