February 1, 2009

Breakthrough

Last year, when I was a student teacher, I had a student, A, who was a bit of a trouble maker. There are some issues at home, and a lack of structure that has led to some behavioral concerns in school. Still, though, I was able to really bond with this kid. In fact, when I was hired to teach at my school full-time, he was the students I pictured being most excited at this news. Come the first day of school, I was not disappointed in his reaction when he found me in my classroom!

I promised A that he could be my student assistant if I was back this year. It's really a win-win situation because he gets out of his study period (where he tends to find himself in trouble anyway), and I gain a paper-grader, file-sorter, peer editor, etc. as needed. So, we cleared it with the administration, and A 9th period in my classroom each day.

A is not a very motivated student. And when he came to my classroom whining about a novel he was assigned, I knew it was my opportunity to share my love of reading. The book he happened to be carrying was, Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, which just so happens to be one of my favorite YA books. I decided I was going to make it my personal goal to convince A to read this book.

We made a bet, in front of my entire class. I promised A that if he read the whole book (cover-to-cover) and didn't enjoy it, I would buy him lunch. My intentions were two fold: 1) A would actually read a book (this is a huge feat) and 2) it would improve his failing LA grade. Even if he decided he hated the book (which I knew he wouldn't), he would have to defend his point-of-view. Either way, I win (and really... so does he).

Immediately, A began reading his book, bringing it to 9th period each day and sitting quietly in my reading corner as he zipped through the pages. When he was almost finished with the book, he approached me and declared that he had lost the bet. "The beginning was kinda slow," he admitted, "but after you get into the story, it teaches you a lot of good lessons."

Do you hear the hallelujah chorus? Those words were music to my ears! I was proud on so many levels!

3 comments:

  1. I love that book. Good for you for helping motivate A!

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  2. You're such a good teacher! It would be a dream if Olivia has a teacher like you. In fact, stick around and become hers ok? thx.

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  3. Olivia has a private tutor any time! :)

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