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Strategy #1: To examine your own beliefs, attitudes and values…examine what "family" means

Story: During a class discussion, Sally, a 10th-grade English teacher in her second year of teaching, learned that Rob was living with his uncle, who works the night shift at the local filling station. She had noticed that lately, Rob was coming to school looking tired, and that his clothes had not been laundered recently. He'd been sitting at the back of the room, separate from his peers, and seemed disengaged from his work. Was he even reading the assigned novel? Was he getting any assistance with finding resources for I-Search Project? These were issues she decided to discuss with her mentor: "Hey, Margaret, I'm glad we had a time to talk set up for today.  I have a situation that I'm not sure what to do about. I've got this student in my 10th-grade English class who I just found out is living with his uncle, who works the night shift! He has no female in the household who is seeing to it that he gets rest and stays clean.  No wonder he hasn't been doing well at school..."

Talk about...

  • What assumptions is Sally making about what makes up a "family"?
  • How is her definition of "family" influencing how she understands Rob's problems?

As Sally's mentor, what strategies could Margaret use to help Sally examine her assumptions?  The What does "family" mean? tool could be a helpful place to begin a conversation.

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