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Little-known ways to find every student’s hidden potential

There’s no greater reward than to see my students return to their hometown to pass their knowledge on to a new generation of learners


I was walking down the halls of our school recently when a little girl approached me. “Mrs. Rogers, what do I have to do to get into your classroom?”

Her comment made me laugh. This particular girl was a straight-A student, and I’m the Title 1 teacher for at-risk students. I was thrilled that she thought of my class as a fun, exciting place (and it is!).

This interaction confirmed just how important it is to create a positive, welcoming environment for every child, even the ones others identify as “troublemakers” or “bad students.”

It starts the moment a student walks in my classroom door. “I am SO glad you’re here! I know you’re having some trouble with fractions, but you are a smart kid, and we’re going to have so much fun today.”

Once we’re off on the right foot, students often start with a simpler lesson they have already learned. The benefits here are two-fold – students can build their confidence by showing off a little bit, and I can identify holes in their thinking that may be causing them problems on more difficult lessons.

(Next page: Finding student potential to help them succeed)

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