Once upon a time there was a little 2nd grade boy. He was new to a school, and he brought with him, all his problems and issues. Sent to live with dad after mom "couldn't take it any more", a pre-primer reading level, an evil stepmother, and siblings who did not like him, he didn't stand a chance.
After a couple of weeks, it became apparent that this child was a "problem". Inappropriate language, bullying, no work, etc...His teacher (not me) knew this, but she also realized that he came from a place of trouble. So, instead of scolding him constantly, she decided to love him. Instead of throwing up her hands in despair, she found ways to get him the help he needed. And most of all, she loved him, and he knew it. He was disciplined, and he had consequences, but, she loved him nonetheless.
While she struggled to help him, "they" began to plan how they would get him out of their school. They had his teacher attend meetings, and asked her about his aggressive nature. She refused to go along with their program, and forced them to help him, instead of making him "someone else's problem." And he changed. Little by little, he changed. By the end of the year, he wasn't a brand new child, but he wasn't the child that had entered that school. And as difficult as it was, his teacher made a decision to retain him because he wasn't ready.
Fast forward. His dad is in jail for a while, so he has no buffer between himself, stepmom, and siblings. But saddest of all, he has no place to be loved. His new teacher sees him as a problem. She recounts stories of how she disciplines his every little transgression to his former teacher with relish. Where is her humanity? She resents the fact that every morning, yes, every morning, he visits his former teacher. Where else can he get love? Where else can he have someone listen to his stories of a life that would be difficult for most adults? Unfortunately, I have no idea how this story ends, maybe his former teacher is enough to buffer the negativity in his life, and allow him to change for the better, maybe not.
I think of those two words Angela Maiers promotes, "You Matter." I am blessed, I know I matter. I have many people in my lives who let me know that. Others are not so fortunate, especially our students. We have to remember that we may be the only good thing that happens to them all day. We have to care. Sometimes we have to overlook their negatives and try to find a positive. We have to let them know they matter.
Update: He moved so I really don't know how his story ends. But, I know in his next grade, with a different teacher, he thrived.
Saturday, October 29, 2011
Friday, October 21, 2011
I walked into the copy room and this was sitting on a table with the words: "This is a must READ :)". I agree, and I think it is also a "Must SHARE!" I Googled it and realized it has been around for years, but I got a laugh out of most of them!:)
- You get a secret thrill out of laminating things.
- You can hear 25 voices behind you and know exactly which one belongs to the child out of line.
- You walk into a store and hear the words, "It's Ms./Mr. ____________ and know you have been spotted.
- You have 25 people who accidentally call you Mom/Dad at one time or another.
- You can eat a multi-course meal in under 25 minutes.
- You've trained yourself to go to the bathroom at two distinct times of the day, lunch and planning period.
- You start saving other people's trash, because most likely, you can use that toilet paper tube or plastic butter tub for something in the classroom.
- You believe the Teacher's Lounge should be equipped with a margarita machine.
- You want to slap the next person who says, "Must be nice to work 7 to 3 and have summers off".
- You believe chocolate is a food group.
- You can tell if it's a full moon without ever looking outside.
- You believe that unspeakable evils will befall you if anyone says, "Boy, the kids are sure mellow today."
- You feel the urge to talk to strange children and correct their behavior when you are out in public.
- You believe in aerial spraying of Ritalin.
- You think caffeine should be available in intravenous form.
- You spend more money on school stuff than you do on your own children.
- You can't pass the school supply aisle without getting at least 5 items!
- You ask your friends to use their words and explain if the left hand turn he made was a "good choice" or "bad choice."
- You find true beauty in a can full of perfectly sharpened pencils.
- You are secretly addicted to hand sanitizer.
- You understand, instantaneously, why a child behaves in a certain way after meeting his/her parents.
Saturday, October 1, 2011
I have a "writing block", and sometimes my kids write during the block, and sometimes they don't. But, my students write all day. A "writing block" is not required to teach writing, writing is required. I am sure we are all in agreement, our students have to write!
There are so many ways to incorporate writing into the curriculum, but my favorite tool is blogging. I use Kidblog because it is simple to set up, kid and teacher friendly, and safe. My students love the ability to have an audience on Kidblog. What better way to motivate students to write well, then to know other people, all over the world, will read what you have posted? An authentic audience creates an authentic writer!(Quadblogging , Comments4Kids, and my TwitterPLN provide an excellent audience)
Of course, this doesn't happen automatically. But as time goes on, and they receive more comments, they begin to take ownership of what they post on their page. I sent the link to their parents in order to allow them to become invested in their child's writing. I have a student who edits over the weekend, the weekend! She edited 5 of her posts in one weekend.
Every day, during at least one subject, my students write. They write in their notebooks first, this gives me a chance to have a conference, if necessary. It gives them a chance to edit and proofread. They might write to explain how to solve a Math problem, tell a story using their Word Sort words, research a topic, give their opinion on an article from Tweentribune, there are numerous opportunities.
But what I love the most, is the question, "Can I post this on my blog?" My blog. They can post wherever they have Internet access. Our PLVRoom8 is my writer's motivator! Every student in my class has at least one post so far, but the school year has just begun. I'm looking forward to finding the author in all of them.
Write on, kids, write on! :)