I've always been more interested in WHY rather than to HOW. The list of steps to do something can always be made in a short time, but WHY always brings more questions. Having said that, I'd make myself more durable patience wise. Not everyone's mind makes connections the way my mind does and at times I grow impatient. Good thing is that when faced with WHY I often find it a challenge that I can't resist.
Having a new class few years ago, I noticed a student that wouldn't write, he'd just look around. It wasn't that he was causing trouble or disrupt the teaching. He'd just sit quietly and often even look at his notebook, with a pencil in one hand and eraser in the other. I'd call out his name and point out that I expected him to write the notes in his notebook. He'd look in his notebook, touch the tip of his pencil, but still wouldn't write a single word. Now, this was an 11 years old boy, he'd been in classrooms since he was 6, he had to know the alphabet. And he did. I asked his former teacher about him and I got the typical "He's just lazy" answer. But somehow I didn't believe that. There had to be more to it and I set up my mind to find out what.
Few days later I had organized a reading lesson. But instead of students reading the text to themselves, I had them reading out loud to the class. This boy was so flustered he was reading as if he just learned how to - slowly and with lots of mistakes. I realized he was trying to guess the words. Other students were patient at the beginning, but after a minute, they started correcting him, asking him to hurry up. I was a bit confused. I asked him if he were supposed to wear glasses and he didn't say anything. Then I said to look me up after classes and the lesson continued.
After classes that day, he was patiently waiting for me. As we entered the classroom, I told him that there was nothing to be afraid of, that we were just going to talk. I found out that he was really good with clay, play doh etc. So I suggested a simple trade: I'd teach him to read better if he taught me how to make earrings out of FIMO and made an appointment for next week. But, I also told him that I need his parents' permission, so it would be nice one of his parents could come to school and meet me.
Next week his mother came and I asked her almost the same questions as I did her son. She was completely on the defensive saying his teachers hated him, they didn't care about her child, but as I pointed out that I asked for her not to tell her that her son was lazy, but to praise him about what he's teaching me, she went speechless. I told her about the trade her son and I were talking about and decided to meet in one month time. Him and I practiced working with play doh and reading and writing in turns and after few weeks, he started reading in front of the class. They were impressed and he was about to burst with pride.