Sunday, June 03, 2007

I Wish I Didn’t See Myself in This

I got a really neat book from the IRA a few months back titled How We “Do” School: Poems to Encourage Teacher Reflection, by Karen Morrow Durica. It’s a great collection of school-related poems, some poignant, some thoughtful, some hilarious. The one that gave me the most pause was called The Bully:

School was a dreadful place for me.
He was there every day.
Loomed over me;
Made me feel small
No matter how I tried to please.

He delighted in my embarrassment,
Pointed out my flaws;
Gave little or no care
Of who might hear my limitations
Or see me wince at his words.

He oppressed me with his power.
Daily made sure
I knew my place,
And had no illusions
Of moving into the accepted crowd.

I ached for his approval.
He gave it to a favored few.
I was tormented knowing
I never shone in any way
But in his disappointment.

I could not retaliate.
My impotence was guaranteed.
He was bigger than I;
Older than I;
Smarter than I.
He was my teacher.
I have to catch myself sometimes, because I could really see myself coming off like the guy in this poem. The thing that gets to me most is the kid who won’t try. One of my little guys writes 7 to answer any addition problem that he doesn’t immediately know the answer to. I’ve told him to slow down on his timings, I’ve shown him several ways to get to the correct answers, I’ve spent the time; he’s made a conscious choice, here, to be lazy and not try.

The other day I stopped him mid-timing and asked to use his strategies—to try. He shrugs and carries on like I’m not even there. After the timer went off I took his paper and put it in the garbage can.

“Why aren’t you going to grade mine?” he asked.
“What would be the point?” I asked back. “You didn’t try hard, and you know it.”
“I did too!”
“Aaron, here you told me that 2 plus 1 is 7. Here you told me that 8 plus 0 is 7. Here you’ve told me 5 plus 5 is 7. What is 2 plus 1?”
“Three.”
“So why the 7?”
“I don’t know.”
“I do. And that’s why I’m not grading this.”

Looking back, I was sharp with him. I bullied him. I told him his work was garbage, and I meant it.

But was I wrong?

At what point do you set aside patience and make the student responsible for their own work? When they fail in this responsibility in a spectacular way, how many opportunities to succeed are they owed before you let them own their failure? Can “being nice” get in the way of letting the kid solve his own problems?

I’m thinking about this lately because I’m reading Rafe Esquith’s new book, Teach Like Your Hair’s On Fire. Esquith is a magical writer and the classroom he describes is the one that I wish I had, but as I read I just marvel at the grace and dignity that seems to come as naturally to him as breathing does to the rest of us.

He has grace; I have grump.

I’ve got to do better.

6 Comments:

Blogger Marie said...

I've got a class full of "Aaron"s. I think you acted correctly. I do similar things and truly hope that one time, what I do or say will sink in and they will actually try...I've never had a class like this before. We are dealing with children who don't have consequences, I believe, but there's got to be more to it than that. It is definitely frustrating!

7:06 PM  
Blogger Jim Anderson said...

I figured I'd fight poetry with poetry.

10:33 PM  
Blogger Dana said...

I think I might've called his folks to find out if they know of any reason for this - more often I've seen kids skip what they didn't know.

Have you read/heard Taylor Mali's poem called (I think) "What Teachers Make"?

1:49 PM  
Blogger "Ms. Cornelius" said...

And yet-- why play the game of letting him think that that level of "work" is in any way acceptable? Getting away with it before is probably why he is trying it now.

Like, I have students who think they deserve partial points for the completely wrong answer because "at least I didn't leave it blank." What a practice like this does is actually hurt the kids because they have to get fewer right to pass. I am here to help my students. And even save them from themselves and their less-than-wise impulses.

Here's a news flash: Laurel and Hardy did not attempt to fly at Kitty Hawk. No points.

Don't beat yourself up over this.

4:31 PM  
Blogger Sarah McIntosh Puglisi said...

You can change you.

You can do that.

Children aren't lazy, they are resistant. And that is a defense.It might help you to do some work on motivation, both in theory and in rooms and also to work on finding different ways and modalities to approach tasks. Then to i'd problem solve with the child. it could be a task initiation issue, and need a starter strategy. It could be difficulty processing, it could be the child has a difficult life or abusive one. And I'd seriously watch how I approached parents. It could be the child has a learning stlye not working with yours.

