Each new school year we are confronted with the challenging task of educating a diverse group of learners. Students enter our rooms performing at a wide variety of levels in reading, math, and other academic areas. Teachers seem to understand that children grow at different rates, and they accept this range of ability from their students. Educators are willing to search for ways to individualize and differentiate their instruction in order to address the needs of each individual student and to help each student be successful.
Similar to the range we experience in student academic ability, we also are confronted with students who have a wide range of behavioral skills. Some of our students enter our class possessing skills to manage their own behavior. We also have students who demonstrate few if any self management skills and have to be monitored continuously. Like reading and math, behavior is learned.
Like reading and math, it is okay to make mistakes. However, many teachers do not seem to have the same patience and understanding for students with behavioral difficulties as they do for students who have difficulty in reading and math. Teachers seem less willing to search for ways to help students become more successful with their behavior. The result is that students continue to demonstrate behaviors which limit their academic potential and interfere with the progress of their classmates.
This view is not a permissive view. We still need to hold students accountable. However, as stated above we also need to search for ways to help students become more successful with their behavior. We encourage you this school year to make a commitment to helping students with their behavior in the same way you help your students in your content area.