Friday, May 16, 2008

Some days I just have to remind myself

About what all these kids have been through this year.

I am the third teacher they have had since August, not to mention any number of other substitutes that they had when one of the first two teachers had a sick day.

This week is one of those, where I felt every single adjustment, every single change that these poor kids have had to deal with.

I at the request of the principal, have been making parent communication a priority. I write at least a :) :l or :( in the agendas every afternoon. If I send home a :( there is always a comment about what happened, and in those cases for the most part I try to call the parents the next day to touch base.

Tuesday morning, there was the bathroom incident. One of the boys was flicking water off his hands, and hit another boy. This led to a kicking match in the restroom, and the rest of the boys to come running out telling on them. Which in turn led to referrals, notes home, phone calls and ISS on Wednesday for both of them.

Wednesday, all day, S, one of my boys, had a really hard day. Every time I turned around it seemed like he had a smart aleck comment to make, or had to talk about about almost everything. I have talked with his mom a couple of times since I started in the class, plus have met with the other adult staying with them. I know that his mom wants to know if he is struggling. I wrote a note in his agenda about his day, but he didn't take his agenda home. Plus when he got home, all he did was complain that I made him miss his entire recess (not true, but what ever). When his mom didn't see his agenda she came up to the school to get it, knowing that it probably meant that he had, had a hard time. No one in the school told me about this, I found out about it when she stopped by the classroom Thursday.

Thursday morning during writers workshop, one of the students noticed that S's mom was standing just outside the door, watching the class. I went to go talk to her, and she expressed that she was just watching S. (Mrs. S was teaching the writer's workshop again today, and I was observing, more on that here) After the lesson was done S's mom asked if she could talk to S, then asked to talk to me. She witnessed him goofing off, rolling his eyes, and just generally not doing what he was supposed to do. Then has asked if she can come and sit with him one day next week , and we are going to have a conference on Monday.

Wednesday afternoon, I had the students clean out their desks. I cleaned out the desks of two of my students who are not in the room at the time that we did it. The one little girl had a poem that she had written, that broke my heart. Just put it this way, it worried me enough that I kept it, and took it to her other teachers on Thursday morning (I would have taken it on Wednesday, but never had a chance to get away from my class). Then I spent the rest of the day Thursday reassuring her that she wasn't in trouble for what the poem said, and that if she needed anything she was to tell Mrs. S, Mrs. L, Mrs. T, Mrs. K, Mrs. C or myself (after she had talked to the counselor about the poem, and come back in the room crying).

Also this week we have the book fair going on. One of the boys (one of the two from Tuesday) brought money so he could get a tornado tube. He was $0.50 short so I pulled the $0.50 out of my bag, grabbed his money and ran up to the library to get it for him, when I was taking the poem to the other teacher. The other boy from Tuesday saw this and was upset because I wouldn't give him the money to buy a PSP game that they had for sale. I explained to him that I am not made of money, but $0.50 wasn't going to break me.

Then a while later our head custodian (who's son happens to be in my class), came up and told me that Mrs. M (the former long term sub) had given the librarian $15.00 for the kids to spend $1 each at the book fair. So I sent the students up one at a time to purchase their $1 item. When I went to send the second student (the one that wanted the PSP game)I gave him $0.50 so that it would be fair, went up and "COULDN'T FIND ANYTHING I WANT!!!!" (both of the boys are from lower income neighborhoods) . Then came back and POUTED for the next hour or so. His only saving grace was that he started doing the math in his head, that he could get a poster, if he could find another dollar at home. The wheels were turning, and it was neat to watch the process.

"If you will still loan me $0.50, and I still have the $1 from Mrs. M in the account, all I will need to do is find 4 quarters, or 10 dimes, or 20 nickels and I will have enough money to get a poster."

Yeah, I gave him $1.50, I am a sucker...

Then there was the fact that I wrote a note home asking that he finish his math homework. He was having a rough time. I still can't figure out what the deal was over the math homework. But he was so upset about it he was crying. I actually asked the principal to check in on him Friday morning at breakfast, because like I told her, it had to be something more than just the fact that he had homework.

Thursday I also had one little girl who I think took money out of one of the other student's bags. I think she put it back, and I couldn't prove it if I had to, but she was the one back there right before it was noticed as missing. And she was the one back there right before it was found.

Plus I have gotten more, Mrs. M never had us do it that way. Or Mrs. G did it this way. This week than I have the last two weeks.
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