“Students who seek a teacher’s attention are at least showing they want a relationship with the teacher, they just don’t know how to connect in a positive way.”
– Dr. Linda Albert
I actually had a student say to me one day, ‘Mr. Jones, I was thinking of not coming to school today, but then I thought I could go see Mr. Jones so I decided to come to school.’ For every annoying, irritating moment they cause, the reality of the attention seeking student is that they sincerely, genuinely value our person as an educator and like the ‘idea’ of relating to us.
You cannot say that about every student in the classroom, or every person for that matter.
Recently I received a note that read, ‘You are the most amazing teacher I have had.’ That note is not coming from a power seeker, or a student who consistently displays revenge behavior. beyond their sincere desire to connect with us, the attention seeker becomes a source of encouragement, refreshment, and balance that helps us to maintain our sanity when having to face the challenges associated with power, revenge, and fear of failure behavior.
Yes, they can be annoying, irritating, but where does most of your affirmation and appreciation for what you do to serve the students come from? Who is most likely to ask how your day was? Who is it, consistently, that offers to assist you in cleaning up, or taking initiative to do the extra in assisting you when you’re having a ‘bad’ day? Of the 4 types of behaviors (attention, power, revenge, avoidance of failure) who will say, ‘Have a good day,’ at the moment when you needed it the most?
I have a young lady who consistently comes back to me, or makes it her mission, when class is dismissed to say to me, ‘Thank you,’ or, ‘Have a good day.’
The challenge of the educator is learning to redirect the behavior (attention seeking) in a manner that influences the student to take initiative in seeking it responsibly, wisely without making the child ‘feel bad for being a genuine, sincere person who likes to connect with people, adult included. easy in theory to discuss, but takes much patience and practice to master. How much easier it would be if only attention was what children sought from us as educators:-)
May God bless you and help you to apply effective strategies in reinforcing demonstration of positive attention seeking behaviors.
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