The great thing about having small classes is that one can give fantastic attention to individual students. The terrible thing is that when 2 students are missing, almost half of one's class is out! That was the case today in Theory (and often is) but I had to start new material anyway.
A student was scheduled for a detention with me during lunch today, so I went to the cafeteria before he arrived to make sure he got his lunch early and didn't stall in some way. While I was there — waiting by the doorway — a previous student waved to me and yelled, "Hi, Mr. Duval!" I waved backed and others noticed, and in almost no time about half of the cafeteria was yelling my name and waving. Talk about an ego boost.
This student's detention went as well as I think it could have. He ate his lunch politely and then we spoke about why he was given detention. He seemed to understand what it was all about and what behavior he needs to modify.
I've been getting the impression that among the students who are in need of a powerful student-teacher interaction, there is a sort of silent (and blind) auction for who will choose to connect with which needy student. There is no way to measure this, and almost as little likelihood of being able to define it, but it seems to me the sort of thing where most teachers will recognize a student's need for extraordinary rapport with someone and then..."look the other way." I put that in quotes because it's not quite the right phrase. If you drive by a recent car accident, do you call the police just in case no one else has, or do you assume that someone else had surely done so by the time you got there? It's a "someone else will connect with him/her" tendency.
Now I sound like I'm berating fellow teachers (and now I'm also rambling). I'm not, because this attitude is, to a degree, necessary. It's simply not possible to have the kind of focused attention I'm talking about applied by every teacher to every student. If I had even attempted to do so with every one of my (in MS only) 80+ students, I would be so overwhelmed that my effectiveness with the students would be diminished. Ultimately, I mean to say that my experience with the boy who had detention today is approaching the borderline between ordinary student-teacher rapport, and the extraordinary.
A teacher's impact on their students' lives is constant and unpredictable; profound and immeasurable; tenuous and memorable.
Op.23 Prelude #5 in G minor (S. Rachmaninoff) - Yuri Rozum