Sunday 2 June 2013

Connecting Through In-School Suspension

The day started in the usual manner. Same old exciting routine. Students arriving at 7:30 am and equipment out and about. In walks the VP and informs me that a student will be joining me today for an in-school suspension job shadow this fine day.

Interesting way to connect to a struggling student...take the time, make that, make the time to have them complete work in your classroom.  Through the completion of tasks "Hank" worked well and expressed the personal struggle to make good choices, avoid "following", the lack of rules at home and the need for the school to help him stay "good".

Conversation led to me understanding that I am the closest thing he has to rules and imposed guidance. Hank expressed he has no rules until he comes to school.  "I don't get lectures at home." For this boy we have become much more than teachers in the realm of the classroom.

 I tried to make the day "work" as it was an in-school suspension,  not a holiday or fun connection.  Hank was given jobs to complete and I would give a behaviour/focus topic in discussion and then leave him to the task at hand.

He surprisingly enjoyed the menial tasks and completed them to a standard of high quality. I made him complete a personal workout after discussing active, healthy lifestyles. He did this weight room workout willingly and with a strong personal effort.  We discussed the importance of school completion and in this setting it became clear that he values education, values stability, values respect and values positive social interactions.

The truth of the matter is that he can not create this on his own; he lacks the home support and personal strength of conviction to steer his own ship clear of the hazards of life. With school, he swims ...without school he tends to float for awhile then sink. How long to rock bottom?

It is obvious he may need our life jackets of support to stay above water.

Note: because of the personal and specific nature of this post the teacher's name is not provided, as it could potentially reveal the identity of the student.

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