The honors kids and I are not friends. In fact, we don’t even respect each other. Actually, that’s the real problem. Here’s the thing, I was a brat in high school, I was similar to these kids. A know-it-all, hate-authority, bratty little straight A no respecting snob from the suburbs. I thought I was smarter than every teacher in the school. In fact, sometimes I thought I was just plain BETTER than a teacher in the school and decided to make their days hell for no reason. And of course, my 8th period is chock full with mini-mes.
I relate to them, I get it, but I don’t like them. And I don’t know how to deal with them. When I look back and think about how teachers dealt with me I can only remember the bad ones and how lately I’ve been acting like them. More authority and sternness will not work with the honors like it works with my other classes. I then try to remember if there was any teacher who I liked and respected in high school. The only teacher was my Spanish teacher who let me cut her class and knew I smoked cigarettes outside of the building. I loved her, the other students loved her but I’m not sure if she’s the role model I need to help me reach out these students.
I’ve tried to challenge the honors in different ways but unfortunately they are not thinkers, they are formula reproducers and fantastic memorizers. They are frustrated with me for asking them “why” and “how” and “explain” instead of solve and evaluate. They don’t like when I go slowly (aka structure lessons for understanding) but they panic if I ask them to explore before I explain. I’m stumped.
How do I inspire and encourage students who think they don’t need me, need this class, need to think or need school?
I’ve thought about having a discussion about how I relate, I’ve thought about asking a disruptive know-it-all student to lead the class to 1) see how it feels to be disrespected or 2) to learn by teaching. I’ve thought about creating entirely different lesson plans for this class alone – and that thought really makes me cry.
All in all I realize that part of why I love teaching the lower achieving students is that they NEED to see why and how they can’t memorize the formula. But the problem is this period is acting out, bad. And somehow I need to get them back, engaged and learning.