Every single day we face challenges as teachers. Whether it is a discipline problem or something as simple as what lesson is going to most affectively reach a class, we go home exhausted every day because we are doing our job well. For the past week I have had something plaguing my brain like a tick sucking blood from a dog. I know, a bit extreme right? Let me enlighten your brain as to why I am feeling this way. I start by asking you a question: What do teachers do with a student who is not meeting curricular requirements in school? Wait…wait, I know what you are going to say. Sit back, there is more. The student is a middle schooler who could potentially be starting drivers training within a year. They have been tested to receive special education services and did NOT qualify. They are a constant disruption to every classroom they enter. Said student is not at grade level with reading, writing, or math. The teachers are in contact with the parents on a weekly basis and everything is documented. There have been several teacher meeting about this individual to help make this student more successful in everyone’s classroom. So, what is a teacher to do?
When all avenues have been exhausted it is difficult for any teacher not to feel frustrated with the performance of the student. After all, we want to see our students be successful. I wonder if there are not only other teachers who feel the way I do, but are there other students who fit the same profile? Retention is always an option that is on the table, but by the time the student graduated he could be twenty-one years old. Because this individual does not qualify for any type of services, I find myself wondering what more can be done. What drives me bonkers the most is how he disrupts other around him. Besides a behavior plan, an academic plan can be put into place putting benchmarks before the student to reach, but with no motivation from the student, it proves worthless. I am not a teacher who is just going to let a student of this caliber slip through the cracks. Unfortunately, I have seen this before and the student continues to play catch-up for the rest of their school career.
Let’s face it, every year we encounter students who just don’t want to be at school. I don’t claim to be the world’s best teacher, but I work my tail off to make sure my students get the best education possible. I know I don’t reach every child I come in contact with, but I know if I reach a few, I can feel confident I am doing my job. Now, I worry about students that I have described. Our state is coming out with stringent evaluation tools for teachers. If there is proven growth in my students, my head is on the chopping block. I can’t help but think low achieving students, who have absolutely no motivation, will affect my evaluation because there isn’t any growth being seen.
I will continue to push forward and do what I can to help any struggling student in my class, but when there is a lack of motivation and intelligence, I need my colleagues, my administration, and my parents for support. I am open to any suggestions.