This year, I have a very challenging class. (Substitutes pray that I never have to take off for any reason!) In fact, in October, I was seriously thinking about taking a years leave of absence to do some serious sole searching about whether or not I wanted to remain in teaching. Well, we are at the half way point of the year, and the class is still a challenge, but I'm no longer thinking about taking a year's leave of absence and here is why.
My youngest student turned five the day before school started and didn't have a clue how to hold a pencil/crayon, much less how to color or write his name. We have a writing program that we started this year, and after several weeks of dotting the letters in his name so that he could at least trace it, I finally stopped doing it, because I felt it was time for him to try doing it on his own. One day, I was using the overhead, and I was writing my name on the transparency, and the students were supposed to write their names on their papers. To my surprise, this student wrote "my name" almost perfectly. So the next day, I wrote "his" name on the transparency, and he copied it nearly perfect on his own paper. Yes, he had a name tag on his desk, and it had been there since school started, but he learned how to write it from copying from the overhead. Now he can write his name with no help at all.
No amount of money makes me feel as good as I feel when a struggling student learns how to do something!
I am feeling soooo good about this...
Posted by Tina
I teach 7th and 8th grade science and math. I have a young man I had as a 7th grader last year. He didn't come to school on a regular basis, and when he was in school he was disruptive and a problem. He certainly NEVER did any work.
We, as a team of teachers, tried everything under the sun. Nothing worked for more than a day or two. Mom already had him in mental health treatment but she was noncompliant with medication. She wouldn't sign him into a more structured school setting. Our main office dragged their feet in a transfer to an alternative school.
He started this year as an 8th grader (was supposed to be held back but we thought him to be too disruptive and out of control to be in with kids two to three years younger since he was already held back in elementary school). He does not have learning disabilities and is in fact very intelligent.
This year has been a repeat of last year. He is with same teachers and we are a very tight and well structured team. Nothing had changed...in fact it got worse. Then...he said that he wanted to play basketball. Everybody immediately said...nooooooooooo....poor behavior and grades. I begged..no...pleaded with my team to try and contract with him because I had never seen him appear to care about something so much and I could tell he was on his meds because his mood was more stabilized. I won my team over and we contracted with him for the ability to play on the team: No acting out behavior, attend school every day unless he has a note from Dr. or PO and complete class work and homework.
He said okay, I can do that.
As of today....it has been THREE ENTIRE WEEKS. Hear me when I tell you that this is a record. And.....I just got done correcting science tests. He got a 95% (A) on the test! I wanted to call him TONIGHT (but my husband talked me out of it).
I also have to tell you that I just got done doing report card grades on Monday and I always tell the kids what they should expect to get so they can check me in case I make a mistake bubbling the sheets. He was 5 points from a D (which was the highest average he had ever gotten) since he had worked last two weeks of marking period. I gave it to him (didn't tell him) because I figured it might further propel him forward. I also figured if it didn't....I had nothing to lose because he had failed first marking period and if he reverted to old habits, he would fail 3rd and 4th and then fail the year. I took a chance that it might help motivate him.
When he saw his slip of paper with his D, it was like a small child seeing his most treasured present under the Christmas tree. He was sooooo happy. His mom came to school today just to make sure everything was okay. She wasn't used to NOT getting calls from us. I can't wait to send home a copy of the test tomorrow. Woooooo hooooo!!!!! These are the moments ...
Browse through the latest posts on the Chatboard...