The forgotten ones are students in our classrooms who sit back quietly without making a sound, do the bare minimum, and go by without getting noticed.
School to me, can often be compared to a game of poker. You have a game that allows people to play hard and collect chips with the end jackpot of an all-in reward. Now in this game of poker, we have a few different types of players, the risk takers, the consistent players, the jokers, and the last but most important, the forgotten ones.
The Risk Takers; plenty of chips, willing to risk it all, take a chance, and not worry about the result
The Consistent Players: an average stack of chips, hard workers who work progressively toward the top
The Jokers; plenty of chips, distracting others, and playing every hand possible with no fear or care for the rules
The Forgotten Ones, the single chip players, the ones who make no sound and are never willing to play a hand
These forgotten ones are the most curious and the players that intrigue us the most. The ones were looking for that courage to risk it all or even play that one hand and find some success. The forgotten ones are students in our classrooms who sit back quietly without making a sound, do the bare minimum, and go by without getting noticed. So we ask ourselves, is it because they don’t want to be seen or play the game? Or is it because they fear that being visited will be the hand that risks it all, losing and never returning to the game again?
The school has become an arena for competition, encouraging kids to compete against each other through high-risk games or exams to seek out the best or the chip leaders. A stadium that doesn’t enable failure creates an atmosphere of fear and despair. Now being one of the forgotten ones means an atmosphere of anxiety, fear, and discouragement. An atmosphere that doesn’t encourage students to ask questions, learn from their mistakes, or seek help.
We need to change this game of poker called the school and create an atmosphere that encourages those forgotten ones to join in the fun. We need to enable our skills, be proactive with our thinking, and devise new ways to provoke failure and mistakes so that students learn and ask questions. Help students understand that it is all part of the process and that if we fail, try again. We need to increase those chips that students come to school with so they can play with every hand and risk it all without fearing ridicule, taunted, or undermined by their peers. A fear that the forgotten ones feel every day they come to school. Fear comes from the fact that they are only ever carrying one or two chips every day, wondering if it is worth risking it all or just continuing to be one of the forgotten ones.