I decided to teach at this school because I was tired of people feeling sorry for these students. Compassion, Empathy, and Understanding are essential characteristics of educators however, as with everything in education, they need to be handled with balance.
Students are given many chances because we feel sorry for them, because we are aware of their background. I appreciate this sensitivity. However, at some point these students learn to be dependent on their extra chances. They stop being grateful because they are always given a "free lunch." It works well for us here, but then they leave here and go to a world that, frankly, doesn't give a s@#$. What life are we teaching them to live if we don't expect them to step up to the plate, and they'll be given a third and fourth chance if they don't?
What if we expected them to use their diversity to become strong people who knew how to help themselves?
What if we expected that they could handle the little extra pressure, because they already are used to carrying an extra load?
Then, would we create students that were leaders?
Then, would we create students who could think and handle tough situations with ease?
Then, would we really be doing our jobs?
If we don't take student behavior serious enough...and laugh it off too many times...I believe that we are setting the student up for failure.
Yeah, we can be nice. We can be friendly...but we need to do it in such a way the the student understands the seriousness of his/her actions.
On the other side of the same coin, we can be tough...but we need to do it in such a way that discipline is a learning experience and that we do it because we care about the student.
In the long-run, my job is to make adults and productive members of society out of my teens. I can do this by making sure they understand that, as a society, we have norms and values that everyone follows.
"The law, for all its failings, has a noble goal - to make the little bit of life that people can actually control more just. We can't end disease or natural disasters, but we can devise rules for our dealings with one another that fairly weigh the rights and needs of everyone, and which, therefore, reflect our best vision of ourselves."--Scott Turow, Author of Presumed Innocent and Limitations (from my Starbucks coffee cup)