I used to work against my high school students.

Written on
December 9, 2020
Peter Hostrawser

This year has taught me a lot about teaching, education, learning, and most importantly, being empathetic with my students. I’ll admit, change is a good thing. Too much change at once, can be bad. I have seen many students in the hybrid model become lost, disoriented, and confused about their time and focus management. I am sure we could have done a better job helping students figure out these before Covid-19 hit. We are beyond that. No need bringing up complaints that will do us no good now.

We have to move forward.

This semester, I have a much higher rate of Ds and Fs in each of my courses. I sometimes hear past teacher colleagues speaking about how the kids are lazy, taking advantage of the system, and not working at all because they don’t have to. That may be true to an extent, however, this semester, I chose to work with my students and not against them. I changed the way I grade and accept late work.

Before Thanksgiving break (Fall break) happened, I emailed all the students who were on the brink of failing a schedule of how to break down their missing work into small pieces and let them know they could still turn it in for full credit. I also added a few items to that email. I added quotes of encouragement like “I believe in you,” “Don’t give up!,” and “You got this.” I personalized each note and plan in order to help as much as I could.

I will not give up on my students…even on the last day of class.

Many people in the teaching industry would say that this is not necessary and not part of the job. I disagree. I will not give up on any student within the semester or year they are in my class. It is my job. It is my duty. It is why I became a teacher. If the one they are learning from gives up on them, they turn away from learning. Yes… initially I have been unsuccessful on this with students not following through or responding too much. BE PATIENT! It does work. The following are some of the responses I received this year from students struggling:

“I want to thank you so much for sticking by me and giving me this opportunity to make up assignments not all the teachers are like you. Once again thank you! You are greatly appreciated:)”

“Thank you for all the time and attention you have given to make sure I pass your class. It has helped a lot with completing my work, I really appreciate it! I’ll make sure to submit the assignments before the deadline. Thank you again!”

“Mr. H. I think it is really cool that you are motivating me to get my work in. I know I slipped a bit and you encouraging me really helps.”

Even the counselors have shared some of their thoughts which has been encouraging to me! “Can I just say that I love how you message these guys that are struggling/not doing much? Yours (approach) is much better and much more likely to actually motivate a kid of course :) “

I have never been more motivated by my fellow staff and students to encourage people even more. I really believe in them. Every one of them. They may not get an A+ and that is okay. I want them to get the main items of the material and more importantly enjoy learning!

Peter Hostrawser
Creator of Disrupt Education
My value is to help you show your value. #Blogger | #KeynoteSpeaker | #Teacher | #Designthinker | #disrupteducation
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