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Patience

There’s a different lesson here than I expected.

This Tuesday, I had one of my former students return to my classroom. He had gone off to a charter school, and lasted less than 3 months. The post was going to be a rant about charter schools being able to pick and choose their students, compared to the public schools.

This kid had been a pain in the butt. He was the only outwardly defiant student I had at the beginning of the year. It didn’t surprise me at all that he’d been booted.

So, this story could have had an ugly ending. If I’d acted on my instincts, we would have been right back where we left off.

But we’re not. I’ve got enough good teacher habits now, and enough experience dealing with incoming OTs, that I almost automatically played the second chance card with him. And it paid off. He’s not the most diligent student ever, but he’s going through the motions. He’s cooperative, and quiet. It’s only been 4 days, so it could still all change, but for me this was a big lesson on sticking to the game plan, and not going with your gut.

{ 1 } Comments

  1. Alice Mercer | January 22, 2010 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

    But the charter still got to pick and choose, and I would guess a big part of why you are trying to make it work with him and being patient is that you don’t. He’s with you unless he moves, etc.

    You had two choices (well there may be more, but I like dichotomies). Ride his butt asserting mastery, standing up for high standards. The secret bet your making in your head is that he/his parents, etc. will get sick of your nightly phone calls, and will lie/cheat/steal their way into a new address and a new public school. This is a much less reliable method for getting rid of problem students in the hands of a public school/teacher/admin, but is probably what the charter did. I’ve seen some folks that seem to do this at public non-charter/choice schools. An alternative version of this one is to ride the kid until they do something really stupid (like swing on you), then have them “expelled” to a community day or NPS placement.

    Your other choice was the one you now seem to be making, which has better odds for success, but seems much less popular with some educators who prefer the “big payoff” of the kid just leaving.