Great Story: Changing Course

Changing Course

Written by NESS SEA AmeriCorps Member Dylan Gardner

At times change can happen very rapidly, like a tacking sailboat.  At other times it is slow, like a cargo ship altering its course at sea.  For students at Bennie Dover Jackson Middle School, change in the classroom can be the same.  In the beginning of the school year, one student I was working with had a very difficult time getting on task and staying engaged in the class work.

This student spent the majority of the 50 minute class block chatting to his friends and did not end up with much written on his page when the bell rang.  His teacher would constantly remind him to be quiet and get back on task.  As I would come over to his seat and point out to him that his paper was still blank he would say, “I don’t get it.”  I would take a moment to repeat the teacher’s instructions in different words, and then he would be able to get started on the assignment.

I found that with a gentle nudge in the right direction, he was at least able to get some thoughts down on paper before the period ended.  As the weeks progressed, this student needed less direct interaction to get to work.  His work habits are slowly changing course.  I look forward to watching him grow and progress as the year goes on.  And if he veers off course, I will be there to help him find his way.