With the first quarter of the school year already half over, I feel like I have a much better grasp of who my students are as individuals and, well, students. An incredible thing to come across in teaching is how every class - as in class of 08, 09, etc. - can have its own identity: 'studious,' 'hard-working,' 'talkative,' 'unmotivated,' etc. From year to year, it seems as though with each new class, there's a new identity.
One constant, however, is in every group there are plenty of students who are either incapable of or refuse to accept ownership. let alone the slightest role, in the learning process. While this is no doubt normal for many students and a part of growing up, it can create plenty of headaches for the other stakeholders in the situation - parents and teachers.
Although I (and all of the students' teachers here) have and will continue to do everything we can to help students succeed, there comes a point where you have to realize something very, very profound: "I can't care more than they can in order for them to succeed."
As soon as I realized that, I adopted a healthier approach to working with those students. I know miracles can't occur on a daily basis. Instead, I try and help students take ownership of their learning and understand the importance and long-term effects of their decisions and habits now.
We'll see where it goes with this group...it has been a very positive year so far; I look forward to more growth as the year goes on.