Life has been hectic the last few months- my absence from this blog is a clear indication that perhaps I have too many balls in the air. Since November, we have been undergoing renovations that required my whole family to shack up together in the basement. Sleep was a luxury that didn’t head my way too often. I had no idea the effect of this type of change on my home and professional life. With my life totally out of order, I have really struggled to keep everything organized- especially my brain. Since this blog is supposed to be focused about my thoughts on my professional life (teaching) and not on my personal life- I can’t help but relate this experience to what some of my students must go through. Often times, I find myself, as a teacher so focused on what goes on in the classroom that I forget the baggage a student brings to each school day. No wonder their behaviour, organization and concentration is affected. If I could barely hold it all together these past four months- what happens to kids in home situations that are in chaos?
I am reminded of some of my students at WHEC in Edinburgh, Scotland who shared a flat with multiple family members (one had 14 cousins all in one room!) and often complained of exhaustion, could barely stay awake in class and never had homework completed. Surely these factors must be taken into consideration when working with students in the classroom. What is tricky is that often the classroom teacher is not aware of the full picture outside of the classroom. Is it our business to know all the details of a student’s life outside of the classroom? For some students and parents, the information is shared with administration, guidance counsellors and/or social workers- but it is clear that they do not want it shared with teachers because they don’t want the student concerned to be treated differently. It is a fine line, I suppose. There have been many times that after taking the time to really talk with a student I finally understand what is behind the change in their behaviour- but when there isn’t a change (they are always disorganized, for example) it doesn’t always prompt you to go digging.
This brings me to divorce- we had Dr. Barrie Bennett in for a workshop recently and among the many things I took from this day was his statement that research is showing that it takes 4 years for a student to recover from a good divorce. Trying to find supporting evidence for this, a quick search led me to this book: Kaplan and Sadock’s synopsis of psychiatry which states: “Recovery from, and adaption to, the effects of divorce usually take 3 to 5 years, but about one third of all children from divorced homes have lasting psychological trauma”(p.34). Clearly this must be linked to student achievement and half the time I am not informed that my students are experiencing a divorce or have recently gone through it. After these few months, I am so impressed at the resiliency of students and can’t imagine having to move homes weekly and keep on top of all my homework. They are quite astounding.
Well- now that I am out of the basement- no more excuses and I hope to get more posts out that reflect on some of the really cool things that have been going on in our board and why I really love my job.
Posted: March 20th, 2011 in Moment of Reflection, Professional Development Training | No Comments »