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Showing posts from December, 2012

Writer's Block

O.K.

Deep breath.

I have a confession to make: I don't know what to write about.
"Write that down!" I tell myself.
"Something will eventually come to you if you do."

Instead, I stare out the window.

I try to recall the story that just a few days ago was screaming to be told.

What was the topic anyway?
Why had I felt such urgency to write that story?
And, why can't I remember it now?

I stifle a yawn and look around.
I stare out the window again.
My paper is blank.
My pencil is poised in the air.

I glance at the students in front of me.
Everybody is busy writing.
Still...nothing.
Everything feels trite and unimportant.

Then, I scribble it all down.

The bell rings.

I close my notebook.

another writing moment

Posted to Two Writing Teachers a Slice of Life story




Parent Partnerships

When a child is misbehaving, not learning (at the rate and manner determined by the adults), or appears sullen and unhappy, what do you do?  Do you blame the child?

"It's because he's lazy, spoiled, insolent?"

Or, do you blame the parents?

"They're spoiling her."
"They don't set limits."
"They let him do whatever he wants."
"They aren't supporting her learning at home. "

Blah, blah, blah.

Sound familiar?  No?  Really?

Come on, don't tell me you've never participated in staff room conversations that blame the child or the parents for the child's performance?  No?  Really?  Well, let me try to jar your memory.

Have you ever been in the staff room on a bad day and you just need to vent, so you start venting about a particular child in your classroom or his parents?  You start slowly because, in your heart of hearts, you're not sure this is an ethical conversation to be having with your colleagues.…

Are we listening?

A child sits alone with a ripped worksheet packet on his desk.
He appears to be singing or subvocalizing something though no one hears him.
Or, perhaps they're ignoring him.
The teacher stands at the front of the room teaching on the SmartBoard.
The children follow along in their worksheets.
Except the child sitting alone.
He is in his own world.
No one engages him and he engages no one.

My heart aches for this child.
He is physically and emotionally removed from the class.

I ask him why his paper is ripped.
(It's not an accidental rip.)
He says he did that on a different day.
When he had been frustrated about the work.
He tells me that he sometimes sits by himself because the work is too hard for him.
He later tells me that he sits by himself because the teacher thinks he talks too much during the lesson.  He says he does that because he wants to find out about the "lives of the other children".

My first impulse is to rescue him from the wrongheaded approach i…