In How to Have Amazing Success with THAT Student from Success In the Classroom, Sam suggests that a teacher states this at the beginning of the year.
“I accept full responsibility for the success of _____________________this year in my class.
This kind of mind shift is life changing, not only for you, but for that student. You will see, that once you stop blaming others for that student’s lack of success, you will have an amazing impact on that student’s future.”
First I have them fold a piece of paper in half like a hotdog (long ways) and write their name at the top of both sides. I have asked my students to write down the things they can do well outside of school on the left side. It can be skateboarding, drawing, playing cards or anything that they like to do well.
After some discussion about this, I then ask them to write down the things they don’t do well in school on the right side. This can be a thing like reading, writing, multiplication, division or anything that a teacher asks them to do but they struggle with it. Most students know exactly what they have problems with and it is really hard to write it down because in a way, this is a form of acceptance. Many like to hide that they struggle with anything specific and don’t like to admit to someone else or even themselves what they really have trouble with.
Once they do this, I have the cut or rip the paper in half so that they keep the left side (the things they do well) and they turn in the right side (the things they struggle with) to me.
I let them know that they do not need to worry about the paper they turned in to me. This will be my job. It is my job to help them succeed and to work on the things they struggle with. They need to learn that they won’t struggle alone and that I will be there for them. Sometimes you can actually see the relief in their eyes! It breaks my heart to think about how much this means to them and they have had this weight on their shoulders for so long thinking they were facing the world alone.
Throughout the year I keep reminding them that they are not alone. I tell them that when I scold them or get frustrated with them it is because I care about them and I’m struggling myself to find the key that will help them. It is important that we both don’t give up and that we support each other on this journey.
This one activity can really make a difference in class. I believe that it prevents a lot of behavior problems and encourages students to make a true effort in achieving their own success.
Have you done some kind of exercise like this? If so, please share.