Thursday, October 30, 2008

Another day... another DR story. First hour, social studies kids had 3 tasks: #1, finish their end of section questions from social studies book they started yesterday #2, make flashcards for the vocabulary words in the chapter, and THEN, they could go online and complete the review games posted there.

Everyone was busy, working on their tasks, except DR, who had immediately turned on a computer, headed to play games. I went over and reminded him he needed to complete the bookwork and vocab cards first and walked away, helping other students with their work. Most were working productively, intent on finishing the less engaging tasks, trying to get to the more lucrative online games. Those not quite as productive, I prodded, reminded, helped, getting them moving on whichever task they needed to work on.

As I circled back by DR, there he is sitting, computer off, social studies book in front of him, closed, playing with a plastic tiny skateboard. I took the skateboard and reminded him to get going on his questions. I moved on, knowing he doesn't deal well with confrontation.

Eventually, he did open his book and try to get started, causing a huge ruckus in the process, having neither paper nor writing utensil. But fortunately for him and me both, other students intervened and provided those for him. (They are also available in the classroom but going and getting them quietly was apparently too complicated for DR!)

After completing a couple of questions, he decided to turn back on the computer, Again, I reminded him he needed to complete the other tasks FIRST. But that set him off and he simply quit working. Luckily, it was near the end of the hour by now, so I let it go.

Next hour, he comes back. I need a break from DR. Three hours in a row is TOO MUCH for both of us.

First, we correct yesterday's assignment, which he doesn't have so he spends the time writing with his red pen on the toy skateboard I had returned to him. We review the skills we are working on - multiplying fractions, especially the icky mixed numbers into improper fractions, and vice versa, and simplifying fractions. Lots of students are struggling in this group so instead of moving on, I give them more practice problems. As a group, they are relieved. They know they just don't GET IT yet.

DR has now spent the first 20 minutes or so of class playing with his toy, making noises and faces at others, throwing little pieces of paper, etc.... Will work time be better?

Of course not... 10 minutes into work time, everyone is busy, except DR and those he is sucking into his black hole of oblivion. I break... I write up the office referral and send him out. I write, "No point in being in class. Refuses to work. Disruptive. Interferring with learning of others." and with a sigh, tell him to leave. With great finesse, he manages to touch base with all his buds as he gathers his belongings and finally leaves.

A collective **sigh** can be felt in the room. Even his buds settle in and work, and work, and work. One of them came to me after class and thanked me, shyly, for giving them more of the same problems to practice, telling me he is trying but still "kinda lost." We talk... mostly me... I tell him what a great kid he is (and he really IS!) smart, good lucking, likeable... but how I really LIKE him more when DR is not in class. We talk about choices and not getting sucked in and he smiles, and says with a shy smile, "I know Mrs. G, I KNOW!" He walks out the door and turns back around, yelling, "THANKS MRS. G!" and I want to cry.

DR is suspended the rest of today and all day tomorrow, Halloween, which is a HUGE blessing. No DR all day tomorrow when all the kids will be WIRED, AND he will not be able to come to the Fun Night tomorrow night.

I feel guilty for wanting him gone, I feel guilty for enjoying 3rd hour without him. I touch base with the young lady who wrote the note yesterday to him. She is apologetic and tells me how she wants more from life than she knows she is going to get like this. She seems sincere, genuine and soooo terribly young. I want to hug her, but don't. She seems so cautious and wounded somehow, and I know her life has been tough. But I feel like she and I finally are connecting, at least a bit.

Last hour, I share my bag of "boo" goodies left on my door with my class. The empty bag is really cute and one girl asks for it. I tell her sure and hand it over. Later, after school, at the drugstore, she is there also and smiles a HUGE smile and says, "THANKS FOR THE BAG MRS. GEORGE!" making the day seem so perfect and worthwhile, even after the DR trauma.

He will be back Monday. Will anything change? No... I know that. And, I hate knowing that. I hate feeling like I have already given up on DR, and it is only October. But I have to focus on the ones who DO care, who want to learn, and find a way to keep him from pulling them into the dark hole with him.

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