Category Archives: classroom

That One Student

It hit me a couple of days ago.  I don’t have that “one” student.  That one kid whose name I always have to call, that one student who drives me crazy.

I usually have one every year.  I had C last year.  A few years ago it was T.  I had a girl once, K.  She was a handful.  This year there really isn’t anyone.  It must mean I’ll get a really bad kid before the school year is over.


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State Testing

…is here.

It’s a bittersweet time, at least for me.

Testing means no planning for the morning.  No teaching.  Just a quiet room full of test-takers.  So planning is easier.  During the testing weeks, we also get a longer recess, so that’s nice, too.  But walking around during the test, I can get a glimpse of the answers the students are putting.  And sometimes that can be heartbreaking.  Seeing a student put the stupidest answer, on a type question we just went over the week before, just makes you want to cry.  Or watching a student who struggles with reading (yes, even in the fourth grade) tear through the test and finish first, in about an hour too early.

Or the kid who breaks his pencil at the tip, then tries to hold it together to answer the questions, instead of raising his hand and asking for a new one.

You tell them to take their time.  You tell them to read carefully.  But sometimes, that just doesn’t help.

Testing takes all morning.  We start the test at about 9, and don’t finish until 11:15, which is our recess.  Just about everyone finishes in that time, but some just barely finish, and some have to go to the extra time room to finish.  You want students to take their time, because if they finish too early, they may sit around for close to an hour with nothing to do but read a book.  Sure, that sounds good to me and you, but to a student, that’s grueling.

I had one boy today that, during the math portion, would just stare out in space from time to time, as if the answer was written somewhere on the ceiling.  I have another boy who just sits and gels for about 5 minutes at a time.  It looks like he stayed up til 3 a.m. or something (I doubt he did, but you never know).

It gives me a lot of time.  I’m supposed to walk around the class and monitor, and I do.  But I can’t walk around for the entire 2 hours and 15 minutes.  I walk around, then sit.  Walk around, then sit.  Sometimes I’ll check papers while I walk around, or while I sit.

But I gotta keep moving.  One year, our principal walked around the school, and if she found teachers sitting at their desks, wrote them a note in their box reminding them to keep moving.

What ever.

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A’s Writing

The king who rained

I remember when I was little.  My family were saying weird word that I didn’t know, like my sister has a frog in her throat, and my daddy says there fork in the road, or sometimes my mom tell me to get the hair spray and when I give it to her she says I am a little deer.  But when I grew up the wird word they told me were hyperbole.  I will never forget those word.

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C’s Antics

I have to tell you, C’s behavior in class has improved.  He still drives me a little nuts, though.  He tends to pout when he gets in trouble, even if I just have to mention his name.  And then I lose him for about 3 or 4 minutes.

His out-of-class behavior, however, has not improved.  He is still getting in trouble when it’s time to line up.  He seems to call people names frequently, and make fun of people.  And he seems to be disrespectful to adults other than myself.  He gets discipline reminders, often more than one, almost daily (most students don’t get any).

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C and His Dad

Met with C, his dad, and the principal today.  Explained to dad that C was quietly singing (but doing it so his table could hear) “The Itsy Bitsy Spider” with the hand motions.  I looked at him and got his attention, and expected the behavior to stop – which it would have for 99% of students in any grade.  But it didn’t.

So a few seconds later I had him turn a pin, and explained to him in not-a-quiet voice that I when he is obviously behaving poorly, and when I look at him, and he at me, I expect that behavior to stop.

I told his dad that C tends to pout when he gets in trouble, instead of owning up to his bad choice, and moving on with good choices.  So his dad, the principal, and I all tried to explain to him that mistakes happen, poor choices are made.  But when you get caught making them, change your behavior and move on.  Realize it is his fault for the punishment, say your sorry, and change.

That doesn’t seem to be happening.

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C Hates His Old Teacher

And I know why.  I feel like I constantly have to keep my eyes on him.  And I feel like I’m continually calling his name.  I’m trying to explain to him that I don’t want to pick on him, but when I see him doing someting wrong, I have to get him to stop.

C tends to get pouty.  When I need him to turn a pin for something, he gets this look on his face.  He seems real angry.  He doesn’t act angry, but he looks it.  And he won’t listen to me after that.  Not for a bit, anyhway.  And he won’t look at me either.

It’s like he’s mad at me for picking on him.  I try to tell him that I’m only calling him out because he’s doing something wrong.  And trust me, I’m trying to give him lots of warning.  But he just doesn’t learn.

The other day I saw him out of the corner of my eye.  It looked like he was tossing something at the girl across from him.  But she wasn’t complaining, so I ignored the behavior, hoping it would stop.  But it didn’t.  He kept doing it, and a few seconds later I heard him say, “Got ya!”

I can’t ignore that.

So I busted him.  Had him turn his pin.  He got up all angrily.  I tried to have him stop so he would listen to me while I asked him why he was made, but he would stop, wouldn’t look at me, and wouldn’t reply to me.  So I called him back to his seat and very calmly explained to him that he’s only in trouble because of the actions he chose to do.

No change in behavior.

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A New Kid

First day back, I get a call from my principal.  She wants to tell me about a new kid I’m getting.  Apparently his dad asked the district to be moved to our school because he liked the way our principal handled students.

This kid – I mean student – has evidently been suspended at least 3 times THIS SCHOOL YEAR, for things like throwing his backpack at someone.  And I get him in my class.

Oh good.

But the principal and behavioral specialist, a very well-liked-by-the-students Mr. Farell, have already met with him and his dad, and he’s going to start out on a behavior contract.  And he’s NOT going to have any of these problems here at Westmont.  Well, we’ll see.

Turns out he’s a nice enough kid.  I’ll call him “C.”  Very well spoken, polite, good looking.

We’ll see.

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