But if a BULLY poem resonates with you then you need to stop and consider something. What canthis child teach you. Perhaps yu are not realizing these kids are gifts. From them we learn how to do our work. I'd seriously sit with this bully thought.

I've been bullied. I know that as a learning technique. What it does is assume things about you that you are required to believe and accept that somehow inside you know are not exactly right.

Labeling a child lazy is bullying by definition as is some of the support you gathered here and some of what you state. It might be you need to sit a long while with what learning should be.

In such times I pull away and think, if you listen to these hard behind comments you are missing the subtlety and art of the job substituting the hammer it can be.

Listen to your intuition. Think, pursue those that are able to hear that this might be a warning you need to heed...deep water....

really.

10:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

豆豆聊天室 aio交友愛情館 2008真情寫真 2009真情寫真 aa片免費看 捷克論壇 微風論壇 大眾論壇 plus論壇 080視訊聊天室 情色視訊交友90739 美女交友-成人聊天室 色情小說 做愛成人圖片區 豆豆色情聊天室 080豆豆聊天室 小辣妹影音交友網 台中情人聊天室 桃園星願聊天室 高雄網友聊天室 新中台灣聊天室 中部網友聊天室 嘉義之光聊天室 基隆海岸聊天室 中壢網友聊天室 南台灣聊天室 南部聊坊聊天室 台南不夜城聊天室 南部網友聊天室 屏東網友聊天室 台南網友聊天室 屏東聊坊聊天室 雲林網友聊天室 大學生BBS聊天室 網路學院聊天室 屏東夜語聊天室 孤男寡女聊天室 一網情深聊天室 心靈饗宴聊天室 流星花園聊天室 食色男女色情聊天室 真愛宣言交友聊天室 情人皇朝聊天室 上班族成人聊天室 上班族f1影音視訊聊天室 哈雷視訊聊天室 080影音視訊聊天室 38不夜城聊天室 援交聊天室080 080哈啦聊天室 台北已婚聊天室 已婚廣場聊天室 夢幻家族聊天室 摸摸扣扣同學會聊天室 520情色聊天室 QQ成人交友聊天室 免費視訊網愛聊天室 愛情公寓免費聊天室 拉子性愛聊天室 柔情網友聊天室 哈啦影音交友網 哈啦影音視訊聊天室 櫻井莉亞三點全露寫真集 123上班族聊天室 尋夢園上班族聊天室 成人聊天室上班族 080上班族聊天室 6k聊天室 粉紅豆豆聊天室 080豆豆聊天網 新豆豆聊天室 080聊天室 免費音樂試聽 流行音樂試聽 免費aa片試看A片 免費a長片線上看 色情貼影片 免費a長片 本土成人貼圖站 大台灣情色網 台灣男人幫論壇 A圖網 嘟嘟成人電影網 火辣春夢貼圖網 情色貼圖俱樂部 台灣成人電影 絲襪美腿樂園 18美女貼圖區 柔情聊天網 707網愛聊天室聯盟 台北69色情貼圖區 38女孩情色網 台灣映像館 波波成人情色網站 美女成人貼圖區 無碼貼圖力量 色妹妹性愛貼圖區 日本女優貼圖網 日本美少女貼圖區 亞洲風暴情色貼圖網 哈啦聊天室 美少女自拍貼圖 辣妹成人情色網 台北女孩情色網 辣手貼圖情色網 AV無碼女優影片 男女情色寫真貼圖 a片天使俱樂部 萍水相逢遊戲區 平水相逢遊戲區 免費視訊交友90739 免費視訊聊天 辣妹視訊 - 影音聊天網 080視訊聊天室 日本美女肛交 美女工廠貼圖區 百分百貼圖區 亞洲成人電影情色網 台灣本土自拍貼圖網 麻辣貼圖情色網 好色客成人圖片貼圖區 711成人AV貼圖區 台灣美女貼圖區 筱萱成人論壇 咪咪情色貼圖區 momokoko同學會視訊 kk272視訊 情色文學小站 成人情色貼圖區 嘟嘟成人網 嘟嘟情人色網 - 貼圖區 免費色情a片下載 台灣情色論壇 成人影片分享 免費視訊聊天區 微風 成人 論壇 kiss文學區 taiwankiss文學區

6:56 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home