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

By Paula Rogers
July 24th, 2014

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

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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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