Several years ago, I had a seventh grade student in one of my math classes. He was a capable and clever lad but he liked to muck about in class with his friends, wasting time and disrupting the entire class. He would not complete his work. He refused to receive any help. When it came time for tests, he would not try- he would place his name at the top of the page, randomly write down numbers in the answer column, then turn his test back in within a couple of minutes. His lack of effort was, to say the least, very frustrating. And, very annoying.
One day, after several minor "run ins" because of his attitude and lack of effort, I lost my patience with him. I took him into the hall so that we could have a dreaded "chat". I laid into him like I very rarely (if ever) have laid into a student. I read him the riot act about throwing away his education. I pointed out his bad behavior. In short, I chewed him out, royally. He responded back with sarcasm, defiance, and anger. I responded in kind, telling him he was on his own.
A few days later, after having seen an interaction between him and his step-father, I saw a different side to this student. My heart went out to him. I felt real compassion and concern for his well-being. I determined that, from that day forward, I would treat him with much kindness and renewed interest.
It was a good change for both of us. The benefits were many: his math scores improved. He seemed to understand better the concepts we were studying and learning. He seemed happier and his behavior in class became constructive instead of destructive. I gladly accepted the changes.
The year eventually ended and the next school year began. Intermittently, I would see this student, now in the eighth grade, in the halls. He had grown several inches (and was almost as tall as I am, nearly six feet.) Each time I saw him, I felt a pang of remorse for having treated him badly those months prior. I wanted to apologize but had not yet taken the opportunity.
One day in the hall, he walked by, and I asked if I might speak with him for a moment. He said I could.
I looked him squarely in the eyes and he back at me. "Sylvan" (not his real name), I began, "Do you remember last year when I chewed you out really badly?" He answered, "Yes". I continued, "While you may have deserved to be chewed out, I could have found a much better way of getting you to change your behavior. I know I came down on you really hard. I tried being much better to you after that, and I hope I did do better. (He shook his head to say that I had.) I cannot tell you how many times I have regretted my getting so mad at you. Every time I see you in the halls, I think about it and wish I could have done better. I am so sorry that I treated you like that. I do not know if you can, but I hope one day you can forgive me. Do you think you could?" He said, "Yes. I can. I do." I thanked him and he went on his way.
I was grateful to share with him my sincere and humble remorse. He seemed genuinely accepting of my apology. In granting me his forgiveness, the bitter guilt I had carried around with me those many, many months was released from my heart. The power of "I'm sorry" helped both of us feel better.
Unlike One Republic's song, I believe it's never "too late to apologize".
HW posted on "mydsd"
Beginning October 2, 2017, homework will be listed on "myDSD" where your grades are calculated. It will be shown as "practice" which means it does NOT count as part of your actual grade but it is listed to help you and your parents keep on top of your work and make certain you do not have missing "stuff". It will be posted under the heading of "participation points" for 7th graders and under the heading of "listening and participation points" for 8th graders.
As posted on our disclosure: ALL homework must be done AND you need a score of 6 or higher to be allowed to retake concepts.