Saturday, May 14, 2011

Tales of Teaching Pt. 2

Well, today was a good day. The keeds' mouths were atypically foul but most of the students worked through both the reading and math lessons honestly and efficiently. A couple of female students even did an extra page in their math workbooks. Because of their studiousness, they were awarded fifteen minutes of free time where they tranquilly played board games, colored and nibbled on leftover snack. When I asked them at dismissal if they believed today was successful, Nia* responded "Yeah except for what happened between Kimberly and Jamal."

Then again, there was that incident between Kimberly and Jamal.

Jamal decided to fool around for about twenty minutes before he attempted to start his reading. He's not very good at it so he often delays starting his work and when he actually does work, he eagerly looks to be distracted. He's also unmotivated, so instead of doing the work on his own, he peeked over Kimberly's shoulder for the answers.

She responded with attitude.

He responded by calling her mother and family ghetto.

She responded by threatening to have her mother come to the school and 'punch him in his face.'

She wasn't done! Kimberly then mentioned that she was restraining from talking about Jamal's mother, considering the fact that she is deceased.

Oh Lawd!

We talked it over in the hallway about how Jamal was in the wrong, firstly, for cheating and secondly for confusing what was an issue he had with Kimberly (her attitude) with a non existent one with her mother. In an effort to be fair, I did mention to Kimberly that many times her stank attitude makes people uncomfortable and upset, especially when it is uncalled for.

But I understand Kimberly's attitude and I now better understand Jamal's poor performance in school.

Weeks ago, Kimberly was jumped by three boys from my class, including Jamal, in one of the school's bathroom. The assault occurred right after day time dismissal. Closely afterwards, Kimberly's mother begins that day's after school lesson by storming into the classroom, literally cursing out one of the boys involved and threatening to 'have his face punched in.' Kimberly has not been the same since. Though her aptitude is still strong, she has been showing an extreme amount of disrespect and defiance that she never before demonstrated.

Jamal, well, has poorer cognitive thinking skills than my three year old nephew. Before, I theorized it as being a combination of a mild mental retardation and the consequence of living in a poor social environment. That may certainly be true, but he's very likely to be suffering from depression as well. He's only eleven, so I assume his mother's death was premature. His grandmother informed me that last yea he was getting suspended a lot for fighting and that was largely why he was held back. Instead of getting him the therapy and tutoring he needs, his grandmother whooped his ass....a lot. *Sigh

They're both suffering. One with PTSD and another one with depression and abuse. One thing I noticed is that Kimberly *never* negated the claim that her mom or family was ghetto, leaving me to believe that she accepts it as truth.

Considering the shit these kids go through, I am quite content with that one occasional good day.

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