Thursday, January 04, 2007

About 4 of my 2nd graders

Sometimes (okay, like every other day, really) I think that I am not cut out to do this, that I am not a good teacher, that the kids will never learn anything, and that they will run around uncontrollably all year long.

I have a couple of students in 2nd grade that are just complete handfuls. It takes every bit of patience I have everyday (and a lot of patience that I don't have sadly) to not get upset with them. I really need to focus on positive reinforcement. When the kids act up, they just want attention. Unfortunately, they want attention that I am just unable to give them. I have 22 kids in the 2nd grade, and I am not with them all day long. Classes are only 45 minutes long. I just do not have enough time to give individual attention to each student. Regardless of the fact that even if I do TRY to give each one individual attention, the rest of the class will act like the monkeys at the zoo.

In enters Julio.
Julio is one of the brightest kids in the 2nd grade. However, Julio is also failing. He doesn't do his classwork, doesn't copy things from the board, doesn't study, and doesn't listen in class. He sits at his own separate desk, yet is always fighting with the other kids and talking nonstop. He just wants attention. I try to call on him as much as I can, because he very often is very interested in participating. I try to give him incentives to copy the sentences or whatever from the board, try to punish him for fighting with the other students ... I've tried everything I could think of. Two days before school let out for Christmas break, I gave Julio a small stack of about 5 worksheets that he could do over the vacaciones to raise his grade. He returned them to me the next day, finished and 100% correct. His mom does not speak English. His dad does not live with them. He did these all himself. He told me, "I like doing homework."
So what is Miss Katrina going to do with Julio when she goes back next week? Give him lots of work to do.

Julio exits stage right. In enters Keny.
Keny started school a month late for reasons I am unsure of. Probably money. Keny is relatively quiet and doesn't always participate in the games we play without some good convincing by me and the other students. However, he absolultely loves me. Everyday his little face lights up and he says, "HI TEACHER!" He doesn't fight with the other kids. His enthusiasm is contagious, and he hugs me constantly. I usually just feel someone clinging to me and never know who it is until I look down. Oftentimes, it's Keny.

Keny exits stage left. In enters Leana and Orlin.
I've written about Leana before. She was not doing well at all at the beginning, was very behind, and didn't understand a word of English. Her father asked me to tutor her, and she's done a 180. Now, she is doing very well on her quizzes and understands a lot more. I do realize that this does come from the fact that she has a lot of support at home. Orlin is such a cute kid. He's pretty quiet and doesn't cause too much trouble. He is also coming to tutoring, and while his grades have improved some - the bigger thing I see with him is his desire to help the other kids. If someone doesn't understand something, and I'm busy with another student, Orlin will sometimes say, "Le ayudo? (I'll help him?)" It is the cutest thing ever.

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