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Tue Feb 12, 2013, 03:59 PM


The Loveliest Child

This year, I have been blessed with a student who may be the nicest kid Iíve ever taught. Always prepared with an ear-to-ear smile and enormous enthusiasm, he is friendly to everyone even the mean kids. When he walks past my classroom door, he will pause and wave heartily, like he has been waiting to see me all day. When he arrives for class, he greets me as if we havenít seen each other in years. No matter how challenging the lesson is for him, he works hard to understand. He is a walking ray of sunshine. Each day I am delighted to see him; if he is absent, I miss him. Heís the kind of kid you want to clone because then every school day would be a joy.

Also this year, I have been saddled with a student who cannot retain any information. Nothing, zippo, nada. I model it. I give him manipulatives. Iíve had other students tutor him. Iíve given him extra homework. Iíve given him no homework. Iíve let him investigate the topic using videos or computer games. Iíve kept him at lunch for private tutoring. If he does understand the lesson, it lasts only a short while and certainly not into the next day. He drives me crazy because he has made absolutely no lasting progress. When I see him, I see a walking ď1Ē because that is the score he is going to get on his state exam.

Have you figured it out yet? Itís the same kid. The boy with the warmest heart can process information in the moment but not keep it or use it later. The mixed emotions he stirs in me, epitomize the current battle over my teacherís soul. I want to appreciate and nurture all the children placed in my care but I also feel resentful when I think about how their test scores could drag down my evaluation.

One of the hallmarks of the education reform movement has been assessing teachers by measuring the progress of their students. Because I feel such tremendous pressure to show constant student growth for each and every child, I find it challenging to simply appreciate this young man's genius. Instead, I often see him as an obstacle to my being labeled an ďeffective teacher.Ē

And that makes me sick. It is not who I am as a teacher. It is not who I am as a parent. It is not who I am as a human being.

Each child deserves to be loved for the blessing that he is and for the gifts that he possesses. I am ashamed of myself. I've allowed the funhouse mirror that is the education reform movement to distort my relationship with my students. Anyone have a hammer?


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Reply The Loveliest Child (Original post)
HiPointDem Feb 2013 OP
AnneD Feb 2013 #1
HiPointDem Feb 2013 #2
AnneD Feb 2013 #3

Response to HiPointDem (Original post)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 06:29 PM

1. The fact that he still comes to school

with joy in his heart for learning says a lot for you abilities as a teacher-even if it doesn't count on a test. We often get the stars in our crown when we reach the pearly gates.

He may have long term memory storage problems and I am not sure how they test for that (think Fifty-First Dates). I had the same problems with my Alzheimer's patients. Every day is a new day for them. I would meet them where they were and just roll with the flow. You might want to do a bit of research on the subject and see if there is a strategy you could use.

This is the fallacy of teaching and testing. We can't pick and choose who we teach in public school, and not everyone is/should be college bound.

While I am glad my daughter got her degree, I am happier than she is a kind and decent human being. She uses her talents to problem solve and she has a musical gift to boot.

This little boy could be a PR person, diplomat, or any number of things yet undiscovered. But the most important thing of all, he is a decent human being and you are doing him no harm.

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Response to AnneD (Reply #1)

Thu Feb 14, 2013, 04:30 AM

2. just to clarify, i'm not the student's teacher. the blogger is.


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Response to HiPointDem (Reply #2)

Thu Feb 14, 2013, 09:54 AM

3. Realized as I was posting...

but teachers need to realize their gifta are never wasted.

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