Stuart's Spectacular Students

This is dedicated to my amazing students. The goal is for each and every one of them to feel unstoppable by the time they walk out of the classroom door for the final time in May. This chronicles their journey; their own Chronicles of Self-Actualization.

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Monday, November 09, 2009

Dear Mr. Stuart

The student who scored a zero on Friday's math test can't even add simple numbers, which means she and I have to literally start from the beginning (kindergarten level). This is a lot of work to do in only an hour a day, but what about the other 20+ students who also need to be taught? Three of them are on advanced individual lesson plans. (Former student who has one of the most supportive parents I've ever seen. How can you not continue this support in the classroom?)

How does one doctor effectively cure more than one patient at a time? My answer is by the great capacity of our minds (on average we only use 3-5% of it). So even though I teach alone, I don't teach alone mentally. I bring the ESE teacher into class by constantly asking myself, "What accommodations would Ms. Wilson be providing right now?".

I also bring in the gifted teacher by asking, "What project would Mrs. Grimes provide to this student is she was gifted?"

And one student who is on an advanced lesson plan is a great teacher herself, and I've noticed particularly wants to help this failing student. Last week I told her mother that although her daughter was getting A's from me in reading and math I was failing in my job to reach her on deeper levels of thought and ability. She feels lucky and unworthy and still tries to remember what the answers are instead of becoming smarter by thinking what the answers could be and then evaluating her answer to make sure it's right.

I've learned to first focus on and deeply appreciate the things I'm doing right in life (including pushing past my imagined limits yet waking up still alive for another day...."Dude. You made it! And you know what they say about that which doesn't kill you....That means I can do EVEN MORE today.......I must be insane....actually just in case this is my last day I'm living fully and fearlessly....that's my insanity and I can live with that :-)"

This is what gives me the confidence to also appreciate where I can improve and look at where I'm honestly failing, and believing that today is the day I'll succeed.

From Friday's tests I could tell that this student DID BELIEVE she was able to think on deeper levels  as I watched her evaluate her answers in depth (evaluation is the highest level of thought as opposed to getting questions right because you have memorized the answers).

From this I know that this succeeding student now has even more to offer the failing student.

And what can I bring into the mix? The same thing I brought to the A student I'm now succeeding with on a deeper and longer lasting level: unflinching, uncompromising belief!

Dear Mr. Stuart

You silly, silly man

While I prove to you that I can't

You continue to believe that I can

Yes Dear Student

This is all true

But you're forgetting one thing

I know the Real You

And because at least four people will be teaching this one child today, all of our combined belief, intelligence and expertise will make this a very, very good day for her.

And that's how you turn an impossible situation (one teacher/doctor trying to truly teach/treat every student/patient at the same time) into a possible situation (four doctors treating the one patient)

This is how you change lives for the better.


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