Organizational Excellence

People and Process Improvement

Connecting With Dusty

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I mentioned in the “Cipher” section of What Drives You?  that I always took extra steps to connect with “tough case” students in classes I was assigned to substitute teach in. Validation of that strategy succeeding came once again yesterday when I ran into “Dusty”. He smiled and said “hey, Mr. Cool Sub! How ya been?” It was good to see him, and we visited a while before moving on.

Dusty and I have some history between us. He remembered me, and I sure remembered him from over six years ago…..

Before my first day assigned to sub a week for Dusty’s class, I was warned about him by his regular teacher-that he was an especially surly, disruptive, troublesome student and I shouldn’t give him an inch. On down the standard list. I identified Dusty first thing, slouched down in his chain-drooping gothic black clothes and five piercings that I could see, scowling “don’t mess with me, I’m bad”.

Enough of that. Before class started, I walked along the rows of students and set the strategy in motion. Simply “hey Dusty, how’s it going?” as I passed his desk. No response beyond a dark stare, but none expected. He had his game face on, after all.

In the halls, I greeted him every time I saw him. Same thing every morning in the classroom. Toward the end of the week, he finally walked up to me before class. “You know what’s cool about you?” he said, looking me square in the eye. “You know my name. My other teachers don’t even care if I’m alive.”

How powerful is that?

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Written by Craig

November 11, 2012 at 2:11 am

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