January 14, 2010

Things Students Say Part 3

I have a boy in my class who loves to talk. Okay, I have a lot of boys in my class who love to talk, but one boy in particular who is a constant stream of words. I've literally caught him speaking out loud to no one... no one. And he wasn't talking to himself... he just doesn't realize or care that no one is listening (or, in this case, even within earshot).

Despite his constant chatter, I really do love this child. He doesn't have the best relationship with many other teachers, but we get along quite well. And for this, I am very grateful since I have him for three periods a day. I love that we have a good enough rapport that I can redirect him as necessary (often) without the threat of his negative attitude.

We even have our own little code. Rather than always asking him to stop talking, I can look at him and ask him, "What's your number?" He knows immediately that I am asking him to rate himself on a scale of 1-5 on how self-directed he is being at the time. If he's out of his seat or talking to a neighbor (or another student halfway across the room as the case may be), he will respond, "2 or 3," in which case I respond, "Let's make it a 5!" and he typically gets back on task. I've had mixed success with this. I like that I can redirect him without the rest of his peers knowing what we're talking about, but sometimes he just needs to hear the words, "Please stop talking!"

On one such day, I was particularly tired of having to redirect him. Our of sheer frustration, I asked, "N, does your mother have to yell at you all the time like this too?"

His completely sincere response was, "No. I'm allowed to talk at home."

After a great laugh (which was a great cure for my frustration in that moment), I stepped back and thought about things from his perspective. I realize that it's probably equally as frustrating for him that he's always getting reprimanded for saying what's on his mind. Poor kid!

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