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Friday, June 9, 2017

Celebrate the Small Things: good-bye and good riddance

I'm going off a week early here, but that's because a secondary departure occurred which also pleased me. The primary departure will occur when my my current least favourite student, and arguably my least favourite student of all time, leaves.

I've had a real struggle with him over the six months he has been with me. The first day I met him, he explained that his grammar and spelling were not good, so I told him that we could fix that. He said 'No, we can't.' I knew, therefore, from the get go that he was going to be difficult, if not impossible, to teach. How do you teach unteachable people? How do you open closed minds? I have no idea.

Rather than bore you with the details, I'll save my X (student's name) stories for other occasions. Suffice to say, he has caused me angst and made my job difficult. A mostly negative influence on the class, a bigot and a self confessed misanthrope, he will not be missed. 

Secondary departure occurred when another student, who also possesses a poor attitude and is lazy, decided to transfer to another college to do another course. I desperately wanted to advise him to lose the attitude or he would bomb out of his next course as he did my course. However, as he only showed up for three hours this week (out of 20 required) to do his catch up assessments and exit test, I thought better of it.

My problem is that I care more about the education of my students than most of them do. I love my job and I am thankful for it. I am also thankful for my students-past, present and future, both good and bad. I am thankful that I care, and that after 11 years, I still care, and by the grace of God I have not grown weary in doing my best.

The challenge for me remains though; to love the unlovable. How do you deal with closed-minded and negative people, especially those with whom you spend a fair bit of time?

8 comments:

  1. "How do you deal with closed-minded and negative people, especially those with whom you spend a fair bit of time?"

    Now that is the question of the century. I have one relative like that, actually I have two but spend the most time with the one, and I have learned to smile and nod - a LOT. I rarely comment and will try to deflect the conversation.

    In your position, that probably wouldn't work. Sigh....

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    1. I guess we all have people with whom we have to smile and nod a lot. Mostly with my troublesome student, the smile works as far as allowing me to not show I'm annoyed, and signals to the rest of the class that everything is okay as well.

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    2. I sympathise with your attempts to deal with a dispiriting situation. It's difficult to comment without knowing the details - I'm wondering if perhaps the first student to whom you refer has undiagnosed dyslexia.

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  2. Yay, you're a teacher who cares! (Sorry, I have kids in school, so hearing this is always nice since not all teachers seem to). All one can do is try to reach people, but a closed door that refuses to budge will remain closed. Here's hoping that something will turn them around at one point.

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    1. I guess some teachers get burned out by having to have enough enthusiasm for everyone, and by dealing with problem students of any age. I can understand why some simply go through the motions. Maybe it's just too tiring to fight all the time. If I had a class full of X, I'd probably quit or lose my mind, or turn into the kind of teacher I don't want to be. Only teachers know what a tough, but rewarding gig teaching is.

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  3. Dealing with difficult people who don't want to be there is tough. Most important thing is not to let that one person ruin the experience for everyone else who does want to be there.

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  4. True. The problem really dynamic positive energy is infectious, but so is gloom. It's the old 'one rotten apple' thing. It's not as bad as I've made out - I'm prone to slight hyperbole. I am a writer after all. I think I've dealt with him well on most occasions, and I have another student who is the polar opposite of X and she neutralizes him to some extent.

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