It angers me when I feel like I have to ‘give up’ on a student because my colleagues and I cannot find what brings them back to learning, what brings them back to appropriately participating with their peers, what makes them care about something or someone. I prefer the frustrating failed attempts at finding what makes that student connect with something or anyone, but only if we can figure out what that something or who that person is at a later date; I hate that feeling of making repeated attempts only to find nothing: no hint of progress, no sign of interest, nothing.

But that’s the kind of frustration I’m going through right now, along with my colleagues. Trying to figure out what kind of discipline works with this child (while being told that ‘positive’ discipline works, which is pretty applicable to most people), trying to find functional strategies by asking for help of people who are better equipped to handle these students (but being told that there’s nothing they can tell me until the family takes the first step to do something), and trying to be patient when all this student does is harm those around him (by ignoring and overstepping boundaries, through manipulation) has made me exhausted.

It makes me not look forward to that particular class, and it infuriates me because that one student consumes so much energy that I barely know the other children he’s spending his time disrupting, distracting, and harassing. He makes me so angry because I should know more about the other students, but I’m trapped with so few available options: stand over him and redirect him to complete things or kick him out repeatedly to benefit the others.

There are no good options right now. It’s not for lack of trying, but it’s for lack of options until someone else at another step does something. It’s not for lack of desire to find solutions, but it’s for a lack of consistent structure in the institution we’re working with. It’s not for a lack of wanting to keep the others safe, but it’s for a desire to improve profits. There are so many things working against allowing this child to function in the classroom, to create appropriate relationships with his peers, to even care about those around him.

I know all teachers have that moment where they feel like they can’t do their primary job: connect with students. This is one of mine; this is the most overt and obvious example of my inability to connect with a student.

But it’s not because I haven’t tried, it’s not because I don’t care. It’s because I’m lacking the support I need from so many angles, just as my colleagues are. I don’t want for us to “find ways to make him less disruptive;” I want to figure out how to help him care about something. Mostly, I want to find ways to make him care about other people.

Except I’m not sure how.

In my many years as an educator, I’ve come to recognise that we have some really archaic practices that we need to throw away because they help no one; there are a lot of practices that really make people disengage, and this is especially true with regards to professional development (PD).
So, as a fellow educator and as a person who has spent a lot of time collaborating and working with various friends on a number of professional projects online, I’d like to offer you a suggestion: Stop making people do group work in an environment where they are not […] Continue Reading…

I know there are so many parts to what I have to say about a book I didn’t even like, but I have a lot of thoughts because I’m sort of being forced to continue thinking about this book. It’s my partner’s favourite series, and we’re often going back and forth about it. It’s more of a joke for us, but it keeps a lot of these ideas fresh in my head.

So I just need to say this: I can’t stand the Dothraki in this book.

It’s not because I can’t stand the culture or the few Dothraki characters but […] Continue Reading…

There are two tropes I’m generally bothered by, which both seem to sort of fit with the character that I found the most boring in A Game of Thrones. Thanks to the title of this post, it’s pretty obvious that that character is Lord Eddard ‘Ned’ Stark, and it’s pretty clear that the two tropes I’ll be discussing are the Punching Bag and the Clueless Detective.

The Punching Bag is a character that basically never gets a break from anything; they seem to always take the brunt of whatever is happening, rarely (if ever) having something good or helpful happen to them. […] Continue Reading…

This book frustrated me for so many reasons. Some of that involved the blasé way in which rape was tossed in as a narrative element, the unnecessary use of incest-as-a-plot-device, the in-need-of-an-editor writing style that is overly clunky, the racism present in the handling of the Dothraki people… A lot of it really bothered me, and it’s all something that I’ll end up writing about at some point prior to reading the next sets of books (before my partner manages to relocate them to my home).

Anyway, still somewhat related to the infuriating writing techniques (and style) is the fact […] Continue Reading…

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