Stuff Students Say

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Nov 09 2011

Just a few precious minutes

I’m definitely not the type to get all emotional and teary-eyed about my students and their life trajectories/limitless potential/bla bla bla, but I obviously do love them to pieces, even when they’re at their worst. And I love the little moments when I can step back and appreciate just how awesome they can be.

For example, I really didn’t want to come to school today in the still-basically-pitch black morning (thanks for nothing, DST), but then I got there just as A.’s dad was dropping him off for math tutoring. So we walked in and talked about his Eid holiday, and then ran into C. in the hallway, who for some reason had arrived extremely early and was dying to know her score on last week’s math test. (C. is super low in reading and has been held back once, but leads the class in math). So three minutes later I’m sitting in between A. and C., two of my worst behaved students, and I’m helping A. work through the math problems he missed. And C. is fake-mad about getting a 94% instead of a 100%, but she’s following along with the tutoring lesson and helping to re-explain anything that A. still doesn’t understand.

I’m sitting there, in between these two kids who have thrown things and refused to do work and yelled at me and cussed and punched other students in my classroom, and will probably do any or all of these things again in the future.  I’m just calmly sipping my coffee while we work through fractions problems, and I’m surprised and proud and mostly just really content with this whole teaching thing, at least for those few minutes.

Also, these:

What did you do to celebrate the Eid holiday?

“I flied off a roller coaster when it broke down.”

“…Then we had a party for Jabir, the new born baby.  It was since 5 years my aunt had a baby! None of my family took that long.”

“One day I slept then I woke up in the morning I drank my hot cup of Joe. Then I went somewhere blah blah blah then i went to old country buffet.”

“It was the best eid ever. I went on facebook.”

“What I did for eid is I went to salad at 6:00 in the morning then we went home and changed clothes and was going to kill a goat but it was packed.”

2 Responses

  1. CJK

    This is such a nice example of how even the most dysregulated kids do contain themselves when they don’t have to compete with a whole classroom for your focus and when they are feeling successful. They have the capacity but it just hasn’t had time to develop and stabilize and be available in other situations. They clearly know you love them and that is making a big difference in their sense of self-efficacy. Great work everybody!

  2. VBCole

    Sounds like a turning point. A shared moment to remind A and C later when they are not being as well-behaved as you expect. What does this imply for your teaching? When/how can we make time to connect one on one, or in pairs in our teaching?
    By the by, you’re a beautiful writer.

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About this Blog

I used to be a journalist. Now I just quote students.

Region
Twin Cities
Grade
Elementary School
Subject
Elementary Education

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