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At-Risk, Education, Leadership, Teaching

A Sixty Second Investment

We worry about what a child will become tomorrow, yet we forget that he is someone today. ~ Stacia Tauscher

stopwatchI have been working with a young man who is experiencing significant academic and behavioral issues at school.  Shawn (not his real name) is involved in a local gang and has recently been tagging his hands, notebook and school property with gang graffiti.  I have been trying desperately to develop a connection with him, seemingly to no avail–the behavior continues.

As part of an assigned consequence, Shawn was required to stay after school today to help me set-up for a basketball game.  As we were setting out chairs for each team, Shawn commented that Ms. Jones (again, not her real name) had told him he had a B in her class.  He was obviously proud. Shawn went on to describe how Ms. Jones had told him that she didn’t want him writing “that gang stuff” anymore because he was doing well in her class and she wanted him to continue to be successful.

My guess is that the Ms. Jone’s conversation took all of sixty seconds.  Sixty seconds to make an impression, set an expectation, form a connection and enhance a struggling student’s self-esteem.  Small investment…significant return.

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About azjd

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

Discussion

2 thoughts on “A Sixty Second Investment

  1. Yes, it is amazing how much of a difference those small conversations can have.

    I remember one time I had a student who was not working to the best of her ability. She was kind of just doing enough to get by in class. After class one day I told her, “Look you are an okay student, but you could be a good student. You have the potential to do much better in class. Here, let me show you an example. Your notebook is disorganized and this makes it harder for you to keep up and understand what we are doing. It’s not a big thing, but it could help you improve.”

    She went home and organized all of her notebooks for all of her classes. She came back to school the following Monday and was a whole different student. She worked much harder and was a lot more successful.

    Posted by David | November 9, 2010, 1:31 pm

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Pingback: The Power of an Encouraging Word « Molehills out of Mountains - November 15, 2010

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