Tuesday, June 03, 2008

A Bunch of Moms Yelling Their Heads Off in Korea?

Fun! Even more fun that's it's about one of my students, though I can't imagine I can be dragged into it in any way.

Willie is a second-grader. He's that kid - the kid who notably sticks out and gets teased. It's hard to pinpoint what to do about it exactly, because a bunch of different factors all play into him being that kid.

There's the slight speech impediment, which to be honest I barely notice, but maybe the students do. Certainly, doesn't make life easy when you are studying a subject that does involve attempting to master correct pronunciation. I tend to feel this isn't much of a factor, but I don't know.

Then, he's gross. Children, after all, are just little people, and like all people, some of them have questionable hygeine. God knows, he isn't the only one. However, for me to say he's gross is saying quite a lot, because I generally have few problems with general kid dirtiness and will eat random things they hand to me that have undoubtably been in their pockets for days and gotten covered in every germ known to man before I pop it in my mouth. He's the kind of kid who sneezes all over the place and himself and who will not make any attempt to clean himself up, to mention just the most recent occurance.

And he doesn't fit in that classroom academically. There seems little I can do about it because while my classes are leveled, anyone who has hung around for more than a month or so ought to have twigged to the fact that the only thing that matters is the standardized test scores and that teacher input is about as respected as some nasty gum you might find on your shoe. Sure, the kid scores well on reading and vocabulary and grammar - exceptionally well, even. However, he can't put a single sentence together to save his life - though most of the time I can't read any of his writing, so I'm at least saved from having to correct it. He had at least 5 times as many red marks on his writing test as any other student in that class - in fact, more than many of the lowest grade two class, who I also teach. His written homework is always illegible and ripped or stained and what little I can decipher is often completely off topic or at the least and undescriptive grammatical mess. It is obvious he doesn't make any effort at doing a good job.

I send homework notes home and receive them back about this stuff all the time. His homework is not done, or so sloppy it might as well not be done, or late, or completely off topic, or whatever. If the parents are concerned, I certainly can't tell. He's in a class of huge over-achievers, the kids who work their asses off and study and have taken to the idea of respecting their work and books in the sense of keeping them neat and clean and demonstrating huge amounts of effort. He is incapable of keeping up with them in any way, except when it comes to those monthly fill-in-the-bubble tests, and those I generally have to have him do those 3 times before it is all sufficiently neat for the computer to read.

I am at a loss of what to do. I can keep the kids in line during class without much of a problem. Any negative comments I need to make I do only privately, even though I wouldn't go to that level of effort for the other kids. I do my damnedest to comment on every positive thing he does. I don't allow the kids to pick partners (there isn't the space in the classroom for moving around, really), so he's never left out that way.

But I can't make them like him and I can't make him more of the kind of student the rest are. I can't monitor their breaks and my attempts to make the new AC take any of the issues with him at all seriously have met with failure. Whether moving him down would help with the teasing/social issues, I have no idea, but it is certainly meritted by what I see of his work. In fact, I asked the AC to intervene and discover in Korean what was going on with them all today, but he chose not to. Teachers are just not supported by the rest of the staff at my school, which is what it is. I have two months left and can continue to deal with any problems to the best of my ability on my own, but I can tell you that that sort of thing is certainly part of the problem.

So, three moms were yelling. A couple of kids were pulled into the fray. I guess I'll hear the translated/edited version tomorrow.

1 comment:

antijen said...

Oh, the poor kid. No wonder he's having a hard time of it.