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At-Risk, Education, Teaching

Challenge: Make a Connection

Last week, a student at my school was removed from class and sent to my office with a discipline referral.  He had refused to complete class work, was openly defiant to the teacher, and he had gang tagging written all over his arms/hands and in his notebook.  He was an angry young man.  This was a student lacking any meaningful connection to school, and little reason to care about academics, or behavior.

Reflecting on my interactions with this student, it was apparent that until we gain his trust and help him develop positive connections, school will not be a priority for him.  Not an easy task.  There cannot be enough emphasis placed on the importance of relationships in education.  We should not make the mistake of over emphasizing curriculum at the expense of personal relationships. To do so condemns many students to disengagement and failure.  For students like the young man I met with last week, academic growth will only happen when they feel a personal connection to school.

So many kids are looking for an adult who cares, demonstrates empathy, expects something of them and holds them accountable. Make it your goal to be that person for at least one student.

Related –Fostering Resilience: Convincing ALL Kids They Have a Future


About azjd

Junior high principal by day, aspiring difference maker, and Jedi in my own mind. Act justly. Love mercy. Walk humbly.


One thought on “Challenge: Make a Connection

  1. I need to update my blog with shorter posts like this. I completely agree with you. I am not a school administrator but I do teach and coordinate the 504 program at my high school. One big problem is there usually is no systematic response for this kind of problem before its too late. Our school system is so antiquated that this problem of “love/acceptance” deficit becomes wrongly labeled a behavior problem. Once students are left to stew for so long, they begin to act in ways which initiate a kind of response that deals only with the symptoms of the problem and not the cause. -WJ

    Posted by wackjacq | October 31, 2010, 3:12 pm

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Jeff Delp

Junior high principal by day, sports enthusiast, technology fanatic and jedi in my own mind. Striving to be a difference maker!
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