Toni's Class

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Jul 02 2011

Teacher is the Student

I once (rather arrogantly) told my husband “Some people follow rules; others make them.”

Let me tell you how those words taste…

I have a student who is incredibly bright.  She consistently participates in class, makes keen observations, and asks relevant, insightful questions.  She performs well on most of her assessments.  She is extremely likeable.  But she does not want to follow classroom rules.  She is not disruptive.  In fact, she is rather nonchalant about it.  She may answer a question without raising a hand.  She may ask a question without raising a hand.  She may not open her book and follow along while a classmate reads.  But she will always have the right answer when I call on her.

Essentially, this student makes her own rules.  And I believe she feels quite entitled to—she is doing well academically in the class, and she is not causing any disruptions.

While reflecting about this student, I had an Aha Moment: I do this all the time!  I so often disregard “rules” I find unnecessary or unjustified.  I surf the internet while I should be listening to a presentation,–after all, I can do both.  I sometimes speed a little on my way to work–after all, there is no one else on the road.  It is incredibly eye-opening (and convicting) to observe the behavior from the other side of the equation.  This is definitely a personality trait/behavior that I will seek to improve in myself.

In the meantime, my collab and I intend to find news ways to challenge and engage our student without compromising our classroom rules.  We also look for ways to give her more responsibility and leadership in the classroom.  In short, we will try to maximize her strengths and set her up to succeed.

Meanwhile, I am grateful to her for the opportunity to learn about myself through her behavior.

One Response

  1. G

    Your student is definitely a leader-in-the-rough. Polish her up, but don’t forget about the rest of the class. Hopefully, they’ll look at her and see how successful she’s being, and want to follow in her footsteps. THAT would be a great situation to be in!

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Thoughts and Experiences of a Recovering Attorney

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Middle School
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