There are some pupils that teachers write off as a lost cause. Of course this should never happen as every child and person should be allowed to and encouraged to achieve their full potential – this is after all one of the main tenants off CfE. However, attitude to school is a major issue that can hinder pupils and teachers in the fulfillment of their goals. Naturally teachers try to create a safe, welcoming learning environment for pupils but should the rejection by a minority of the pupils of your efforts automatically lead to you rejecting them?
The simple answer is no (despite what goes through your head sometimes). It is these pupils who above all need our perseverance, our patience and positive attitude.
Attitude to school is not something that we can fix overnight and comes from a plethora of factors. One overarching fact to remember is that out of the 168 hrs in a week, pupils are only in school for 33hrs so home, parents, peer pressure, community and media have more of an impact on them than school itself. It is also not an easy thing to deal with as some pupils don’t see the value of school or even that it is a means to an end no matter how much you tell them.
So if there is a rolling of the eyes by other members of staff when you mention a certain pupil or a sigh “what have they done now?” I try and make the effort to find the positives before the negatives. Writing them off does no one any good at all but doing the right thing and to continue to teach them is. Yes, it is hard, it is emotionally draining at times and continually filling in demerits and referrals is time consuming and disheartening. Discipline is, however, part of doing the right thing. Their attitude may not change but as teachers it is our duty to do the right thing by them and not write them off.