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 Teaching the Tough Ones 
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Joined: Mon Sep 13, 2010 1:47 pm
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Post Teaching the Tough Ones
by: Cheryl Koonce

"Why do you teach?" "If I had to teach those kids I would hurt someone." "How do you do it?" I have heard these comments throughout my teaching career. I hope I am not different than any other teacher when I say this, but, I teach because I love it!!

There are those students who are hard to reach. That little girl or boy you spend every day trying to teach and just feel like you can't get through. He/She is the trial of a teacher's career.

Every year I have at least one. This coming year I will be blessed with a whole classroom full. The question I face every year is, "How do I teach these young handfuls in such a way that they can learn, enjoy learning, and respond back?"

Well, the obvious answer is "hands on." I have taught by hands on learning long before I heard the term. If a student can't apply the idea they are not likely to remember it.

The last several items I have written concerning learning have been on greenhouses. I am still writing in that direction. That is probably the most useful solution I have come up with in my teaching career.

It has been said "Idle hands are the devil's tools." Children that are bored are generally going to find some way to not be bored. This usually is not to the student's benefit nor the teacher's.

What creates boredom in these hard to reach children? Seems if they have not accomplished the task at hand they should have no reason for boredom. True though that may be, these youngsters are still bored.

Several things come into play here. A student who can't understand what is being taught can't accomplish the task at hand. Often this lack of understanding is due to past neglect. The student can not understand this concept because he/she never understood the foundation concept.

Occasionally the reason for boredom is due to lack of desire to learn. If the student can not see the importance of the concept within his/her own realm, the concept must not be important. Particularly if the student has gone home and asked Mom and Dad if the concept is important and his/her significant others have informed him/her "it is stupid." (Occassionally, I have a student give me this explanation.)

The student may not be able to comprehend simply because the must be able to touch the concept in order to process the concept. Put another way, "hands on." The student needs manipulatives to understand the concept.

Here's where the greenhouse comes in. There are so many things to teach in the greenhouse. Science, math, life skills, art, even cooking. Find the objective that needs to be taught and go to the greenhouse.

Students will take pride in what they do. They can proudly present their work to their parents and fellow students. Even the state fair offers places for students' work.

These unattentative students become enthusiasts. Pushing every day for the opportunity to go to the greenhouse. Never realizing the work they are doing.

So, where do we begin. With a notebook, a pen/pencil, and an open mind. Get these young minds moving for an adventurous year.

About The Author
I am a fulltime school teacher in the fields of math and science. My master's degree is Reading Specialist. I enjoy working with people. In the past year I have started working parttime as a landscaper assistant and am having a blast! We are currently starting an internet business selling greenhouses. Landscaping, gardening, backyard ponds, fountains, and teaching--what a wonderful mix!

I enjoy working with plants and people. I also enjoy riding my horse on trail rides. She is a brown quarterhorse named Molly.

My hobbies are my life. My husband laughs and says he has to support my hobby -- teaching. To this I have added the greenhouses and of course riding.

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Thu Feb 18, 2010 8:38 am
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