The Raise Responsibility System is not a magic strategy and you won’t necessarily see dramatic improvements occurring overnight in the more challenging children, but I do believe there is always a “response” inside the child. It’s just that we don’t always see that response.
Kerry continued by sharing several passages from a particular chapter in the book, “Gentle Roads to Survival” by Andre Auw. The chapter most encouraging is Chapter Six entitled, “Seed-Planting and Harvesting.” The main idea is about the importance of maintaining a “seed-planting mindset” in any work with people, as opposed to always being on the lookout for “the harvest.” Although this book is not about teaching, the thoughts expressed can be applied very well to teaching the Raise Responsibility System.
I personally find this chapter very helpful and re-read it on a regular basis. It always encourages me to keep going in the direction of promoting internal motivation with even the most challenging of students. It gives me faith that by doing so, I will be able to make some difference in their lives in the long run.
As a teacher, I am learning to wait more patiently and with more certainty—knowing that any exposure to the Raise Responsibility System is a step in the right direction. Just because I don’t always see immediate results doesn’t mean that there isn’t something happening “under the ground.” It’s just that it takes time for seeds to take root and then sprout.
Learning to be a more effective “seed-planter” is where I try to focus my energy. I’m attempting to consciously let go of any expectations of what the “harvest” should look like and when it should happen. As teachers, working with any particular child for a span only of ten months, it’s quite likely we may never “reap the harvest” ourselves with certain individuals. Rather than be discouraged by this, I try to remind myself that I do have some control over ensuring a “good harvest.” I can plant and nurture some “seeds” in the present.
Having now taught for more than 25 years, I am beginning to see some of the harvest that I never expected to see. I am starting to have some of my former students, now adults, return to visit me. They often mention special memories of our year together or tell me about something that I did with them that affected their lives. The amazing thing to me is that I usually don’t remember what they are talking about.
Although I am thrilled to have had an impact of some kind on their lives, I’m always startled that it came about as a result of something very minor to me–something so minor that I can’t recall it at all! That tells me that even
though I wasn’t conscious of it at the time, I was indeed “planting seeds.” This has done a lot to encourage me not to give up on some of the more difficult children with whom I currently work. (to be continued)