Talk to Me

Posted on: 14 December, 06

Sometimes it is hard to be the teacher. Today, I had to watch two children make some really bad choices that resulted in really bad consequences. I gave them every opportunity to make a different choice. They are good children who just couldn’t (or wouldn’t) think it through. My only hope is that they will learn from these experiences and make better choices next time.

On a positive note, I had a lovely conversation with a student who has a history of making less than wonderful choices. I am stubborn, especially when it comes to holding children accountable for their actions. I don’t “look the other way” or “let it go this time.” That means there are students who I reprimand on a regular basis, like every time I see them. I assumed these children had my photo on a dart board at home. Today, I was asked to help one of these children finish some incomplete work that he refused to do earlier. He said, “I’ll do it for you because I like you.” Shocked, I said, “But I am always fussing at you and making you work.” He replied, “Yeah, but you explain things to me. You tell me why I shouldn’t do things. You talk to me.” He finished his assignments and taught me a lesson at the same time. Children want the adults to be in charge and keep them in line. Children also want you to talk to them. They just want our time and attention.

I do not have some magical spell to tame these children. I do not even begin to think I have skills that their regular classroom teachers don’t. The regular classroom teacher has a million more responsibilities and tasks to complete during the day. The regular classroom teacher has 20 to 30 students who need attention. As a tutor and a sub, I do not have the same responsibilities. Administrative tasks are not vying for my attention. I can walk into a room and focus solely on the students. Often I have the luxury of working with only a few students at a time. Being allowed into the lives of these children is a privilege because a teacher’s words can echo in a child’s mind for the rest of his life.


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