Hanging In: Strategies For Teaching The Students Who Challenge Us Most

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Jeffrey Benson

Hanging In
196 pages
ISBN: 9781416617556

Every teacher faces students whose unique mixture of family history, past traumas, or disabilities tests their skills and tries their patience. In Hanging In: Strategies for Teaching the Students Who Challenge Us Most, veteran educator Jeffrey Benson shows educators the value of tenacity and building connections in teaching the students who most need our help. This essential guide includes:

  • Detailed portraits based on real-life students whose serious challenges inhibited their classroom experience: and how they eventually achieved success;
  • Strategies for how to analyse your students' challenges and develop individualised plans to help them discover a sense of comfort with learning: with in-depth examples of plans in action;
  • Recommendations for students' teachers, therapists, and social workers on how to gain skills and support and not lose hope through the ups and downs of the work; and
  • Specific advice for administrators on constructing systems and procedures that give all our students the best chance for success.

Just as teaching the students who challenge us is among our most frustrating experiences as educators, sticking with students until they finally "get it" is among our most rewarding. In Hanging In, you'll find the inspiration and field-tested ideas necessary to create a patient and supportive environment for even the most demanding cases in the classroom.

Table of Contents


Chapter 1: Toni: Absolutes and Teachable MomentsThis story centers on a student whose needs bring to question which elements of the schools culture are absolute, and which can bend.

Chapter 2: Charlie and Dean: Creative TransitionsThe stories of Charlie and Dean reveal the problems with transitions: some are about the physical hurdles in schools, and some are about the atypical hurdles buried within the students.

Chapter 3: Rosa: Sitting Together in SilenceThe story of Rosa is about the strength of silently hanging in when enough words have already been spoken.

Chapter 4: Marcus: Adults Always Have Ulterior MotivesThe story of Marcus is about a student who doesnt share the goals that adults have implicitly put into place for him.

Chapter 5: Paul: His Chaos, Staff PatienceThe story of Paul is about a student whose learning disability challenges the staffs patience and compassion.

Chapter 6: Cedric: Performing But Not LearningThe story of Cedric is about how, in our effort to be positive, we can mistake guessing for understanding.

Chapter 7: Amanda: Guess What the Teacher Is ThinkingAmandas story is about teaching the freedom to think for ones self.

Chapter 8: Jay and Tito: The Secondary CurriculumThe stories of Jay and Tito illustrate the innumerable considerations and decisions teachers make in choosing what is best for the individual, for the school, and for society.

Chapter 9: Jasmine: The Teacher Stands StillThe story of Jasmine is about a student who needs a very distant relationship from her teacher.

Chapter 10: Lou: Perfectionism and AmbivalenceThe story of Lou is a lesson in tolerance for the idiosyncratic ways students grow.

Chapter 11: Katerina: Will This Lesson Be Fun?The story of Katerina and her classmates is about the expectation to stretch our lesson plans to their limits, with the intention of leaving no brain behind.

Chapter 12: Derek: Slow ProcessingThe story of Derek illustrates how a student can silently struggle with a disability that is mistaken for defiance.

Chapter 13: Leah: The Total School EnvironmentLeahs struggles to hang-in demonstrate that a schools commitment to its students is its richest curriculum.

ReferencesIndexAbout the Author