Perfection is a wonderful concept, but it seldom exists in reality. That ideal classroom that all teachers dream of will probably never appear. Instead, the majority of instructors face a diverse assortment of abilities, interest, and purpose, regardless of the grade level or type of activity.
The classroom goals have already been set. Mandatory requirements have been established, detailing what knowledge and skills must be proven to successfully complete the course. Depending on the school and class assignments, you are now accountable for the success of perhaps hundreds of students. During the next two weeks, make notes on each student’s interests, challenges, behavior, and preparedness. These notes will help you make an assessment of how the school (including you), the caregiver, and the student are going to achieve success.
Give me more
This student seems to have homework done before class is over, is a self-starter who studies and masters the subject matter ahead of the schedule, and wants to share other knowledge with the class, whether it is related to the day’s activities or not. Students like this are blessings, but can have an adverse effect on the rest of the class.
Give me what I want to know
This student wants to complete the program successfully, but is really not interested in what he or she regards as “fluff.” It’s a down- and- dirty request for the facts, not the background. Chances are good that you will notice a great deal of inattentiveness when other details are covered, although the student is not a disruption.
Give me what I need to learn
This student is lost in certain subjects, and concerned about finding the key to knowledge. If the subject you are teaching is one of the vague concepts eluding their comprehension, draw a deep breath. This is when the work you put into studying for your credential is finally going to be used. The student is already intimidated by ‘give me more,” and questioning the concept of explaining “why” by the attitude of the ‘Give me what I want to know’ classmate. Be prepared to walk the extra mile; it is worth every step.
Once you’ve identified the student’s category, a learning contract can be created for each student. You have all the information needed: what is expected in the classroom, what must be completed to pass or go to the next level, what type of activity motivates each student, and what you need to provide to complete the picture.
In the next article of this series, ‘Buying in on a Learning Contract,’ a plan for each type of student will be discussed, as well as guidelines for making an effective contract. School is an agreement. Fulfill expectations successfully.
This article is based on personal knowledge and experience in the classroom.