There are many types of students in this world:
The Conscientious Student: This student can be found sitting in the front rows of classrooms, feverishly taking notes, and raising his or her hand in curiousity.
The Lord… Give Me…Student: For one reason or another, this student can be found testing your patience as a teacher every single day. You may find yourself uttering the, “Lord, Give me… [insert Fruit of the Spirit here] with this student”.
The Silent Storm Student: This student speaks little in class, but his or her written work is a whirlwind of thought, depth, wisdom, and is always above grade level.
The Funny Student: This student always has a joke on hand, and has the ability to either make learning fun or distract every student in your class.
The Helpful Student: This student can be found organizing the classroom library, throwing gum wrappers in the trash, and doing it all with a smile. Helpful Student, you’re making the world a better place one gum wrapper at a time.
The Challenge Student: This is the student who marches into your classroom with folded arms (usually on the first day) and announces that they hate the subject, hate the books, and hate the color of the walls. Today, in this post I’m going to briefly discuss how to deal with this particular breed of student.
In the last year I’ve had a couple of experiences with this interesting species called the Challenge Student. The Challenge Student’s goal is to make you believe that you have no room to move as a teacher. They want you to believe that learning will not happen in your class–just because they hate the subject. However, the Challenge Student doesn’t realize that enthusiasm is contagious like a viral disease.
During my student teaching, I had a Challenge Student who marched up to me and informed me of her hate for Shakespeare. We were going to be reading Shakespeare for the next two months…Challenge accepted. As a result, every class, I made sure to specifically speak with her, and explain the plot twists in the play in the craziest and most interesting way possible.
Excitement is contagious. By the end of my student teaching placement, this girl had read ahead in the play. It wasn’t really my doing, she found the exciting parts of the play that were already there. She just needed a little help.
The lesson here is that we must refuse to give up on our Challenge Students. We may not reach every Challenge Student, but with a little persistence…we might find some of those students reading ahead in class.