Yesterday there was an issue at school that required my attention. I debated in my head about how I should deal with this particular situation. I knew that I could just let it go without much fuss and it wouldn’t be a big deal (at least not in the short term) or I could dig in and make it a point of focus immediately. I decided to pursue the more aggressive route, which meant I’d have more involvement in the short term. However, it was my hope that by taking care of it right away and not just brushing it off as “boys will be boys” that I would be able to bring a close to this ongoing conflict. In the end everything worked out beautifully and I was reminded that a little effort up front can save a lot of time and energy down the road.
I thought a lot about this idea over night and again this morning…how often is this true in our life? How many times could we put in a little now to gain a lot later in the future? Retirement accounts? Relationships? Education…what about in our classrooms? With our students? With their parents?
I met with an 8th grade student the other day about his math performance and we looked at his Power School record for homework…crickets, zeros, nada. He admitted that he’d given up, it was too hard, he said. Fair enough, he was discouraged and frustrated because he didn’t get it, while a lot of his classmates did…so why bother? Then I asked him what this school would look like if I did that with my job and every kid who was slacking off in Middle School – what if I just gave up on every kid (him included) who “was difficult”? He laughed, he understood my point.
This 8th grader could’ve really saved himself a lot of hassle if he would’ve put in some effort early on and buckled down, other than keep digging a hole that was impossible to get out of in the end. He sees this now (I hope!) and knows that as he moves on to his next school that there are going to be some difficult times and tough challenges. All of us know that there is no reason for this student to have gotten in this hole in the first place, all it would’ve taken was some extra effort in the beginning and he would’ve been on a much better trajectory.
What are those things that you could’ve put a little more effort into at the beginning of the school year to see payoffs now? Perhaps it’s a classroom management thing that would’ve saved you the constant stress and hassle of a disruptive student. Maybe it’s a little time invested in building positive relationships with a particularly challenging student or class. None of us are perfect and we all have things that could’ve gone better. I had a huge realization the other day that will leave me with regrets about an opportunity I missed this year BUT I know now how I will approach a situation like that in the future. The year is coming to a close but I know that none of us are retiring yet…we can always think about how we can improve our practice for the future 🙂
Enjoy the weekend!!