A resolution of sorts

Every teacher has students who they have written off.

They've tried everything and it just isn't working. The student doesn't care and eventually neither do you. In many ways it's a self-defence mechanism; call the student unteachable and therefore he/she's failings no longer seem the teacher's responsibility.

I've been flicking through "Never Work Harder than Your Students" by Robyn Jackson. I came across a line where it mentioned that “every single student has strengths. The best teachers find them.”

Now in many ways, this is the kind of cheesy cliched line that irritates the hell out of me. I think what a lovely feel good sentiment for someone who doesn't actually work with challenging students. Slightly reluctantly, however, I'll admit that it's true.

I started thinking about my “unteachables”. There's one boy who is constantly rude and aggressive. Yet when we talk about context, he has such an interest in history. There's a girl who cannot stay in her seat. But put her in an argument and she always holds her own.

These students do need to make changes; if their behaviour continues, it will keep harming their progress. Teachers do, however, need to remember that there are strengths. Amid all the frustration, we need to do our best to use them.