If you know anything about strength-based practice, Jim's advice will make sense. He starts off by saying "Embrace them!" He suggests that every students wants to feel valued and you can do this by focusing on your students as people first and find ways to show them you care. The worst thing you can do with a difficult class is not want to be there. Kids need hope. If you want any significant change, you must first connect with your students and bring enthusiasm every day!
9 Principles of Strength-Based Practice (from resiliency initiatives)
- Believe that every student has potential
- Focus on what is strong (strengths), not wrong (labels)
- Language we use creates our reality - be positive
- Believe that change is inevitable
- Authentic relationships are the catalyst for positive change
- Start with their story, perception is reality
- Begin with what they know to build confidence and comfort
- Capacity building is a process so see challenges as a way to build capacity
- Value difference and the essential need to collaborate
Need a little more inspiration? Three movies are references in the article; Beyond the Blackboard, Freedom Writers (Line Game scene), and Dangerous Minds (Choice scene). Jim has also written a book called Ready, Set, Teach! 101 Tips for Classroom Success.
It's show time!