SUCCESS STORIES from Training Participants:
Term Paper for Breaking the Cycle of Failure by Ran Walp Spring Quarter 1992, Instructor Mary Robinson
This was a very motivating and exciting class for me. As a 54 year old high school counselor ~ I love my lob. I do find it very challenging as today's youth are very complex and they are raised is such different situations with such different amounts of love and support. This complexity in our youth of today is at epidemic level. The same type of situation existed years ago, but what has happened is that those kids had kids and the cycle has continued. What we have is a "diluting effect" where more and more students are being raised by parents who are disconnected from the school setting. This negative effect is not good for the school scene. The information presented in this unique class is really valuable information for those school personnel in the system that are willing and charged with energy to work and take risks in the process of working with At-Risk Youth.
This course should be called "Making Magic." I really find the information not new, as it really is mostly common sense stuff. But what is different and new is that instructor/writer Mary Robinson has the information organized and presented more effectively.
My case load is 317 students. That is a problem. I am applying the principle that I am trying to do fewer things better than a whole bunch of things poorly. I wish I could spread the wealth. As I get better I find things go easier with each student. I honestly believe that it is a combination of me getting better but also that the students see and feel that I care and they allow this process to work. The real answer is for more of this magic making to take place in the classroom where cooperative learning is being employed. This class has been very exciting for me. It has helped me put some of my skills together so that I am functioning better, and for that I sincerely thank you Mary Robinson. Don't be surprised to see me in one of your classes again. I affirm and visualize success to you in your business venture, but even greater success to you and your BJ. Thanks, Ron
Term Paper for Teachers As Counselor's Training by Carolyn Papulski, Spring Term 1993, Instructor, Mary Robinson Reynolds
I guess the most valuable thing I have learned from this experience has been that I can really look at a child whose outward appearances aren't the best, and realize that inside is a neat kid just waiting to blossom, Now that I "see" Billie in a new light, it is easy to reaffirm to him that he is lovable and capable. Because my schedule Is time constricting and demanding, I sometimes forget to take time to try to find that "little child" in each of my students, I didn't expect to find my time with Billie as much fun when I first starting working with him but after taking your class, I can truly say that my changed attitude towards Billie has been a worthwhile experience for me and I find myself even trying to do some of the same things with my other students. I try to keep telling myself that each one needs lots of encouragement and to make it a point every day to recognize the worthiness of each one I see.
Term Paper for Breaking Cycles of Failure, by A.McGuire Term 1992, Instructor, Mary Robinson
Attempting to make magic with some individuals can be an extremely difficult, unrewarding, and challenging task in the early stages. The most difficult aspect for me has been the idea that I need to generate positive thoughts or pheromones, about the person involved before I can make magic. I need to believe in an individual and have a positive vision for him/her before I can expect a positive outcome. This is quite a task when the individual doesn't shower you with positive feedback because she doesn't believe in herself. I have learned however, that Makin' Magic works, with persistence.
I have been doing a case study the past seven weeks using one of my twelve year old 7th grade social studies/language arts students. His name is Donald. I picked Donald because he is a silent one who will fall through the cracks of school bureaucracy if he doesn't get help quickly. He is not violent, vulgar, or angry. He is not a typical, loud and boisterous, attention—demanding twelve year old. His pleas for help are quiet and subtle. He breathes unwantedness and incompetence. I have actually been working with Donald since last fall when I began to notice this child who didn't care much about school, let alone himself. I have tried desperately to seek out ways to inspire him. His lack of success and unhappy nature have been nagging at me ever since I met him.
Earlier in the year, I approached Donald with doubt and contrived encouragement. I was a good example of frustration. This was exactly what Donald was used to. Frustrated adults nagging at him to do things he knew would never meet their expectations. I directly reinforced his negative core believe of incompetence and indirectly made him feel unwanted. Even though I was putting a significant amount of emotional energy into this child, it wasn't doing any good. I verbally nagged Donald, wrote passes requiring him to come in at lunch, called his nagging mother, conveyed disappointment to him when he didn't follow through, had him design a behavior contract which he, his mother, and I signed. Amidst all this negative energy, I wasn't able to see the core beliefs that Donald was harboring. It's no wonder we still get along.
It is now plain as day for me to see the negativism that surrounds Donald's spirit. With this knowledge, I have been rejuvenated and have found a new passage to Donald's spirit. I am optimistic.
Donald's most obvious negative core beliefs about himself are that he is unwanted and incompetent. When I talk with Donald and work with him now, I intentionally focus on the opposites of those beliefs and convey that message to Donald. I tell him that he is talented. I tell him that I enjoy having him come to my room to work. I tell him that I sincerely care about him and want him to be happy. I tell him that he is competent and loved. I show him these feelings by sitting with him at the same table in the mornings. I give him extra pats on the back for completing the assignment with little assistance. And, the assistance that I was giving him was no more than what any other child might need. I believed that he could complete assignments and would complete them to the best of his ability. This attitude and belief created and fueled my new attitude and response to Donald. It was a bit like a miracle to see the changes in Donald.
However, it has taken about eight weeks for there to be noticeable change in Donald. I wish for him that it was October 22, rather than May 22 because Donald has made so much progress. I hate to see the school year end because Donald has found a source of unconditional, positive help at school in my classroom.
It is now quite easy for me to visualize myself in a positive, new response. I believe in Donald so the new, more optimistic response comes easily. Virtually everything I say to him is somehow related to "I really care about you," and "this is really good stuff." He honestly seems to want this because he keeps coming back for more. His level of commitment is now active. When we first met he didn't care. There was no reason for commitment. Once in a while he dips into passivity but on the whole he seems to enjoy being active and now he has a reason to be active.
Donald is now keeping up with all assignments in my class and spends extra time in my room on his own. He is an inspiration to others. My attitude about Donald has changed significantly since last fall. I have learned that he is very capable and I have learned to really care about him. I hope that I have provided him with the tools and confidence to believe in himself. These he will need to maintain his active level of commitment.