Monday, February 13, 2006

allow me to introduce...

The Drama Queen
Every classroom has one of these. No matter what she says to me, it always comes out as a whine.

"I hafta go to the BATHrooooom!"
"Miss M, I can't find the PAAA-aaage..."
"I TRIED to look for my crayons but I can't FIND themmmm..."
"She's looooooking at meeeeee!!!"

If there's one thing I can't stand, it's whining. It's like fingernails on a chalkboard to me. And she is the absolute champion. She's a good kid... a wonderful reader, sharp as a tack. But that whining has to go. Everything is drama for her. And when there's no drama, she has to create some. It's very difficult not give her attention when she starts getting dramatic. I hate to ignore her when she whines, but she leaves me no choice. I know of no other way to break that habit.

Joe Cool

He did two years time in kindergarten. It didn't help. He's a year older than the rest of my kids and it's starting to show. He's bored with everything I do, he's too cool to sing or dance or get excited about stuffed animals, and he falls asleep at his desk pretty much every morning. He can't read even the most basic sight words.

And he's one of those kids whose always losing something. He lost his homework copybook three times since September. He lost his word ring twice (possibly on purpose, because he hates reading it to me). He leaves his pencil case at home at least 3 days a week.

He failed his eye test two years in a row, and his mom (who drops her kids off at school in her pajamas and slippers) finally got him glasses. He wore them the first week of school. Then their attendance was sporadic, at best. One day, a few months ago, I said, "Hey Joe, where are your glasses today?" He shrugged (he's a big fan of the apathetic shrug). "They're at home," he replied. "What are they doing at home?" I asked him. "Taking a rest," he answered. Of course. Silly me.

So he had them for awhile... until one day two weeks ago. "Where are your glasses?" I asked. "I left them at my mom's friend's house." And they were lost in that black hole for two weeks. I sent home three "friendly reminders." The nurse sent a note. Just as I was getting ready to call home, he showed up with his glasses. When he put them on, I made a big fuss, told him how handsome he looked in them. Four hours later, the nose pad fell off of the glasses. He took them home to "get fixed," and they haven't been back since. I don't expect them to make an appearance anytime soon.

I worry about Joe. I can't hold him back anymore (one retention per child is all you get in Catholic school), and he's light years behind my other kids. I put his name in for testing, but it's been my experience that first graders don't get tested until at least Spring. What can I do for him in the meantime?


Journal Freak said...

What do you mean one retention is all you get in Catholic school? I've never heard of that. But then, I never really thought about it. I wonder about public schools, if they have limits.

Carol said...

Ahh, the whiner...drives me crazy! And it seems that most classes have at least one. Good post!

Dree said...

In Catholic school (at least in Philadelphia), we're only allowed to retain a child once. Or so I've been told. I don't know where that rule is written, but it's been the rule as long as I've been working in Catholic school. And as far as I know, the public schools don't have that limit. We have a 3rd grader who transferred in from a public school who is going to be 11 soon (she should be in 5th). And the 2 years of retention hasn't done her any good, because she still can't read.

yomister said...

Great blog! Quite funny.

I, too, have a whiner in my seventh grade class. At that age, it loses any sort of cuteness and I'm really at wits end. She whines from the very start of the period to the bitter end. When I have her for triple periods I want to shoot myself.

graycie said...

Joe Cool is in first grade?! Lord help us all, I thought that was teenage angst. (I teach freshmen in high school and easily one fourth of my kids are Joe (or Joanna) Cool.)

Pigs said...

You might actually have some luck getting him tested since he's older. The odds are better that he might have a gap between his ability and his performance. We are only allowed to retain a child once too in public school. At least in Texas.

Elizabeth said...

Yup, one retention for us in least K-2. Things may be different in 3rd, 5th, and 8th . State law says that a student can't go on to the next grade until they have passed the state test. Some kids I know could be in 3rd grade til they're 30 if that law is enforced! I can empathize with your Joe Cool situation though, for sure. You do the best you can for them and hope they can qualify as a student with a learning disability.

GuusjeM said...

Actually it's 2 retentions in Texas in elementary school, 1 in grades K-2 and one in grades 3-5. And we've got some double retainees - who, by 5th grade are 2 -3 years older than their classmates - it's not pretty. I can't speak to middle school.

Does your school have any sort of tutoring program? We even have tutoring for kindergarteners!

Dree said...

We have tutorting for kids in 4-8 grade, but nothing available below 4th. Joe Cool does go with our Reading Specialist for a pull-out reading group for an hour a day. I think he needs more than small group instruction, though.

elementaryhistoryteacher said...

In my 4th grade class I have whiners, slappers, hummers, tappers, standers, sleepers, throw uppers, tattlers, gossipers, jumpers, twirlers, dancers, and rockers. My class is never quiet. We are discouraged from retaining students at our grade unless there is no way around it since 3rd grade and 5th grade are the pass/fail years with our testing.

Anonymous said...

What can you do for Joe? Give him extra attention. Try some other teaching method on him...what you are doing now isn't working. You will never change his home life, which is why he is the way he is. Give him extra love....he sounds like he needs it.