Sunday, September 17, 2006

Like the Fru-its of the Day-vil

I am E-vil. And, I'm proud of it. The long arm of Mrs. N has just reached out and nabbed an unsuspecting student by the scruff of the neck and is determined to make him pass the class by hook or by crook! This required me to do something I've never done before: call a parent from my home.

I should've done this on Friday, but it was so late when I left school (5pm) that I just wanted to go home. Also, by calling on Sunday there is a greater chance of the parent and student remembering for Monday. John is a student on my team who, like so many others, has a lot of baggage. He's teased and picked on and is somewhat of a loner. The common opinion is that he feels out of touch with everyone because he's been held back in elementary school once, possibly twice. He doesn't think he's capable of passing his classes so he does whatever he can, short of being a behavior problem, to ensure failure. He's nice enough, but spends a lot of time in class not doing his work. This came to a head in my class this past Friday. I had the students working on an activity called a jigsaw ("Jigsaw is a group structure that can be used across all content areas. Students start with a home group. That group is responsible for learning an assigned portion of a task that is prescribed by the teacher. Then the teacher separates students into new groups -- jigsaw groups -- by assigning one member from each home group to a new group. If an activity begins with groups A, B, C, and D, the jigsaw groups have a member from A, B, C, and D. In the jigsaw groups, students share information and complete some sort of project or product." from here.) I had rearranged the classroom seating so that John was grouped with 2 students with lots of skills and one who wasn't highly skilled, but very positive and outgoing. Well, everyone got their assignment done except John, who spent the time phutzing around, doodling, and writing on himself. When the time came to make new groups he had nothing to contribute as he had done nothing. I think he felt a little bad, but he had sabotaged himself. I told him I was disappointed in him, that I know he can pass this class but he had picked up a lot of bad habits and that his job is to break them this year so that he could be successful in high school and that the entire team believed in him and that we were going to help him succeed. I also pointed out that all his phutzing about only hurts one person-- himself.

Now we get to the phone call. Since I have him at the end of the day I asked his mother if it would be alright if John stayed afterschool with me to get caught up on all his missing work. She seemed happy about that. I had assigned John lunch detention twice, he only showed up once and didn't do much, so I'm glad his mother is letting him stay after. John, I'm sure, is really bummed and not looking forward to this at all. Excellent! (Mr. Burns style, fingers tented.)
One down, 149 to go!!


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