Sunday, May 18, 2008


friends, i am currently in the midst of a challenge.
this challenge has been with me since january.
this challenge was unexpected and, to be honest, unwelcomed.
this challenge has made me question my ability to teach and forced me to examine my patience and love towards others.

this challenge is a six-year-old girl.

as i type and re-read that, i feel like i should just turn in my teaching credential because i don't like feeling this way towards a child. as a teacher, isn't it my job to educate, nurture, support, build up and motivate every young person that enters my door? my challenge lies in the fact that i want to throw up my hands and move on in each of those areas. i want to give up on educating, nurturing, supporting, building up and motivating this one young person.

and that makes me feel a little sick in my stomach.
but it's how i feel.
and i'm having trouble reconciling these two competing trains of thought.


i suppose i should back-up a little bit to fill you in. in december of this school year, my principal came to me and mentioned a situation with a colleague of mine and a student in her class (this is the student). the mother was unhappy with my colleague for a variety of reasons and requested a transfer. at the time, i had an opening in my class and i was informed that, come january, this student would be a part of my class.
i'd heard a lot about this student from my colleague and, sadly, was expecting the worst based on her horror stories. i decided, over the winter vacation, to put aside what i'd heard and i would try be the best darn teacher this girl ever had. i would support her and do all the things my colleague neglected to do.
january rolled around and this student joined my class. as with any new student(s), the first days and weeks are good...everyone is still feeling each other out and we're all on our best behavior (teachers, included). and in those idealized early days, i made the effort to be whatever this child needed. i supported, made modifications and 'cut her some slack' because she was new to life in b-07.
that was in january.
in the last five (!) months, i have not kept my promise to myself and this student. i have let myself fall into a pattern of indifference, frustration and negative feedback. i have allowed the behavior of one child affect the way i interact with the rest of my students and change the dynamics we had from september to december.


at this point in the year, with four short weeks to go, i have been reflecting on this past year, specifically in regards to my teaching and interacting with my students.
this reflection was initiated by a comment made in passing by my husband.
a few days ago, during one of our long-distance phone conversations where i was 'discussing' (also known as: complaining) about my day, he mentioned that my attitude towards teaching had changed since she came into b-07. he recalled early in the year when i was excited about the possibilities of these little scholars and all of the growth we would make during this first grade year.
after we hung up, i sat for awhile and considered what he said. i agreed with everything he said but i was, and still am, caught up in how to make it better. admitting defeat and throwing up my hands is not what i'm about - i am a planner, a finisher, a nagger - and i keep going until something is done.
with this student, i feel like i am still trying to break ground and get the ball rolling. academically, she is unmotivated, cannot complete work independently, and needs constant reminders to stay on task. socially, she is used to being babied, bullies other students and does not respect my authority.
this child has been tested for learning difficulties and, based on the numerous tests and reports from our school psychologist and resource teacher, did not qualify for any additional services. this child is capable of reading - but won't participate. this child does not listen during lessons and then misses problems on tests. this child is so capable...but doesn't use all of the skills and resources she has available to her.
it literally makes me want to bang my head on a wall or kidney-shaped table.

here comes the point in this rambling where i appeal to you, blog friends. this post would be super depressing if i just left it with all these negative feelings and defeatist attitudes. my question for you is this:
how can you motivate a seemingly unmotivated child to want to learn?

it's a big question, i know. and it is one i have been wrestling with for the last few months. i don't know of all your experiences, but maybe some of you know about children like this. maybe you have worked with a child like this, or a sibling of yours was a child like this or maybe even you were a child like this? :)

this young girl is being 'passed on' to second grade for some incredibly stupid reasons that are completely out of my control. and, as long as she is a super cheetah in my class, i feel like i need to do whatever i can. but my bag of tricks is just about empty.

thanks to you who read this long-winded ramble. and extra thanks to those who can offer a word of advice or something.

happy monday/week to you all. i am off to bed to prepare for another busy, but hopefully less challenging, day with my little scholars. :)

Monday, May 12, 2008


it's been quiet here at 'golly gee'.
i wish i had a good reason.
maybe it's because my school blocks blogger (boo!).
maybe it's because matt's been gone a lot and i throw myself a pity party.
maybe it's because we've had a lot of potential options on our plate.
maybe it's because i'm currently copping out and using twitter.
maybe it's because...who knows?

what i do know is that i miss this community.
this sharing about my life with friends (and even some strangers).
this opportunity to connect when i'm on my own.
this place to vent...when the need arises. ;)

in my 'usual style', here is a list of things going on in my/our world:
*we were going to move to boise, then it fell through and now we are in the process of buying a house in ca(crazy!!!)
*speaking of houses (none of which we own) - home depot of now our new bff...i'm scared to think of how much time we will spend there once we are actually homeowners
*matt's gone...again - basically, it kind of sucks but i'm trying to keep a positive perspective by focusing on the free hotel points and lots of air miles - now we just need to be in the same country long enough to goon vacation :)
*23 days left of school - i'm both excited for summer and sad to see this group of kiddos off to second grade
*attempting to validate and put my subscription to shape magazine to good use...still a work in progress but this exercise thing is getting a little easier

with matt gone, i should utilize this opportunity to hoard our one surviving computer and keep this blog relevant and updated. i should use this quiet and 'solo' time to reflect and think and write down whatever pops into my mind.

perhaps this is wishful thinking...but i'm motivated to try. :)

happy monday to you all.