The “Bad” Class

We were warned. All last year we heard about the third graders and how they were a very rough group. One third grade teacher looked at my class list at the end of last year and talked for thirty minutes about all of the problems I would experience. I even had a phone call this summer about one student, warning me of how difficult he can be. I read each student’s placement cards, genuinely nervous. I was moving to a new grade level and now I was going to have an infamous group of students?!

What this year has taught me is that each year is a fresh start for our students, just like each year we grow as teachers. I thought this was going to be an incredibly difficult year with a horrible class. Instead, it has been my favorite year of my short three years of teaching.

That boy I received the phone call about? He makes me laugh daily. He has some issues, but he’s worked so hard this year and has come so far.

My class is not perfect, but I now feel like they received an undeserved bad reputation. This year, I learned that I should not judge a student by their experience in previous grades. They are growing up and they deserve to start the year without judgement. This is something I need to remember as I write placement cards at the end of the year. My “bad” class has turned out be an amazing group of kids that I truly love teaching everyday.

8 Replies to “The “Bad” Class”

  1. Sarah Valter says: Reply

    I love this! “Bad” students have always been my favorite kids–there’s just something special about seeing beyond the reputation and building a relationship with them. These kids are so lucky to spend this year with you!

  2. failingreatly says: Reply

    What a great post! Sometimes it’s chemistry – sometimes it’s teaching/learning mismatch, and sometimes kids mature over the summer. I think it’s good to know what your students’ and teachers’ experiences were from the year before, but also good to keep in mind that each year we build unique relationships with students. I’m glad you are having a great time this year!

  3. I love this!!! Hopefully you can help change their reputation for the rest of their time at your school. I just spent too much time trying to find an article Donalyn Miller wrote a few years ago about this. Everyone was wishing her well and telling her all she’d be doing was surviving for the year, but she had one of her best years instead. Those tougher kids teach us so much, and change us as teachers and as humans…for the better I think.

  4. Thanks for reminding us of how sometimes kids need us to step away from their reputations and embrace them as they are… I’d love to hear more about that “summer call” kid — how he makes you laugh and what you might have done to help him turn the corner. I’m guessing YOUR belief in them has been part of the positive energy that’s made it a great year. Your kiddos are lucky to have you!

  5. Kudos to you for seeing who your kids are, not who others perceive them to be. They’re lucky to have you. I operated under the “in one ear and out the other” philosophy about my incoming kids!

  6. I always take the warnings about “bad” students with a grain of salt. When they walk into my room they have a clean slate. If they have a bad day the next day is a new day. 99% of the time the “bad” students were bad last year because they were never given that clean slate the next day. They had one shot with that teacher and the minute they blew it they were given the label bad.

  7. Kathleen Sokolowski says: Reply

    I’m so glad you kept an open mind! Sounds like a memorable group. 😊

  8. Kris Shrontz says: Reply

    It is sometimes difficult to not listen to all the stories but sounds like you did a great job of forming your own opinions and making progress with your group.

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