January 22, 2011

a changing guard...

January marked a mass exodus of my students. In one class in particular, I had three of nine kids leave. While the reasons for student departures vary, I can't help but feel bad and take it somewhat personally. In the afore mentioned case, two of the students switched academies and one student moved to the Philippines.

In training they don't tell you that students leaving is a normal occurrence, and I took the first couple departures really personally. I thought my students hated me, and wanted out. Originally I actually feared for my job as I had two kids leave one of my classes after my first month. I thought for sure I would get into trouble, as my lack of teaching experience cost the school valued money. It wasn't until I watched as other classes around my school get smaller that I felt better. I've since had a plethora of students come and go, and I'm only aware that one was caused by me. (A student;s mother  took him out of my class after an attendance sheet gaff)
When some students leave, the class resumes as if nothing changed. It saddens me to an extent because I quickly forget about their presence at all. It takes pictures to remind of their existence and what they brought to the table. Robin (top right) was one of those students (his name even alluded me during the first draft of this post). Robin would work quietly in class with his pencil case balanced on his head, this was normal. He left my school in search of more grammar help, and the class dynamic didn't change at all in the months since his exit. Jessica (above left) and Cayley's (above right) absence has also had little effect on the class, although both were some of my favourites.

Classroom dynamic is such an interesting balance. I've been able to alter it slightly by introducing new ideas into the class, I like to experiment with change. The biggest shifts come when a dominant kid in the class leaves. Jeremy (left) and Christine (below right) are two such examples. Jeremy was a driven student, although an outcast in the class, he brought playful competition to the class. The class has been plagued by silence and inaction without him.
Christine was a force, she easily aced every exam, and had the highest confidence of any students I teach. When I took over the class almost a year ago she was my predecessors favourite, and it didn't take long before she was one of mine. Her absence has left a massive void in the class, Christine could turn the tide of a class with a single remark. I would seek her help in driving up the tempo in a class, yet she was able to police the other students and calm them down when needed. The remaining students each attempt to fill her shoes, although they lack the charm and charisma this grade three possessed.

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