Life is how a person conducts themselves in all of their choices. It is true that there are many who say that "fate is pre-determined", but still one must consent, and it is a person’s route that will ultimately determine the place that he will reach. And what happens after we have chosen? A lot of people are nevertheless stuck for a long time in a place of feeling "if only I had chosen differently . . ." and that certainly affects them [. . . and not for the better!]. Why? Because choosing means giving up one thing in order to achieve something better / not as good – it doesn’t really matter at the moment what the result is – but the very fact that we cannot hold everything in our hands all at the same time, and therefore we must choose.
There is no doubt that we are aiming for the best in everything we do; we examine, and enquire, and try to find the "best route" that suits our lives and the lives of our family. But what should we do, because we do not always get the best, or what we had wanted, and we have encountered difficulties that we did not necessarily know how to solve; because we adopted rules that did not fit our family; because we did not understand the new rules of the game and somewhere along the way we lost control – but it was already too late.
I want to give you an example from the school:
As a school teacher, I have to teach a lot of students in the class, and in every lesson, I have to choose the way I convey the material to my students, and the words I choose to use. That’s clear, isn’t it? Great. But there are a million ways to convey the material, so how do I know which way is right at the moment?
And it's not that I don’t know my students – I know them all; the point is that one method of teaching is not suitable for every person and for every subject of the material being taught. But the show must go on and I have to choose one method of teaching that particular lesson, and I am in the classroom together with them, talking about the curriculum and trying to get the class to listen to what I am saying. Thankfully the majority do listen and cooperate and take an active part in the lesson; but there are some students who are simply not with me, but rather somewhere else. And what is the reason for this? They may find the material boring; perhaps they just don’t understand me; they might be thinking now about friends / parents /the upcoming exam; or maybe they are simply not capable of understanding.
And this is where another choice enters the picture: Who should I help now? I select one of the students from among several whom I can help now, during the lesson. This is the time for me to give a task to the rest of the class and gently approach the student whom I know for sure is not learning. I try to find out what he is going through, and why he does not participate. He replies that he does not understand the material even though I explained it well ("It's not you, teacher, it's me who never understands anything" – a harsh statement that he uses to explain his scholastic difficulties and the frustration that this causes him). So, I try to explain it to him again and even guide him towards finding the answer. I notice that it is still very difficult for him. He also guesses the next question and does not succeed because there is something there, in his mind, in his thought process, that does not work in the usual way.
And the class is waiting. They – his peers – have long since finished the task and are waiting only for me, so I continue the lesson and proceed with the material being studied. When the bell rings everyone leaves the classroom at the speed of light and they throw themselves down onto the benches in the large playground. I’m still thinking about the student who has a hard time with reading comprehension, and I think about two other students that I didn’t have the time for, and I wonder what would have happened if I had gone to one of them and helped him a bit, and he would have understood and been able to integrate into the class?
Like in the film "Revolving Doors" every door or path, every decision or action, would inevitably lead us in another direction, the results of which will ‘revolve’ us and those around us to other places at other times. The break is too short and I hurry to the lesson in the next class. I am sure that tomorrow, during the lesson of the class I was in today, I will try to approach another student to help, and later I will also refer his parents or the counselor of the struggling student who simply can not learn "like everyone else" and requires personal guidance and / or constant scholastic assistance.
What do we actually learn from this?
Every student is different. Every child is different. At any given moment, the child has a different perception of himself which affects him greatly. You, the parents and we, the teachers, cannot get through to him in the same way, cannot demand the same from everyone, cannot expect all four of our children at home to be exactly the same: each has his own thoughts, his own feelings, his own difficulties. There is a well-known saying that "not all fingers are equal." That is the beauty of this human mosaic that is woven from generation to generation, with each individual being unique.
What should we do?
1. First of all, we have to understand that ‘it is what it is’. In other words, understand that the child does not necessarily "not want to" but sometimes he is really unable to. So, believe him.
2. Try in every possible way to discover what the child's difficulty is? What is he going through? What really occupies his mind and prevents him from succeeding in school / in society. Of course, it is advisable at this stage to involve professionals – particularly educators at the school.
3. The child should not be measured in accordance with "accepted criteria", since not all students can score 100 on the test, or have a lot of friends; there are those who have less capability and require extra help outside school hours, both in the academic and the social aspects. Remember: Every child is special.
4. Understand that every day is a new day and therefore we must adopt different approaches to communicating with our children: once by setting clear boundaries; once by letting go and transferring the responsibility to them; once by offering assistance, and so on.
5. Always remember that we need to allow the child and encourage him to develop and cope with complex tasks because – despite the difficulty – if he does not give up, and if in the end, he manages to succeed, he will experience a significant achievement in his life.
6. Don’t ever give up on a child!!! When you give up, you're actually giving up on him!! There are parents, that when their child finds it difficult or refuses to perform a task, whose attitude is to remove the difficulty altogether so that it won’t adversely affect the child emotionally or developmentally. For example, a child who finds it difficult to write – the solution is to reduce the need, to make it easier for him, rather than to support and help him to practice, to exercise, in order to make progress the next day.
7. It is desirable to allow the child to experience "constructive experiences" of overcoming the difficulties, both scholastically as well as socially, and not rush to save them from the frustration and coping which helps to strengthen their character. It is important to give the child a sense of self-capability, which is a product of effort and work to overcome the increasing difficulties that he encounters along the way. Children who don’t acquire the constructive experience through coping and making an effort will lack the faith in themselves and their ability to succeed.
Do you have any questions? You are welcome to write to me.
Dikla Golasa- Halioua M.A. in Education
Remedial Teaching Teacher