Home > Uncategorized > We Don’t Always Know the Whole Story

We Don’t Always Know the Whole Story

Today in my busy day I had a moment where it really made me think. In between classes on Tuesdays this winter I have been teaching power skating and hockey skills. The kids range in age from about 6-9 years of age. These kids vary in ability when it comes to skating in hockey.

I find my experiences on the ice much like my experiences in the classroom. The kids are all at different levels and as their instructor you need to reach everyone on the ice. One particular boy in our group always seems to have a hard time with being motivated. Sometimes he is skating and trying hard, but for the most part he is putting in little effort and often not listening. He is a quiet boy that doesn’t say alot to anyone. Even though he keeps to himself, the one session he inentionally body checked a fellow player into the boards. So I found it a bit peculiar that a quiet boy that keeps to himself would body check someone without being prevoked. Working with another instructor, we have both at times been frustrated with the up and down behaviour of this boy.

Before todays session on the ice, the boys foster father (which I didnt know was a foster parent until after the session) came up to me and encouraged me to push the boy. We discussed how we knew he was a strong skater but just lacked effort. The father informed me that although the boy could keep up to the strong skaters, he was intimidated by them.

So, as we proceeded with the on ice session I tried to pay close attention to the boy and try to motivate him to put in a solid effort on the ice. It seemed as though the effect had a one step forward, two steps back type effect. The boy started off putting in a great deal of effort but as the session went on, he disengaged himself and totally isolated himself from the group.

Eventually the lesson was over and the other instructor went over to talk to the boy to try and talk to him about his efforts. At that point the boy broke down in tears. There was obviously alot more going on in this kids head than skating and hockey.

After the session I spoke with the foster father. He told me that this boy (who is no older than 9) has been in 7 or 8 different foster homes. They took him into their home in October and immediately put him on skates. He has never played hockey before this fall. Learning that immediately impressed me with the skills he had gained in such a short time. The father also informed me that the boy, although quiet, sometimes has a violent outburst such as the body checking incident. The foster father also talked about the breakdowns he has from time to time.

All of this information really made me think about the kids and where they come from. In the classroom I have learned to think about these things but I never really thought about it at the hockey rink. Each and every kid you interact with comes with a different story and a different background. As a teacher/instructor/adult/etc you need to understand these thing and approach situations with an open mind and hope to reach these kids at some point in a positive way.

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Categories: Uncategorized
  1. msvolk
    March 17, 2011 at 12:05 AM

    What a great post Dallas…I hope that most teachers will be able to relate to fact that there is always more than meets the eye. After growing up with foster children in my own home, I was always very curious as to why people act the way they do and what motivates their actions. This has also transfered over into my teaching, which is (at many times) easier said than done. When meeting a new student, it is so easy to become frustrated and immediately compare him/her to the rest of the students – when in fact, we must first get to know that each behaviour must have a reason. Thanks for reminding me that every child has a story worth telling 🙂

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