Tuesday, May 22, 2007

May 22nd

The 5th graders and 3rd graders worked on their ‘Eye’ poems today. During the first hour, I was surprised by how well most of the students took to the project.

There were some minor flare ups today with that first group, my 3rd graders, that I think highlight part of the challenge of teaching in an after school program. It seems simple enough – in theory, you come in for a few hours, provide very particular and specific guidance and activities and go your merry way. The reality, of course is quite different. Today, for example, in just my third grade group of about 18 or so kids, I had a carry over fight from the playground between two girls, one trying to apologize to the other one who ‘refused to accept’, and there was Kassidy, who has had on going problems, but who last week I gave an award for leadership and improvement. Today though he was having an ‘off day’, you could tell he felt disappointed in himself when I finally had to ask him to not partake in our activity. I felt bad, but I think he got the message about showing respect to himself, his fellow students and to me. And there was Dylan – he has some problems at home and I think a slight learning disability, it manifests itself in weird ways. I’ve had him all year, but still don’t totally get what goes on with him. He plays up like he doesn’t want to be involved or cares, but he’s the first to volunteer to help me out with stuff before class. A few weeks ago he got in trouble with me for making a mean comment to the student who won the April writing contest in his class. The last few months, he puts in zero effort towards his work. I think part of its frustration, and in part I think he’s bored – he struggles with school but he’s really bright. Anyway, today we made good – he got some work done when finally I told him how I had been talking to other teachers and his older sister, a 5th grader I also teach, about how I was worried about his performance. He played up that he was mad, but I could tell he liked that I bothered to care enough to do that, and he ended up writing a pretty good poem with my help.

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