Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Two funny stories after two weeks of silence

The other day I was trying, with minimal success, to help one of my ESL first graders write a story about what she did on vacation. But I kept getting distracted by what I could see out of the corner of my eye: Edward and Andre clowning around and getting into minor squabbles with each other over such earth-shattering matters as who had the taller pencil. So because I am extremely meddlesome, I kept warning them to get back to work.

Finally I could take it no longer. I got up from the tiny stool on which I had been perched, marched over to them and fixed them with my best gimlet-eyed glare. "Do you know," I said icily, "how much time I am wasting when I keep asking you to be quiet?"

Andre had the good grace to look slightly chastened. But Edward blinked up at me, opened his mouth, and said:

"A hundred?"

Uh... "A hundred what?" I said, exasperated. He blinked again.

"A hundred times?"

Oh. Hmm. I really couldn't argue with that logic, so I just bit back a laugh and slunk away.

* * *

One of my favorite "special" kindergarteners is a chubby, rotund boy with glasses whose speech is often hard to understand. This morning we all sat down at the meeting area and he piped up with something I couldn't quite catch. It took a few repetitions and some deciphering on my part, but I finally figured out what he had said: "Cute hair, Miss Brave!"


Miss G said...

When you type special in quotation marks, are you referring to special education? The way you speak about it, it sometimes seems so...
If that's the case, you might want to think about the special ed stereotype you're perpetuating. It's one that, as a special ed teacher, I try SO hard to break. It's not fair for the stereotype to come from teachers, too...

miss brave said...

That's a fair point -- but it's never my intent to perpetuate a special education stereotype. In fact, the reason I put "special" in quotation marks is because I don't like to refer to my special ed students as, well, special ed. Some of my students in that class are reading and writing at higher levels than my "general ed" kids, and I don't want to imply that "special" means "dumb," because they are anything but that!

But the reality is that they ARE special. They have special needs that make me treat them -- not because I think they're any less capable than my other students, but because they learn differently. And they're one of my favorite classes to teach, NOT because I think that their special-ness makes them cute or because I don't make them work as hard, but because it's a challenge for me to figure out how each individual student's mind works, what will work best for him or her, and because it's a 12:1:1 class I get to spend individual time with each and every student.

I hope that clarifies my point, and if it doesn't, please do let me know and feel free to expand on your point so I can understand it better -- when you trailed off at the end of your sentence, I wasn't sure what you meant :)