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Invisible Students

You've probably already noticed how challenging students can take more of your time

and energy than the students that listen, cooperate and do their work. But have you noticed that the students that are quietly doing what you've asked them to do can become "invisibl"

It is very, very easy to "not notice" the students that don't bring themselves to your attention. Why? Because those students listen when you are speaking, work on their assignments, get along with other students and don't bring themselves to your attention. However, these students can feel invisible to their teachers because of that. Ideally, teachers will take notice of those students that are doing what they ask everyday and make them feel noticed. This can be as simple as saying, "Thank you to all of the students that are already doing what I just asked. I appreciate you and your efforts."

At one point in a particularly challenging class, I stood back and started observing my students interaction with each other. I made a mental note of all the students that were easier to teach because they wanted to be there and wanted to learn something. I realized that I hadn't really noticed them enough. I enjoyed them, but didn't spend as much time on them as I did on my more challenging students. I decided to change my approach and started making more time for the students that had been almost invisible to me. I felt guilty at this point and committed to making them more visible to me. Not in a way that would bring undue attention to them outwardly in class and embarrass them, but in more subtle ways. I thanked the students that were working steadily on a project, I gave students that were consistently being on task the opportunity to sit wherever they wanted to and made it a point to stop by their tables to see if they needed anything, even when they did not ask.

The more I did this, the more my more challenging students changed their behavior for the better. They may not have made this behavior change consciously but they changed. They wanted and needed attention too and they were noticing that the way to get that was to act out less, not more.

If you haven't already, try noticing how much time you spend on your "invisible" students as compared to your students that make themselves visible to you in behaviorally

challenging ways.

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