Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

What Keeps Me Awake at Night - My Duty to Care Even If They Couldn't Care Less: Opinion

Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

What Keeps Me Awake at Night - My Duty to Care Even If They Couldn't Care Less: Opinion

Article excerpt

Swearing, fighting, sulking ... I think I can deal with most of these teenage behavioural traits. It's the apathetic students who frustrate me.

There is no easy fix for a nonchalant attitude. Overcoming students' anger over assessments and vocal complaints about poetry analysis is a walk in the park in comparison. How can I get through to students whose defiance is shrugging and eye-rolling? There is no anger to turn into passion or depression to spill into layers of meaning. These are the students who just don't care.

Behaviour management courses prepare you for the chair-throwing and escalating tantrums of difficult children. And the special educational needs coordinator leads courses on assisting those with dyslexia and autism. However, there is no support for this small but intrusive group.

I have tried many strategies - including appealing to their interests, one-to-one attention and not caring back - all to no avail. Sometimes they snap out of it and realise that a good grade in English will help them in the future, but there are still some I can't get through to. I want to take them in a time machine and show them the life they could have if they just applied themselves or cared. …

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