As a teacher, I am daily trying to ''crack the code'' that each student is communicating to me as the authority and to their classmates. A daunting task to say the least. God is amazingly creative and has created each of my 22 students so differently that I am sometimes overwhelmed by the list of diverse needs.
I have 4 ''tough guys'' in my class this year, and I cracked 3 of the boys' codes last semester. I now know that one really needs to be offered a choice as he likes to have a sense of power, another appreciates a conversation (sitting side-by-side :)) about how he can do better next time, and the third responds well to when I ask him ''How can I help you next time in that situation?''
I was also able to establish personal connections with these 3 last semester through asking them about their fencing class, the baby brother, the older sister, etc.
So that leaves the 4th and I think I finally made advances this week. He and I had an ''expectations meeting'' on Tuesday to clarify what I expect of every student in class, and after clarifying expectations, he had a couple of great days. Then the bomb came on Thursday morning when he started acting out during the math lesson, making noises to distract classmates, making faces to get attention and laughs, etc... I went over to his desk and asked ''Do you have questions about the assignment?'' and he asked me several questions, then got right back to work. Could it be that he gives up on the concept and begins to act out because he doesn't understand?
My hypothesis was correct again today as he became outwardly stressed during computer class because his computer wasn't working. He wasn't able to finish the project and became visibly irritated and began making fun of classmates. I walked over, asked ''How do you feel about your computer not working?'' He responded ''I feel stressed.''
Progress: he stated how he felt. His face said he wanted to do well, to understand.
Cracking codes are part of my job... among many other things!