In The Last Lecture, Randy Pausch describes a football coach he worked with as a nine-year-old kid. He describe a practice one day where the coach rode him pretty hard. An assistant said to him that it was a good thing the coach was getting on him, "When you're screwing up and nobody says anything to you anymore, that means they've given up on you".
That quote has stayed with me since I first read it several years ago. Roomie and I had it written on the white board in our room for several months. We yell at kids a lot. Now I don't mean screaming at the top of lungs yelling. I mean that stern teacher/mother voice that is better than a kick in the butt any day. We want them to succeed. We want them to be responsible human beings. We want those around them to see the possibilities that we do. We yell because we care.
At the beginning of every year, I believe I can reach every student. I know I can be the teacher that makes a difference. I don't just teach my subject area, I teach the kid. I help them learn how to be respectful--even to those who don't return the favor. I help them figure out where their crazy lives are headed--even if it's just for the afternoon. I help learn how to deal with parents, bosses and other teachers--just to make their days a little easier.
Really--I do. If I care enough about a kid, I care about what they do, how they act, the things they say. When I quit yelling, I have given up. I have given up on a couple this year. I simply don't care anymore about what they do. It is now up to them. Make me care. Make me want to yell again.