show me, teach me, blog me

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Aug 26 2008

Umm….can he read?

I had a student who is a behavior problem sent to my room today by my lead teacher. It’s funny, I feel like as soon as I send one out, I get another one back in. This child brought a worksheet with him and refused to do it. First he said he had no pencil. So I gave him a crayon. Then he said he didn’t understand. So I told him to read the directions because that’s why they put them on the top, not for decoration. (Yeah, I’m sassy with the kids sometimes.) Then it hit me…he couldn’t read. I called his teacher and said “Um…can he read?” Teacher said “I think so. I think he’s just lazy.”

So I got out a decodable book and pulled him aside privately and said, “Read this to me, please.” He tried, but just couldn’t read “Once there was a tiny frog.” He said “On-se three wass a tin f..f…fff…” And burst into tears. I gave him a hug and said “Who do you live with?”
“My mom.”
“Any brothers or sisters?”
“Older or younger?”
“Older. He’s 15.”
“Good. How about an auntie or granny, do you see them everyday?”
“Perfect. Forget the worksheet. Take this home and I want you to read it with them 5 times a day. Come back on Tuesday and read it to me.” I know I have kids who struggle with reading, but not being able to read even the most basic of sight words. Not being able to sound out the words! It’s a travesty.

On another note, I had a student walk into the bathroom and shout “what the F***!” Since he admitted to it I decided to let it slide…until 10 minutes later when I saw him kick a boy in the groin 3 times because the other boy “touched” him. He was suspended for 3 days. Last year I felt bad when my students were suspended. This year I’m done feeling bad.

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    An Elementary School Teacher in the Show Me State

    St. Louis
    Elementary School
    Elementary Education

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