Sunday, October 25, 2009

We're on the same side, you know ...

Timmy owed two assignments. One had not been attempted, the other begun, but abandoned.

You haven't finished these yet?

Shrug.

Will you come after school today?

"No." Digs in heels. "I have to go to the Social Studies teacher."

Well, why not start one now, while we are together? Could you try?

Shakes head no. Eyes averted. Knee bouncing. Agitated. Getting upset, clearly.

We are on the same side, you know. I am on your side. I am here to help.

I take a remedial version of the blank assignment and begin doing it myself on his desk, thinking aloud as I do. He watches silently. After modeling the first lines, I stop and walk away, saying, I'll give you some space and some time to think about trying the rest.

By the time I checked back in, he had picked up his pencil, completed that paper (perfectly), and was examining the second. He was calm. I praised his effort *and* his result. He was now able to ask me about what confused him on the second paper. He finished this as well. We were best buddies again before the weekend.

Kids who are late with work are *not* the enemy. They are our responsibility. They are the ones who need us the most, even if they can't say so.

Is there any possible chance that a zero in the grade book and/or a detention would have taught Timmy more?

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