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Response to KurtNYC (Original post)

Wed Oct 9, 2013, 08:18 AM

13. Whatever it takes.

I certainly wish we focused more on student needs and less on tests, teacher bashing, privatization, etc., and I've been saying so since before the public education attacks went national with NCLB, let alone RTTT.

Whatever it takes.

Let me tell you what it "takes" for just a few of my students this year, and they are not outliers:

Student # 1: Please give him a place to live; a safe, clean, warm place to go home to each day where he can keep his things without losing them, have a decent meal, a bath, and get a good night's sleep. Clean laundry would be good, too.

Student # 2: His case worker is searching for his 8th foster home in 3 years. Let them find someone who will keep him, in spite of the difficulty and stress he brings to their lives, because he's almost out of time. He's been diagnosed with a bunch of stuff, and classified, at the age of 11, as a budding sexual predator, following in the footsteps of the abusive father he was taken away from way too late. If he's not going to grow into an abuser or spend his life behind bars or both, someone has got to quit pushing him away and be there. NOW.

Student # 3: His parents are divorcing, and his mom has announced to him that she's glad to be free, and never wants to see him again. His dad is overwhelmed, angry, and lacks parenting skills. He cares, but doesn't know how to provide the kid with stability, with that combination of love, patience, structure, and firmness that he needs right now. The kid is deeply angry, lashing out at the world, and is also on the more extreme end of ADHD.

Student # 4: A nice kid, a loving, if somewhat chaotic and scattered, family; he is smart, funny, fun, and lost in a cloud of disorganized confusion. He can't ever find what he needs. He walks down the hall with an armload of unorganized stuff, leaving a trail of papers, pencils, etc. behind him. This is not an exaggeration. He gets out of his seat every 2 minutes, on average, because he just remembered something that has nothing whatsoever to do with whatever he's supposed to be working on. He doesn't remember anything he's been told, even when he's been told every day for a month, until you tell him again, and he says, "Oh, yeah." He doesn't know which side of his paper is the front side, or what a margin is for, or how to write on lines.

Student # 5: A wonderful, engaging young man walking to the beat of a different drummer; reasonable intelligence, but completely uninterested in anything remotely academic or intellectual; has mastered the art of escaping into his fantasy world in any setting, while looking like he's engaged in whatever he is supposed to be doing. Will good-naturedly spend a little time on a task if I sit next to him and talk him through it, keeping him out of his own world and trying to learn, but only while I'm there totally focused on him. As soon as I move onto another student, he is "gone" again.

Students # 6, 7, 8 and 9: Drug babies raised by grandparents. Not related; 4 different sets of grandparents. Severe problems with focus, organization, and the ability to llisten, read and communicate clearly in spoken or written form.

Student # 10: Dad has never been in the picture, wasn't interested in being a father. Mom was more interested in partying, and dumped him off at her parents, never to be heard from again. He's spent the last 6 years being shuttled from one family member to another, NONE OF WHOM WANTED HIM, and moving from school to school as his living circumstances changed again. He's a nice kid. He's lovable. I don't know why his family doesn't love him, but this kid needs some therapy and a stable home.

Student # 11: Suffers from chronic depression; divorced parents are too busy fighting to get him the help he needs.

Student # 12: Doesn't eat at lunch because parents don't send her with food or money. Doesn't eat breakfast at home, either. I keep her supplied with "snacks" that I allow anyone to eat in class.

Student # 13: Suffers from anxiety disorder that severely impacts her ability to function academically. The apple doesn't fall far from the tree. I spend copious amounts of time "conferencing" with mom about it, and mom is usually crying and/or ranting, because her anxiety levels about the kid are more extreme than her daughter's. Mental health services are not included in the families insurance.

That's enough to go with; I could list a whole lot more. Whatever it takes: Where's the food, the stability, the love, the counseling and therapy, and the smaller setting with more one-on-one support that these students need?

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Arrow 19 replies Author Time Post
KurtNYC Oct 2013 OP
daleanime Oct 2013 #1
madfloridian Oct 2013 #2
KurtNYC Oct 2013 #5
The2ndWheel Oct 2013 #3
KurtNYC Oct 2013 #7
The2ndWheel Oct 2013 #9
DevonRex Oct 2013 #4
xchrom Oct 2013 #6
Jim Warren Oct 2013 #8
duffyduff Oct 2013 #10
liberal_at_heart Oct 2013 #11
KurtNYC Oct 2013 #12
LineNew Reply Whatever it takes.
LWolf Oct 2013 #13
BelgianMadCow Oct 2013 #14
LWolf Oct 2013 #17
KurtNYC Oct 2013 #15
LWolf Oct 2013 #16
Jefferson23 Oct 2013 #18
liberal_at_heart Oct 2013 #19
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