Tuesday, March 16, 2010

At-Risk: The teacher trying to reach at-risk students

Tonight on #edchat we will probably be talking about how to reach at-risk students.  I'm looking forward to the chat because it is an issue near and dear to me.  Reaching at-risk individuals in any arena or context has driven every vocational choice I've ever made.  It's especially timely for me personally as I survey my class rosters and identify those five-percent-ers.  What I mean by that are those five percent of my students that I just have not been able to connect with or impact in a positve way.

I do a pretty good job forming relationships with my students, always have.  It's one of those things that has been integral in getting me hired at the schools where I've taught.  When I walk through the lunch room or down the hall, students from all grade levels shout out a hello, even those I've never taught or whose name I don't even know.  I'm not trying to paint myself as Mr. Popularity here.  I'm just saying I work really hard at building positive relationships because I think they are integral to the learning process.

We have approximately one-third of the school year left.  The tension in the relationships with my five-percent-ers is growing.  They are becoming more disengaged each day, and not just in my class.  They came into the school year as at-risk students and they will leave the same.  They have worked hard to maintain that status quo.  And it breaks my heart.  It wears me out emotionally.  It's the kind of thing that causes me to ponder my own effectiveness in the classroom.  Yeah, I know.  I made a tremendous impact on the other 95% and I shouldn't be dismayed.  But I can't forget those other five because I fear no one will care next year.

1 comment:

  1. I feel your pain. As a teacher who also believe that the process of building positive relationships makes teaching much more effective, that small minority of student who remain closed to me makes me feel like I have not done everything possible. I always keep hope that 5% will soon become 4.5% ...