Thursday, April 7, 2016

The honeymoon is over!

I just noticed an interesting thing today. My new students just about always have the same time table. Apparently it's about 3-5 sessions, usually smack on 4 sessions. The time table usually looks something like this:

Session 1: Parents explain all of the negative things about their child, they give me an impression of the child that is often exact opposite of the student that sits in front of me. The student sitting across from me is typically excited to get to know me and show off all the things they can do.
Session 2: Parents ask how the trouble child is doing, to which I emphatically reply, "Excellent! He's ready to learn. She's cooperative."
Session 3: Parents bring homework to show how badly the student is doing, and express their concern over some sort of issue. The student I work with that day could be one of 2. 1)She's eager to learn, or show off what she's learned, showing me what they are working on in class, or expressing some problem she's overcome. . . 2) She is downright moody, complains of being bored, not wanting to tutor anymore, and/or expresses her concern over the "easy" work we're doing.
Session 4: This one's a doozy, typically, it's either #2 from session 3, or even worse. I've had students completely shut down, put their heads on the table and check out of our session. I've had the other extreme where it seemed the child would literally bounce off the wall. And then I've had those, these are really rare, who actually get nasty, just plain and simple, bad attitude.

When the honeymoon ends, I have mixed feelings. Even though I know it's coming, I'm never prepared. These kids are so good at fooling me for those first few beautiful sessions. I'm caught off guard. Then I start to wonder, is it me? Did I change something? Did I get to comfortable? What did I miss? With older students, sometimes I have to fight back a little resentment. I think, How dare he! I thought this kid really wanted to learn. I wonder if he's pulling these same tricks with his teachers at school, or with his basketball coach.

The good news in all of this, by session 6 or 7, we've found a middle ground. I'm not sure what keeps me going back to these kids, but something does. And I'm always happy I did. The end of the honeymoon almost always causes me to grow, as a human with patience for other humans, as an educator working with troubled students, and as a parent as I reflect on my own children. So, even though the end of the honeymoon is troubling and stressful, it still serves a purpose.

I'm really sorry if you came here looking for ways to avoid this conundrum. I truly don't believe they exist. But at least you know you are not alone! I'd really like to know if classroom teacher experience a similar thing. If you're a classroom teacher and notice a honeymoon period with your students, would you share about it in the comments section below?

No comments:

Post a Comment

Most Popular Posts Lately