Kids get discouraged at school.
Their discouragement can take many forms. We might see sad faces, tears of frustration, or even anger “acted out” and directed at classmates or, worse, at the teacher.
More and more these days, I see anger “acted in” as depression. Some kids exhibit their discouragement by giving up. They become passive-aggressive, and begin refusing to do their work.
From the teacher’s point of view, passive aggressive behavior can appear to be defiance. But look just under the surface of that “defiance.” You will see a hurt and sad child who hasn’t gotten the help he or she needs to succeed at school.
I interpret passive aggressive behavior as a signal to find another way to give additional support. The kid who sits at his desk with an empty paper is really hurting. He needs more help than I’ve managed to give so far.
I remind myself, the student who tries and fails is better than the student who makes no effort to succeed.
As his teacher, I share in the failures of my students.
My job is to coax my student back into the batter’s box. I’ve got to take the heat and the curves off the lessons I've thrown. I’ve got to lob something he can connect with right over the heart of the plate.
He’s going to need more than three strikes.
That’s okay. We’re still in batting practice, and we’re on the same team.