Saturday, March 17, 2007
There is a kid in the trailer next to mine that is a real "nut job" He walks in and out of class on whim. He's been suspended a number of times. No one seems to be able to do anything with him. For some reason, this kid has decided he likes me. He came to visit me while I was tutoring in library last week. When he sat down, I said "K, I need a big favor. Your friend D is driving me crazy. I can't teach some days because of him. He makes all kind of wierd noises and tap dances in his seat. I was just about to send a letter home, but you know I like him. I don't want to get him in trouble. Will you please talk to him? Be his parent. I want him to pass math this term. He has so much riding on it. If he passes now, I can change his grade to passing from last term and he won't have to go to summer school." His answer surprised me. "Don't worry Ms. POd, I'll talk to him and take care of it."
By ninth period I forgot about this conversation. D came in the room and got right to work. He was probably the best behaved kid in the class. He told me K spoke to him and he was going to try. I couldn't believe that it worked. Unfortunately, by the next day things were back to the way they were before. But, one day was better than no days and I'll take what I can get.
On the plus side, after K and I had the library conversation about D, I said to him "I know you have a test today, do you need any help? Of course he said "I have a test? How do you know? What's on it?" I explained that his teacher was a good friend of mine. And, I know he had been given a review sheet with the same type of questions on it. "It's all on the sheets you got in class." K took out the sheets and carefully went over them. (Most of the kids in that class would not have the sheets by the next day or even by the time they leave the class on the day they are given out.) He asked questions about a few of the problems and quickly grasped the explanations. I'm willing to bet he passed the test. This kid, known as a "nut job" is really quite bright. He seems to have attention problems and difficulties focusing. In a school as large as ours, and in classes as large as his, there are just too many places for a kid like this to get distracted. Kids like K need smaller classes. Pissed off Mom talks about her personal experience with smaller classes. Her kids are lucky to have parents that are both bright enough and financially secure (or willing to go into debt) to provide a proper education for their children. Too many of the kids in NYC do not have this kind of parent. If the government is really serious about the NCLB legislation, smaller classes have to be provided for everyone who needs them. Kids like K and D are bright and should be afforded the same opportunities as everyone else.