Quit Complaining About "These Kids."
Seriously, stop it.
We spend a lot of our days visiting districts, observing classrooms, and talking with teachers, and I'm starting to hear something more often than I should. I keep hearing teachers say things a long the lines of: "This would work, but 'these kids' can't do it...next year will be better."
I've had my share of "bad classes" and I admit,I've succumb to this statement earlier in my career. But as I grew as a professional I realized one simple fact: It's not the students job to change...It's my job to adapt. So I did.
Shift Your Focus.
I know it's really easy to focus on all of the problems your students have, cause, and bring into your classroom. Those are also things that can be hard to control, and focusing all your attention on things you cannot control gets you nowhere. Instead, try focusing on the things you can control.
When a farmer's crop doesn't grow, they rarely blame the seeds, because he/she knows it's is usually the environment that needs to change. So the farmer looks for ways to improve that environment by providing more/less water, adding fertilizer to the soil, or maybe deterring parasites. The same goes for your classroom; whether it's the first five minutes of a class period, the way you redirect students, the relationships you build, or the engagement level of the instruction you provide, there are always things you can do to improve the environment for your learners.
Student's CAN'T be the Problem.
Ok, so this statement is a bit over-simplified, but it's an undeniable truth: without students we would have no-one to teach.
I understand that it can feel like they are "out to get you" and that sometimes they are the most difficult part of our job, but without them the institution of education has no purpose. It is for this very reason that the children you teach simply CAN'T be the problem. If they are the problem, we might as well just stop, dismantle education, and give up now.
Yes, without a doubt, certain groups of students are more challenging than others. But it is our job to teach every single learner in our classrooms...not just the easy ones.
What You Can Do:
The next time you find yourself saying: "these kid's just can't do it!", STOP and try to focus on what you can control. Try to find reasons for their difficulties, outbursts, management issues, or lack of effort. What can you do the next day to make the experience better? Focusing on the students as the problem will never fix anything in your classroom. Harnessing that same energy and frustration and using it to find solutions, on the other hand, just might change everything for you...and your students.