The Waiting Room

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Thursday, March 27, 2014

Remembering Why

Posted by Seeking Solace |

Today, I went to campus to meet with a student who reached out to me because she has been struggling with the project I assigned. We talked about the project and I assured her that she was going about it the right way. We also talked about her difficulties managing her classes (She's a freshman) and being an out of state student. At the end, she began to cry, because she was so grateful for the help and the reassurance.

It's days like this that make me happy to do what I do. I sometimes forget about the good that I do in changing lives and helping students learn and grow. I often forget my 20-60-20 Rule:

20% of students are the "Dream Students". These are the students that do more than what is asked of them. They love to learn and will soak up everything you give them. If you could clone them, you would. You don't want to forget about the Dream Student because they can easily slip. Encouragement and praise are their currency. You have to continue to nurture their desire to learn.

The other 20% are the "Knuckle-Heads". These are the students that no amount of motivation will ever get them to do what needs to be done. Despite all your best efforts, you just can't reach them. It may be that there are issues that are beyond what you can do. The only thing you can do is to let them go. Yes, that sounds harsh. But, you cannot force someone to learn. You can, however, be there to support them when they are ready to assume that role as learner.

The remaining 60% can end up on either end of the continuum. If left to their own devices, they will become one of the Knuckle-Heads. They have to work harder, but with structure, a little tough love and a great deal of encouragement, they will join the Dream Students. It's those students that we, myself included,  have to work with the most to inspire them and give them the tools they need to be successful.

Too often, I get wrapped up in the Knuckle-Heads. Maybe it's because I hate seeing someone take education for granted. I often tell the students the same thing that my mother would tell me, "Education is something that no one can ever take from you. The knowledge you gain is yours. Use it to build yourself up and share that knowledge with the world.".  So often, I see so many students who don't realize how powerful knowledge and education is. It can take you places that you could only image. It can open doors that are often closed.  So, when I have Knuckle-Heads like my two entitled-mentality students, I get angry.

But, then I see the young lady that I met today. She is in that 60% group. Learning does not come easy for her, but she tries very hard and wants so badly to do well. She initiated the meeting with me, because she is on the boarder of passing and failing my class. With some hard work, she will most likely pass. She just needed that extra encouragement from me to show her hat she knows more than she gives herself credit. If she puts her mind to it, she will make it.

That's why I do what I do. I really need to remember today, and all those other students like the young lady I worked with today when the Knuckle-Heads of the world get me down. There is a reason why I do what I do.


chicago foodie girl said...

It's nice to have those little reminders, as it's so easy to get caught up in all of the knucklehead drama!