Sunday, March 20, 2011

MAC Week 3 Reading - The Art of Possibility, Chapters 5-8

"A child comes to think of himself as the personality he gets recognition for...."
The Art of Possibility - Chapter 6, pg. 82

by Flickr user Michael Sarver
This statement highlights an observation that I've made over the past three years.  Between the freshman and sophomore year, many students mature and come into my English II classes as a slightly different person than who they were in previous years. Each year I go to the freshman and middle school teachers to find out what I should expect from certain students, but I always keep an open mind to allow the students to mature and be different than they were in previous years. Thankfully, many of them do mature, especially the guys.

Last week I was talking with one of these students, I'll call him Alan (not his name, but I can't tell this story with only pronouns). I have Alan in three of my classes this semester -- English II, Intro to Journalism and Public Speaking.  He's a great kid who does well in all three classes, and he's a smart aleck who likes to keep me on my toes for the three hours he's with me each day.  Last week he and some of the other students were talking about his behavior in the past, which included getting suspended for fighting a student and using brass knuckles in middle school. The freshman teacher had warned me that he could be lazy and combative, but she also told me that he had potential. He was shocked when I told him that I knew about his previous behavior pattern. He had no clue that I knew because I gave him the space to change and only acknowledged his current behavior.  He's been a model student this year, and many of his previous teachers are shocked to learn this.

With each chapter I read, I find that it is clearly applicable to teaching or that it highlights something I've observed in my short time as a teacher.  I think I'm going to read the book again at the end of the summer before school starts again because I want to apply these principles in my classes more.  I would also love to give a copy to everyone I know who works with students.

1 comment:

  1. Great story, thanks for sharing. It is important to know what came before but not let it shade our perception of the future or our students' potential. Thanks for reminding me of this.