An attitude is hard to teach. My second year of teaching in a Junior High School
I was given two class of rowdie kids, children who only knew failure in their other classes and maybe in their lives. These kids, about thirteen years old were marked and now grouped as one class and my instructions were to teach them anything I wanted, just keep them under control and away from the principal's office. I was officially "the History Teacher", teaching American, Russian, and Indian History
but I wasn't restricted to this; I could do anything, just keep them out of more trouble was my job.
In an earlier Blog I mention my youth and a little printing press that was given me and the effect it had on me and I so wanted to replicate this experience. The class had no funding and no resourses so I went around hunting for donations and found lots of support. I acquired two printing presses and fifty fonts of type, litterally about a million pieces! I ordered the absolute
most expensive papers I could find and had six colors of indelible ink. This was not children's
ink, this was ink that would never come off! The other teachers thought I was absolutely nuts and predicted mayham and defeat for this beginning teacher! to make a long story short,
These classes were a wonderful success! The kids printed perfect calling cards and quickly went on to poetry adding linoleum cuts illustration. Always aware the class was an experiment
and could be shut down, they were extremely respectful of the equipment and supplies. Many
found success for the first time in their lives and continued this attitude into their other classes.
They wanted to work through the lunch period on their projects and I informed them that "school policy" mandated that when I wasn't there the room was supposed to be empty and the door locked. I read this rule to them and reflected that this policy didn't mention windows!
Often I would return from lunch and there would be 30 kids in the room, all responsibly working
and even aiding each other on their projects!
Attitude comes from experience and it is really very easy to teach success!