Summer school has ended, which means posting will be quite light until the school year begins ~Aug. 25 (school doesn't start until the 2nd, but training will begin prior to that).

Here are some observations that came out of summer school:

Students do not like to be called on their behavior. Yes, this should seem obvious, but it's a little more counterintuitive than that. While students might pretend that they don't know that they're doing anything wrong (e.g. a student is talking with his/her friend during work time, but they're also done with their work), they know that they're supposed to be meeting my expectations, and they are failing to do so. In all honesty, I think it's embarrassing for them to fail to meet expectations. The rub, though, is this: I need to find a way to keep expectations so high that students, even when falling short, will still act appropriately.

All students can learn. This is one of those buzzworthy catchphrases that gets used by the most progressive of progressive educators. There are problem students, students with behavioral disabilities, and students with learning disabilities. There are students who know better, students who know nothing, students who go to bed hungry and wake up starving. The myriad students have myriad problems, and life keeps blundering forward without them. Except. Except that teachers can slow life down, can push them into the crowd. Perhaps we cannot teach them how to run, but at least we can teach them how to fall forward and let the momentum of the crowd push them along until they can get their own footing.

I may have spoken of this student before, but one of my precious little petunias made so much progress by the end of the summer that I couldn't help but be a little teary-eyed when I saw her test scores. This is a student who had no desire, no will, no visible ability. But we worked with her, pushed her, kept her moving when she wanted to stop, and by the end of the summer she had gone from understanding naught to getting a 96% on her test. It took a lot of work, a lot of frustration, a lot of elbow grease. I would finish working with her and just sit in my chair with my eyes staring at the ceiling because I was exhausted from explaining. But she did the progressives proud, even though she was LD and ADD and whatever other acronyms they wanted to append to her name.

I'm going to get pissed off, but I need to keep my temper. I'm usually on a pretty even keel. I don't like to get mad, and I truly enjoy working with students. But students know how to push buttons, and that's something I need to keep in my cortex. Even when I worked in Korea I had this problem, and those students were positively angels compared to what I've dealt with here. Students will eventually insult me, my family, my future children, my car, my clothing, my way of walking, my way of talking, my sense of humor, and pretty much everything else there is about me. I have to maintain a sense of balance in all of this, though, and realize that what they say doesn't matter. Tough to do, indubitably, but possible.

More observations later this week...