Hanging In: Strategies for Teaching the Students Who Challenge Us Most

Hanging In: Strategies for Teaching the Students Who Challenge Us Most

Hanging In: Strategies for Teaching the Students Who Challenge Us Most

Hanging In: Strategies for Teaching the Students Who Challenge Us Most

Synopsis

Many students arrive at school with unique mixtures of family histories, traumatic experiences, and special needs that test our skills and try our patience. In Hanging In: Strategies for Teaching the Students Who Challenge Us Most, veteran educator Jeffrey Benson shows educators the value of tenacity and building connections in teaching the students who most need our help. This essential guide includes

• Detailed portraits based on real-life students whose serious challenges inhibited their classroom experience--and how they eventually achieved success;

• Strategies for how to analyze students' challenges and develop individualized plans to help them discover a sense of comfort with learning--with in-depth examples of plans in action;

• Recommendations for teachers and support team on how to gain skills and support and not lose hope through the ups and downs of the work; and

• Specific advice for administrators on constructing systems and procedures that give all our students the best chance for success.

Just as teaching the students who challenge us is among our most frustrating experiences as educators, sticking with students until they finally "get it" is among our most rewarding. In

Hanging In, you'll find the inspiration and field-tested ideas necessary to create a patient and supportive environment for even the most demanding cases in the classroom.

Excerpt

I was chairing an hour-long meeting with school administrators, teachers, therapists, and support staff. the group had convened to deal with a single issue: how Dean, a volatile 4th grader, could more successfully transition from class to class. Dean insisted on being first in line, argued over every expectation, and swore at staff as he quickly lost his temper. He was exhausting his teachers, classmates, and everyone who was called in to de-escalate him and then assess his readiness for rejoining his class. We hypothesized what triggered Dean’s reactions. We reviewed his complex family history, his ability to cognitively understand directions, and his ability to physically manage the passage from one room to another. We reviewed what staff had been saying to him, what rewards and punishments had been tried (all so far without lasting success), what the quality of his relationships was with peers and school staff, and what our overlapping goals were for Dean and the school. By the end of the hour, we had synthesized our perspectives and developed a plan (the focus of Chapter 2 in this book). At that point, the principal turned to me and said, “That should do the trick.” I sighed and responded, “There are no tricks.”

There are no tricks to working with our most challenging students. If there were simple solutions to support their growth, the . . .

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