Sunday, September 05, 2010

What do Students Need?

At any moment in a young person's life, he has something to talk about.  Being around young people is a study of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs.  At any one point, a student needs to talk about items from many points allow the spectrum.

He could talk about friendship dynamics, school challenges, participation, pending life decisions, college, etc.  Many students at all socioeconomic levels struggle with the lowest of food, shelter, safety, and power.  Above are some "Leave it to Beaver" items higher in Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs.

Ironically, students have the least access to individuals whom they trust.  They can't talk to friends, or they may be made fun of.  They can't talk to parents, they are often enforcers of discipline.  They can't talk to church leaders because they will be sent to Hell.  As many questions and needs as students have, they don't have confidants.  Just as adults and business leaders need confidants, young people need people they can trust.

Students need confidants.  Productive confidants are parents, grand-parents, teachers, advisors, or older siblings.  Dangerous confidants are manipulative factions: other students, gangs, and mass-media.  If students do have access to good information, they will find the closest information.

As a teacher, my core belief is:  At any time, a student has something to talk about.  I gave time for students and listened.  When I left teaching, I realized: At any time, everyone has something to talk about.  Adults have compartmentalized these "things to talk about."