The next day, I saw the other teacher and we had time to talk. I explained that my intention was to try to help the student shift gears so he might have a chance at being a productive learner throughout the rest of the day. The other teacher expressed her frustration with the student "Getting away with not doing his work" and feeling like "He needs to be held accountable.", that "He needs to learn." They are legitimate concerns. When kids with hard lives show up at the classroom door, not ready to learn, still carrying the baggage that is their life it is not a situation conducive to learning. We both, we all, agree on that.
Where the dichotomy begins is how we approach trying to solve the problem. I realize, after pondering this situation right now, that this child could benefit from Ross Greene's Collaborative Problem Solving between teacher and student. That's is not where I intended to go with this, but the connection is legitimate based on some information I have been reading about on The Center For Confidence and Well Being website. There is an abundance of information on this site that I find useful in thinking of how to help kids like the one I described here. For instance the article Resilience and Vulnerable Children includes Proffessor Bridgit Daniel's outline of 6 ways teachers, counselors, and other significant adults can help a child who has been put in a vulnerable position in life. These ways take into account her belief that the approach we take with kids should not emphasise their vulnerability but "honor and build on human qualities for survival".
The six areas comprise:
- Secure base – where the focus is on secure attachment relationships
- Education – where school is a place, teachers are seen as people and learning is seen as a process
- Friendship – where the ability to get on with peers is supported
- Talents and interests – where opportunities to boost self esteem are nurtured
- Positive values – where kindness to others is encouraged
- Social competencies – where the ability to behave appropriately is developed.