An alternative high school setting can be a great alternative for middle and high school students that struggle in the so-called regular classroom setting. You may ask, “Why should these alternative schools be available when a student has been suspended for school?” It is really fairly simple. For many students, the day to day pressures of getting to school can become overwhelming. And then, once the pressure to do well in school and the desire to” fit in” come into play, the answer is fairly obvious. Life in the 21st Century can be rather exhausting at times, and the pressures can force students to start skipping classes. When, in all reality, they know it is not the right thing to do. Even adults have a difficult time doing the right thing all of the time. So, why should we expect our students to make the right choices in the classroom, when adults cannot meet those expectations?
For many students today, a positive relationship with a teacher is what many are lacking. Again, this seems simple. But, take into consideration that many high school teachers see close to 200 students on a daily basis. Do you honestly think that each and every teacher is able to make a connection with each student? With the increased demands of teachers, in regards to job performance, most teachers must focus on how and what they will teach. Therefore, the necessary relationships are not formed.
In an alternative school regular attendance is a requirement, as well as a desire to be in the classroom. With so many students needing a teacher that will form a relationship with them; the waiting lists to get into these schools can be lengthy. Once a student is accepted into an alternative school, they need to show that they will attend classes and work hard. It is truly to every student’s advantage to follow the program, as each student can be replaced rather quickly. With long waiting lists, only the students that truly want to be in school will get the second chance that they deserve.
The smaller classroom setting is beneficial to any student. But. it becomes a necessity for those students that need the teacher/student relationship to get through school. Many times students tend to get lost in the “sea of students” that surround them on a daily basis. Parents can help the situation, before the situation gets too far out of hand, by staying in contact with the administrators at the school. Just another reason why relationships are so important. When we, as parents, can have relationships with school administrators, it makes me wonder why all of our kids can’t have that type of relationships with their teachers. Once those notes from the school administrators start coming home due to attendance issues, that is the time for any parent to start asking questions as to why their child is skipping classes. This is the time for parents to talk with their kids and find out if an alternative school setting would help the situation.
Alternative schools are a great option for many of our kids. We, as parents and teachers, need to recognize the fact that all kids do learn differently. Many students need positive relationships, as well as a sense of ownership. When our students feel connected they will perform in the classroom, above and beyond their expectations! An alternative school may be just the answer! Remember, there is no magic mold, as all kids are equal and do have the potential to be successful in the classroom.