The constant struggle for me as a teacher is to figure out what will work with a student who is disruptive to the classroom. As I work to figure out what the root cause is, I also have to keep the classroom working. To push, or to pull back? To cajole, encourage, distract, reprimand? To lower expectations, to raise them? With some students I’ve tried every trick in the book. Each day, I wonder, did I push too hard, not hard enough, has it gone on too long, or will tomorrow be the day we crack this one? It’s gut-wrenching for me when I finally have to say to a student, comply with these things, or you can’t stay.
I always tell them, “Because I believe in you, I have high expectations. If I didn’t care, I wouldn’t push you. Expect more from yourself!”
Today, a student asked to be let back in. It felt like a major victory. Maybe it was only for today, but in this job, sometimes we have to measure success in millimetres.
As my colleague pointed out today, “If we don’t have high expectations for them, why would they have any for themselves?”
Here is a video I watch when I want to remind myself about the importance of idealism and very high expectations. Incidentally, Victor Frankl is a concentration camp survivor.