Helping Teachers Make a Difference in the Lives of Their Students

Transferring Student

Hello again everybody,

I wanted to share about a meeting our team had today. We were called in to what we call a “transition” meeting for a student who was moving from one track to another. According to the father, his son was “beat down” by the school system. The son no longer enjoyed coming to school, and was not feeling happy or successful, so the father thought that a change of track might help. At our school, we have 4 tracks. Each track has two sets of teachers – one for 7th and one for 8th. This father thought that moving his son to a new set of friends and a new set of teachers might be helpful. The student also has been diagnosed with ADHD, and the father blamed this condition for his son’s discipline problems on the other track. We spent a good 15 minutes just listening to the father “warning” us about his son’s behavior, and asking us to be patient with him.

Finally, I was asked by the resource teacher to explain to the father my classroom procedure and expectations. I was a little unprepared for that question. I began trying to give a description of my class rules and behavior guidelines, when I stopped and told the father, “We’ve been doing this (teaching middle school) for a long time. We’ve seen it all. Your son is going to be fine.” The other teachers quickly chimed in their agreement. The behavior the father was describing is nothing new to me or my team. We’ve seen so much worse.

The father was seriously worried for his son, and wanted us to tell him that he was going to be OK. I saw this in the way he was almost pleading with us to be patient with his son.

The last think I told the father as we were leaving the room was, “Your son is going to be fine. In fact, this is going to be his best year ever.”

The other teachers called it the Rangel Guarantee.

And I meant it. I’m proud that my team concentrates on the student first, and then on the other labels like ADHD.

I’ll let you know how the change in track goes for this student.

Today’s Tip For New Teachers: Be the Light. You are going to find yourself in many meetings where everyone will be talking about how bad a student is doing or how poorly the school system works or how ineffective the administration is. Don’t fall into the darkness of the cynical (cool term). Be the positive voice in the crowd. They may call you naive or unaware, but who cares? I’ve seen too many young teachers lose their love of teaching, because they hang around the complaining teacher or the pessimistic teacher. New teachers bring that Save-The-World attitude to the school. I like hanging around with them, because it’s contagious, and sometimes I need to be reminded of why I became a teacher. Be the light!

That’s all for now,

Here’s to lots of Success in the Classroom!

Sam

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