Friday, March 13, 2015

That kid...

You know the one.  He has a tough time getting along with other kids and he definitely drives most of his teachers crazy.  He may have a few bad habits or attention deficit disorder.  He may seem to not care about a thing the written curriculum tells him to care about.  He may not seem to care about the lessons and activities that you are telling him to care about.  He may talk too much and wiggle too much and wander too much.  He may argue with you and everyone else.  Perhaps he always needs to be right and he see every interaction as a battle he wants to win.  You know this kid.

A lot of folks have probably already given up on him.  They only see those attributes that make him a misfit rather than the things that help him fit in.  The teachers before you have told him that he wiggles too much.  He has heard it 1000 times.  They also told him to focus on his work.  He has heard that 1000 times too.  His peers have called him weird about 1000 times too.  He has heard all of the ways he is a misfit too many times.

I guess he just refuses to make the changes that pretty much everyone is telling him to make.  I guess he doesn't want to change.  I guess he prefers to remain a misfit.  He probably likes hearing the same negative observations about him repeated 1000 times.  He wakes up every morning and thinks to himself, "I sure would like to experience an entire day of negativity and butting heads about my less-than-desirable characteristics."  Of course, this would be ludicrous.

So what do you do?  Is your mindset fixed?  How do you help him become successful?  Can you help him fit in?  Can you help him make some positive changes so that he is less of a misfit?

The changes won't happen overnight.  If so, they would have already happened.  In fact, your efforts may only be a small portion of his journey to fit in.  Your actions may not become evident for years to come.  The thing to remember is that your actions will eventually become evident, whether you are a positive influence on him or not.  Your actions with your student will help shape who he becomes.  If you give up on him, he will be influenced by you.  If you continue to call him a misfit and tell him he needs to focus, he will be influenced by you, but not in a good way.