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Hopeful Moments

February 9, 2012

Ms. Audrey is on the right. Photo by Laura Slotkoff

By Audrey June Davidson, Corps Member Proudly Serving at Sarah T. Reed Elementary

A number of students at Reed Elementary suffer from severe emotional and mental conditions that are treated inconsistently, if at all. For some of my students, it is a badge of pride to refuse to take their “medicine” before they come to school. This refusal may be due to the fact that it is one of the few things they are able to take control over in their otherwise strictly structured lives.

There is one student in my literacy block who always has difficulties concentrating in class because his medication has painful physical side effects. Most of his day is spent in the self-contained fourth grade classroom designated for students who are either significantly behind their grade level or have severe behavioral problems. All students are required to spend the first period of the day in literacy block, which focuses exclusively on reading comprehension and accuracy at their current reading level. The teacher always makes a concerted effort to get him to participate with the rest of class, but he typically chooses to draw, walk around the class room, borrow the teacher’s stuff without asking, make disruptive comments, or mutter things under his breath instead.  After telling him multiple times to get back on task, the teacher usually gives up because she has to concentrate on the other eleven students. I, on the other hand, have both the time and patience to give him the extra attention he needs.

Last week, he got up from his seat and went outside without telling anyone. I promptly followed. When I caught up with him, he told me that he really wanted to be in class and learn, but that he needed to step out for a minute. I took him on a walk and asked him what he wanted to be when he grew up. He said, he wanted to be a football player and I asked how he expected to get there. He told me that he knew he needed to do well in school, so that he could get a scholarship. After telling me what college he wanted to go to, I shared some of my own childhood experiences growing up in poverty. His eyes lit up when he found out how much we had in common. After talking for ten minutes, he was ready to go back to class. Upon his return, he actively participated in the class.  While his behavioral pattern hasn’t changed much, moments like these remind me how unique my position in the classroom is.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. February 10, 2012 2:30 pm

    As you stated and PITW # 158 states “it truly is a privilege for all of us to serve at City Year”.Thank you for sharing your story and best of luck with your continued efforts with working with your starfish.

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