Dealing with the mantra of “I don’t care”


I sent a student to the office today. Well, I gave them the choice to follow directions or go to the office, they picked the office. What the student did doesn’t really matter, that I was told that I am ‘pathetic’ doesn’t bother me, and having the student tell me that they don’t like me and hasn’t all year doesn’t bother me. What bothers me is the mantra of ‘I don’t care’ that I was up against.

  • I don’t care that my comments about the performers were rude,
  • I don’t care if I get in trouble,
  • I don’t care about filling out a behavior slip,
  • I don’t care about not being able to go on the last field trips,
  • I don’t care if I end up in Juvenile or not,
  • I don’t care about my life.

BAM!TKOI’m out.

I like to think of myself as someone who is not intimidating and easy to talk to and a good listener and non-judgmental, and open to everyone’s perspective. When a student has a good point, even if I don’t agree with it, or it may not be expressed appropriately, I acknowledge the validity of their thoughts. So when someone just shuts down it I get stymied at first.

I did my best; I provided examples of times when it seemed like the student did care. I talked about how choices, especially in the years to come, will directly affect their life. I made the case for not juvie vs. juvie and spoke about how I know people who experienced that and that this student did not want that. Eventually I admitted that I couldn’t make anyone care, and that I hoped that something to care about was found and that the move (hey wait. . . ) would provide a chance to find something to care about.

It could be that this was all a way of distancing themselves from everything to make leaving easier. Part of me hopes that this is the case. What scares me is the kids that aren’t moving away that I hear this from, and there are too many. The apathy is staggering. If you read my paper, Visual Literacy + Textual Literacy = Students Learning, Enjoying, and Making Meaning in regards to what they are Reading, then you know that if we can get kids interested then most of our challenges with behavior and buy-in and achievement would become moot.

So, if anyone has any advice about how to break kids out of the “I don’t care” frame of mind, or deal with that as an answer to everything, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE share it.  I do care, and it saddens me to see someone shut down like that and not be open when someone (that’s me!) is trying to help.

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One response to this post.

  1. Posted by patty p on June 21, 2010 at 6:22 pm

    i remember when you guys were young and i would say you were not allowed to do something for a week the answer i did get sometimes is does not hurt me any when i knew that would bother you alot sounds to me the child is trying to be tuff but on the other hand i feel that he is looking for some attention from someone he may not have the family around to much because parents are now working all the time and some have no time to listen to the child this may help or not

    Reply

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