Its been a difficult finish to the first 9 weeks of this semester. It seems that my students are as unmotivated and uninspired as any I have encountered in 3 short years of teaching. The real questions is this: what is it that causes this problem? What am I doing differently than any other year/semester? Actually this whole year seems to have been filled with students with whom I am having difficulty in forming relationships.
I know there are classes of students that are "difficult" but what am I doing differently? I've heard teachers talk about the new freshmen this and this senior class that. I'm not sure I buy it. If it is the students, what do I do? Do I simply chalk this up to experience? Or do I continue to do my best at building relationships? Well, that's a dumb question. Of course I keep trying! Its a little bit like the healthcare debate. When things don't go our way, we just want to whine and complain until things go over the edge into ridiculousness, instead of looking for a way to solve the problem. If you aren't part of the solution, you are the problem. All I can do is keep a positive attitude and do my best. Students either will pick up the responsibility for their education or not. At least I can look forward to another year of doing the best I can. That's what's great about teaching...you get a second chance to be the best over and over!
I don't mean to sound like I dislike this current group of students. In fact, its quite the opposite. I genuinely enjoy class everyday. I just don't fell as if I am getting through to them. It doesn't seem that I am "making a difference" like I have in the past. Is it me? Is it them? Does it matter who it is?
I'll just keep trying to do what it is that I am best at: teaching Physics.
Prayer for the teacher:
When I feel anger towards a student, please help me to remember that I may be the only person who listens to them today.
When students don't act like I expect, please help me not to lower my expectations, but to gently remind them of those expectations and give them an opportunity to be successful.
When I begin to doubt myself, please help me to remember that I am needed and not to become jaded and grouchy whenever I speak of students.