Saturday, April 2, 2011

Consider This

This week as the 3rd nine weeks come to a conclusion, there were a few examples of how we eventually have to face the consequences of the decisions that we’ve made. It is interesting to see how students, and parents for that matter, seem to show little interest in grades until the grade reports go out. For example, my ST had warned all year of the poor grades of this student. Emails, notes, and phone calls had been home but to no avail. This student had done well to make passing grades this nine weeks but it wouldn’t be enough to pass the class. The morning after grades went home, she received an email from a very unhappy parent wanting a conference. I was lucky enough to have my ST ask me and consider what I would say as well as how I would handle the situation.

Just as my ST had done, I would have definitely kept up with the past communication and grade records. What had me curious was the reasoning for why the parents seemed so interested and urgent in wanting to meet now. However, I always need to take into consideration the culture, home-life situations, and various other issues that cause people to react the way that they do. The fact that the parent was making an effort to take interest now is the starting point from which to move forward. In the meeting with the parent, it is important to listen. In chapter 11 of Love and Logic there is the discussion of clear thinking. When people are running high on emotions it is hard to get anything resolved. Anytime a person is operating in an emotional state, their thinking is distorted.  To have an adequate perspective of the situation, the author recommends considering an individual’s self-concept, having shared control, and presenting consequences with empathy. This means that we need to be careful not to have a person feel like they are being attacked, losing control, or not feeling validated. As a teacher, I can also feel this way. And what happens? If not handled properly, the situation can escalate in a negative way. It is human nature for us to want to protect ourselves.

The conference concluded and a resolution was found. The outcome called for the student to put forth an extra effort during Spring Break. Both the parent and my ST were happy with the outcome and both parties had their perspective understood. This may not always be the case. In the future I have to make sure that I come to situations thinking clearly and to not have emotions cloud my ability to reason for the best interest of the student.