Taroudant, March 27, 2012
Taroudant, March 27, 2012
The school’s dismissal bell rang and my students hurriedly gathered their supplies and bid me farewell. I erased the black board and started to gather my books and papers as another day came to an end. Suddenly, one of my students came back through the cloud of chalk dust that prevailed across the whole classroom. I thought that he might have forgotten something and returned to retrieve it. He hesitated at first, but eventually told me that he no longer wanted to participate in the school’s English spelling competition.
I would have respected his request had it not been for something strange I noticed in his voice. His demeanor kindled my curiosity to learn what exactly had pushed him to make such a disappointing decision. He paused for a while, almost at a loss of words, and finally, in a low and indistinct tone, he bashfully told me that he had been in a disagreement with a female student. He could not allow himself to compete with her at the final competitions. Alas! My students were in love.
This student had drawn my attention to a big issue that, no doubt, is the cause of the agitation and lack of discipline that was recently taking place in my classes. Friendly relationships between middle school students generally stay within school boundaries. But with today’s advanced means of communications at students’ hands, relationships may take different manifestations. Love is often regarded as the emotional vehicle that encourages people to pursue their dreams and achieve their objectives. But might it sometimes also be the kind of destabilizing force that caused my student to withdraw from the competition? Who knows?
As spring is upon us, the weather has become warmer, the trees–specifically almond trees, have been dressed in pink blossoms and the birds are all singing spirited melodies. This seasonal change has also been manifest in various forms of students’ behavior. Perhaps “it’s spring fever” as Mark Twain once called it. Students are less absorbed in their reading lessons and more inclined to speaking and role-playing activities. Disciplinary issues, never an issue of concern during school, have now come to the forefront. Nature is playing its role!
As spring is indeed in the air, teachers have to be cognizant of behavioral changes that occur in the life of middle school students. Teachers have to apply effective methods and approaches for dealing with such natural, yet complicated disciplinary developments in the lives of their pupils. Teachers must be able to discuss taboo issues more openly and provide their students with a secure psychological atmosphere in classrooms. In doing so, they will motivate their students to stay mentally healthy and avoid the consequences that could negatively impact their studies. Teachers must convince students that their ultimate goal is to achieve high academic records, have good relationships based on mutual respect and develop pave the way for a bright future.
Cordial relationships between students are natural. They may be less familiar at the middle school level, but they are always there. These relationships, if not properly managed, may have a negative impact on student learning. Teachers, administrators and parents are all invited to work together so as to help students concentrate more on their studies and not be overcome by their emotional curiosities.
Edited by Hicham El Koustaf
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