Tuesday, December 13, 2011
I am spending this week focused on calling all of my students who aren’t engaging. This is a difficult task, and unfortunately I have a big number of students on this list. A student emailed me this week explaining that she is so sorry for not completing any work yet this quarter. She says the transition between the brick and mortar environment to online has been difficult for her when it comes to keeping herself focused. Online education requires a majority of independent work that students must push themselves to complete. As a teacher, I am always there for their questions and when they need inspiration and ideas but one of my biggest obstacles is breaking through to them that they need to pick up the pencil and begin. I emailed the student back to give her encouragement to take control of her learning. I let her know that I believe she can be successful, and that she will be a stronger person for it. In an educational environment where students are required to work independently, I truly believe they will be stronger as a result. They won’t need to depend on authority figures to schedule each part of their day, instead they will have time management skills that prepare them for college and other situations where they must self-direct and take responsibility for their actions. However, this is extremely difficult, especially for the high population of at-risk students that I serve. So, I call. I relate to them. I leave voice mail messages encouraging them and send emails. When they turn in projects, I give praise for work and push them for more. There is a student I call every week just to remind that I am here, I care, and I want him to succeed. But it is not all rosy and I do not reach them all, but that doesn’t mean I ever stop trying.