I have just completed a 2 day STAR (Students at Risk) seminar for teachers in Adelaide and once again I am wrung out, exhausted and empty and in awe of what makes these teachers tick!
Each time I run this seminar only teachers who really want to be there register and they know EXACTLY what they want and make sure they get it. It is like they come on behalf of their class, determined to get answers and to have more strategies to take back to help their kids.
This course is transformative and a real journey as we track down the reasons for the problems, realise the problems may actually turn out to be gifts and learn how to plan a practical plan to lift the self-esteem and academic performance of low achieving students. We look at the following issues:
- There are so many students who miss out on what they actually need as we hurtle in our great speed dragging these protesting kids with us and never asking them what they need. There is only one way to REALLY help these STAR children and it can be messy, time consuming and does not often entail yet more tests and labels being slapped all over them!
- To TRULY help a failing child, a teacher needs to get on the floor with them and BE with them- talk to them, ask them about themselves, observe them, travel for awhile on their uneven, obstacle strewn pathway and patiently work out a plan WITH the child. They love it when a teacher takes the time to observe, chat and get to know them.
These kids are human beings- not some sort of machine to be set on a factory line and stuffed full of knowledge. We need to try looking for their interests and strengths and use these to work on weaknesses.
- These STAR children need hope, our belief in them and they need to see possibilities- especially the possibility that a system that has so badly failed them can actually change and acknowledge we are all different, all need each other and no- we don’t need to all learn in the same way!