by Tuanya Henderson
I have a student who came into 9th grade with his 8th grade habits and mentality. He never did any work and decided that sitting in class making random noises was more important. He was even suspended in the first couple of weeks for fighting. When I tried talking to him he would always challenge me or completely shut me out. He was failing because he was not working to his full potential not because he did not have the ability. I saw the potential in him from day one and it was frustrating for me to see it go to waste. So I began to apply what I know about the importance of building a relationship with students, before making demands and setting high expectations. Day after day I worked hard to build a relationship, motivate, and to understand things from his perspective. After I constantly talked to him about his behavior and his grades, he began to stay after school almost every day. He understood that he was not after school to play around and began to impress me more and more in our tutoring sessions. He even started to find me when he had free time during school to do work. Gradually his behavior and his attitude changed for the better. His math grade is now a B and his english grade is also a B. Comparing his reading level from now to the beginning of the year, it went up an entire grade level. He is now reading at a 9th grade level and on track. He has also significantly raised both his math and english assessment test scores. He is on track in attendance, which was a major problem for him in 8th grade. Since the suspension in the beginning of the year, there have not been any others. I talked to him about his successes and let him know just how proud I am of his changes. Through the patience, effort, and collaboration of the two of us he is now on track and understands his own potential.