Monday, January 16, 2017

Giving a Kid a Chance

The few weeks before Christmas break was really, really busy in Our Happy Little Portable.  Kids were getting the crazies, teachers were frazzled and I was going from an average of six kids a day to sixteen.  My administrators are pretty amazing and are more than happy to suspend a kid who can't make it in my room.  I have a lot of patience, and do what I can do keep a kid in school, but there are times I have to just pick up the phone and have a kid removed and consequently suspended. 

The Bottomless Pit was one of them.  So, when I get a phone call informing me that the Bottomless Pit was going to be with me for a day, I was curious as to how this would all play out.  He could come in with a chip on his shoulder which would make for a very unpleasant day.  Or not.  It all depended on his attitude.

So, the Bottomless Pit arrived, with three failing grades, and was the only kid I had that day (it's usually pretty slow at the beginning of a grading period).  I told him we were going to focus on his grades and get them back up,  So, instead of parking him in a cubicle, I had him sitting right next to me and we got to work.

But what we really did was talk.  The kid spilled his guts and talked about how he had such a bad sixth and seventh grade year, how badly he missed his dad who passed away last year, how much he adored his little brother, and how his mom worked all the time.  He talked about how he has trouble focusing when he's not on his meds, how he knows he can do better, how he wants to play sports in high school, how he'd like to look at the military as a career, and how he has trouble not being a class clown. 

But what really got me was he said something I rarely, if ever, hear from a kid.  "It's totally my responsibility why I get in trouble."

Wow!  I get so tired of hearing from kids - and adults - how nothing is every their fault, how they are never responsible, and here was a fourteen year old who clearly owned up to screwing up.

So I decided to give this kid a chance.  He asked if he could stay in ISS for the rest of the week, because it was quiet, and he got help, and he liked to be there with me.  That's not an option.  But one option was to take him out of art class and assign him to me for that period as my Aide.  After all, I could use one.  But more importantly, we should be able to get his grades where they  need to be so we can send him off to high school a little bit better prepared.  And hopefully I can work with him a bit more on making better decisions.  He's obviously receptive.

So he's now my Aide and he couldn't be happier.  He's getting his work done, for the most part, although I still have to push and prod a bit.  And we're working on some goals.

As for his name?  Kid is constantly hungry.  Not because there isn't food at home (there is - mom may work a lot but she provides for her kids).  He's hungry because he's 14 and growing like a weed.   He told me he'd already grown three inches since the beginning of the year.  It's a wonder he doesn't eat the furniture.

1 comment:

Krissy Spencer said...

OMG...I just stumbled upon your blog and I am hooked!! I could read for hours. You are so funny and I love how you write about the kids. What you write about is so true!!!! Keep making it real. I can imagine you are a fabulous teacher!! I wish you had a "Follow by E-mail" button and system so that I can get updates when you post them. Love your blog!!!