I promised that this week would be about frustration. When I decided on this topic, I was originally thinking about student frustration, but I may even put a word in about teacher frustration! Let’s start with the students.
Most students with emotional disabilities have an extremely low tolerance for frustration. Maag calls it the “Back to Zero Rule” where past experience means nothing. These students cannot recall ever being successful. “Why bother trying, I’ll only fail.” So there is a lot of deserved praise in my class, with emphasis on the word “deserved” because students know when you’re merely appeasing them. The goal is to find a balance between challenging them (because they don’t want “baby work”) and making the level of work so difficult that it frustrates them. It may be a matter of the level of work or the amount of work; either one can be adjusted to accommodate individual student needs.