Small Breakthrough

Oh man,

Today is a Monday and it was the last day for student presentations for colleges, and one of my IEP students is presenting.  When I began to take over the class, it was quite abrupt and on one of the days toward the beginning of the assignment of the college project, this particular student and I were at an impasse.  I wanted to know why he hadn’t turned in something because he had the adequate time to do it and turn it in.  I kept questioning him because I wanted to know why (1. how can I solve an issue if I don’t know the root of that issue? 2. I had a mike on and forgot I had it on).  He didn’t have an answer for me and even threatened me.

On the past Friday he came up to me and said that he needed to set a date to present.  I was so surprised that he actually did that, since I sort of kept my distance from him since that incident, but still circulated the class to help students find info. on their colleges, especially those who wouldn’t raise their hands.  I had helped him find something a couple of days before, and all was well.

Today, he came up to me again saying that he sent me his presentation.  I asked him if he downloaded it to the computer at the front and he said he hasn’t.  I asked him if he knew how and he said he doesn’t.  So we went up to the front and I helped him.

As I waited after each step of the instruction, I took the opportunity to tell him in between one of the steps that I was so happy that he came up to me that one day and tell me he needed a presentation date.  He had a smile on his face like, “aw shucks.”  I continued by saying that it took a lot to come up to me and tell me that, because this [the project] is really important.

As I type all this, I remember that a couple of weeks ago, he had come to me saying that he received a 0 for one of the assignments.  I was still on a ubiquitious class management high (I successfully managed the class, meeting with all my students and helping whoever needed help when I circulated and when they raised their hands) right after that class.  I am still a little sad because my response to him was, “bring it in and I will change your grade.”  Might be normal to you, but I had this tone of voice like I had no time for him, but really, all I wanted to do was fix his grades, I just needed the evidence.  I was also behind on grades and since the class meets everyday, and I hadn’t input grades in 2 weeks, it’s like not inputting grades for a month.  That was the first time he came up to me and requested or said something to me, or addressed something.

Another time he said I didn’t input his grades for the previous notebook check, again, it was my first time and I was sloppy.

Today, I was made aware that he had turned in his notebook for the previous check and I saw the grades and quickly wrote it in my hard copy grade sheet.  I was grading the most recent notebook check, the couple of packets of paper were demanding attention, so I took them out and placed them on the desk, and I continued the notebook check like I normally did.

The packets were old work that weren’t turned in – surprise.  I went to the oldest article (1 of the packets) and I took it out and quickly graded it, quickly writing what was missing to get a full grade.  Then the other one.  It had passages highlighted, key words and words not known circled, full-blown annotations, and he wrote 3 ponits he got from a partner! I didn’t care that he didn’t number the 3 things that he found interesting; I only cared about all the work he did, because he had never done that much work on a close reading before.  I continued turning the article and saw he had filled in the vocabulary chart that almost no one did with the words he circled.  He also looked up the definitions, and again, I didn’t care that he didn’t draw a picture to help him remember those words, but he actually took the initiative and did it.  As soon as my guide teacher had the opportunity I excitedly went to her and showed her.  She said “give him full points” with a smile on her face.  I was going to do it anyway.  I wrote a whole bunch of positive feedback saying that I was proud of him and I was very impressed.

It almost made me cry.


So one bad student is turned.


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