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    Out of my element
    By OM

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    Hi Lee,

    Please keep in mind that your kids have spent 12 to 17 years getting to the point you see them in today, You will not change any of them in a day or two, or a week or two, a month or two, etc. Believe me when I say that "YOU WILL MAKE A DIFFERENCE" in everyone of their lives.

    As background, I spent 40 years in the public schools as a teacher and administrator. It always amazed me when I tried to evaluate why some of our young people were like they were. I went through all of the old stuff of parents, lacking of social skills, etc. The conclusion I came to is that as an adult, I no longer have to go places where I am not wanted. These kids have been told for years, by actions not words, that they were not wanted nor welcomed in the school setting. (I can go into a lot of examples here but it won't help you very much at this time.) After putting in my 40 years, I was not satisfied with what I had seen and what was being done for the kids you are involved with.

    My wife and I opened a residential facility for only kids like the ones you are presently trying to deal with and who were involved with the welfare and juvinile systems. I learned the best way to change these kids was to spend my time on the positive things they did and I made sure I thanked them when they did. (An example might be a student who stayed on task for just 2 minutes. I went to the student and thanked him verbally. I only said positive things to them. I kept charts on such things as assignments and made deals with them when they reached a goal (5 assignments completed and corrected if necessary). Those 5 assignments might take 2 weeks to get done. They were not necessarily in the same class but when completed they earned something we had agreed upon. I found I could not use take aways as we so often do (Just for that you can't.......), but I had to keep my word.

    I guess what I am saying is: you won't change them overnight, they will turn on you when you think you are making progress, it will take time and try to deal only with the positive behaviors.

    (Oh, yes. Of the 32 kids in the home, over 60% made it back to the regular class and some even made the honor roll.)

    Good Luck and hang in there.

    OM



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