One of my students has great potential, but has continually been “slacking off” and not taking school seriously. I’ve tried multiple interventions, but have had no success.

Until the past week. “Karen” (not her real name) has really been on fire over the past five or six days.

At lunchtime today I asked her what had made the difference for her. Her response: “I promised you I would work hard.”

I had forgotten about it, but early last week I had half-jokingly asked her to raise her right hand and promise she would get serious.

Obviously, I would have preferred that she had decided to get to work because of her own desires, but we can build towards that on the success she’s been having.

It’s another commentary on the importance of relationships, since without a good one I suspect it would be unlikely that she would have taken the promise seriously. And it demonstrates the importance of us teachers having tons of items in our “toolbox” to try because you never know for sure which one is going to work….