On Fri, 23 Jan 1998, Shevawn Eaton wrote:

> Some of our students are on such wobbly ground emotionally
> about their fit in the university environment, the cultural
> differences they are encountering, the racism, and the huge
> family and emotional problems they may be facing on the
> homefront, that it takes just that one straw to break them.

Then Shevawn wrote about an experience with a student with low
self-esteem and fear of using the computers who dropped out
after being ridiculed by the instructor in the computer lab.

Shevawn goes on to say:

> Now, I'm not saying we could have saved him if she had been
> nicer, but I am saying that we all need to think about the
> negative things we put in front of students without meaning
> to.  Friendliness and a supportive may buy us enough time to
> start to reverse the damage these students bring with them
> initially and give them the boost they need to persevere.

I couldn't agree more.  Sometimes calmness and understanding (even
if you have to fake it) can go a long way toward breaking through the
student's defensiveness.  I kinda think my students are a lot like
lobsters--hard-shelled or prickly on the outside and tender on the
inside!  You just gotta have the patience to pry through the shell!

Now, granted, since I'm a budding criminologist/sociologist/
psychologist as well as an English tutor and wannabemystery/suspense
author, I've learned an awful lot about how some folks are able to
"manipulate" not only the system but the people they meet.  However,
this awareness does NOT mean that I see psychopaths and sociopaths
under every rock or behind every pair of eyes in the classroom or
tutoring center!  I hope I never get that cynical or burned out!

By the way, if I'm ranting too much on this thread, I hope you'll
forgive me and just sigh and delete future messages unread or just
tell me to shut up for a while!

Peggy Keller
English Instructional Technician
Assistance Centers for Education
Albuquerque Technical Vocational Institute
525 Buena Vista SE
Albuquerque, NM  87106