Thursday, January 26, 2012

Why weren’t you here last Tuesday?

Tuesday I made it to school to work with the first graders.  They were all in their groups working on math, reading, creative writing.  I walked around to nudge slow workers and to give help where needed.

One little boy looked up at me and asked, “Why weren’t you here last Tuesday?”  He acted as if I had skipped school without permission.  I explained about the lost voice and that seemed to satisfy him.  I guess the next time I have to miss, I’ll call him instead of Ms H.

Chinese New Year has begun.  I read a story to the children related to the new year.  The story deals with a child having lucky money to spend any way he wants.  But it isn’t enough to buy what he wants, so he is pouting. The child sees a homeless old man who has no shoes, who has nothing.  The children did a great job of understanding the point of your little bit can help someone with nothing.

Most of my work with the children was to hear them read a story and then to work on the Dolch List.  Some of them are still struggling to read. They just need more time to work on basics.  It is late enough in the year to consider holding them back this year.  Parents are resisting and saying no you can’t retain my child. 

That fact is amazing to me.  When I taught (as a paid teacher), you told the parents for the good of the child you were holding them back. You had had conferences all year telling the parents the child was behind, the work was not being done, they needed more time at this level.  The parents really had little say in the outcome.  Some parents fought retaining their child, and went to the principal, and even the School Board,  Every now and then the teacher lost that decision.  The teacher always felt the child had been hurt by going on to the next grade.  The next year that child’s teacher would come back to you and ask why you promoted her/him.  Or if they knew the story, they would ask for worksheets, books, etc. from your level to help the child.

Times change.  Maybe not always for the good.

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