“I’m seeing students everyday who are facing serious issues in their lives.”
Recently, I’ve been struck by the idea that each of our students are individuals. Of course, I’ve known this to some extent, but take a moment and think about it. Each and every student we come into contact with is an individual with separate lives, separate minds, separate thoughts, and a unique set of problems. Given this, how are we to teach students effectively when more often than not their minds are not ever completely in the classroom with us? My own mind is never completely on teaching and how to be the most effective teacher for my students, but I’ve lived long enough and been in the classroom long enough to be able to discern when and where my attention is needed most. However, this is not the case for my students. Their minds are like wandering puppies who are enticed from time to time with exciting activities and literature but they are just as easily diverted by other attractions. How are we to effectively teach students whose minds in many cases are not with us but on other matters which may or not be more pressing than their educations? I can’t force students to learn; it must be a voluntary action on their part. But as their teacher, I feel that I play a large role and have a great responsibility to catch their interest and make learning authentic and something they wish to actively engage in. As I think about this, I chuckle because I know exactly what Loman would tell me and/or is thinking as he reads this. We are complete opposites in many ways, and our teaching styles are no exception. While I have a strong desire and sense of responsibility that I am the only chance that many of my students will ever get in their entire education careers, Loman tends to show his care in other, more realistic ways. He forces no student to learn and while it is quite clear that he cares about them deeply [though he’ll strongly protest that he does], Loman gives his students a more tough kind of love that I don’t know if I am capable of. Both of our methods work for different kinds of students and not for others. So…which is best, I honestly don’t know the answer to that. At the end of the day, I am still left with the overwhelming question of how I am to reach every student in my class while taking into account all of the problems that they bring with them in the door. I can literally hear Loman telling his students to check whatever issues they have at the door, but for those students like myself, I don’t know just how possible that really is.