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Left behind.

One of my kids broke my heart a little today.

He ditched my class. Which I knew, because I'd seen him in the hall earlier that day. So come lunch, I sought him out. Asked him where he'd been. "The office...no. Uh...lemme think." We went to admin.

I talked him into coming to my room after school so I could help him with his homework (he was one of my seven - the only one who had nothing today either). Saw him in the hallway later and reminded him. Gave his last period teacher a heads up.

He showed. He sat down and got to work. I was looking up ESL information and wasn't paying much attention. I could see he was working hard, hunched over the paper, pen in hand. After 15 minutes or so, I went to check on him.

He'd written two sentences.

One said that he didn't like writing because it was too hard for him.

I scribed the rest for him, prodding him with questions and sentence starters to get anywhere. He doesn't like my school because the kids are mean. His favorite teacher is his science teacher from last year because she doesn't yell that much. He doesn't know if he's smart. He wouldn't tell me at first if his family speaks English or Spanish at home; after I explained that it was just so I knew, not to get him in trouble or anything, he thought for over a minute and then said English.

I saw his favorite teacher after he left. Told her what he said. She was stunned - never would have thought it. Maybe she was just the first one he could think of; he still said it.

This child is not just left behind - he's choking in the dust.

2 comments:

Mr. D said...

I know you probably did this, but you didn't mention it in your post... did you reassure this student that he "kicks ass and will change the world," and that you're going to do whatever you can to make that happen? It sounds like maybe no one has told him that before. You might also tell him you're proud of him for coming in after school, and that he can come in whenever you're there if he wants to. Sounds like this kid could use all the confidence boosting, caring and reassurance he can get!

teachin' said...

Mr. D - thanks. I didn't tell him specifically that he kicks ass :) but I did tell him how much I appreciate him coming in after school, and that I'll work with him any time he wants if there are things he needs some help with. I'll reemphasize today, though, that he's a great kid. We talked about how he plays football and joked around some about teams, so I'll keep that up too. And I will be going to talk to my administrator today to see if we can minimize consequences for this.

"I'm a dreamer but I ain't the only one Got problems but we love to have fun" -K'naan, "Dreamer"

I teach eighth grade Language Arts at an urban school. My kids kick ass and will change the world. I want everyone to know.
 
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