Friday, March 16, 2007

"Yeah, that would be why."

Maybe I just expect too much.

Maybe I am just too far removed from 8th grade to remember that I too was once clueless.


So I have about 10 minutes left in my advanced language arts class and I decide to use the time to discuss some deeper questions associated with the short story we have just finished reading.

"We need to dig deeper into this story and I think it would be good to have an intellectual discussion about our opinions on some of yesterday's questions," I began.

"I don't see why we can't spend more time having intellectual--

--"WHAT'S INTELLECTUAL MEAN!" interrupts a student.

"Yeah, that would be why."


Pri said...

Loal..Omg. Get out of that school!

Opal said...

If that was me I would tell the student the definition and continue the conversation. They might surprise you. :-)

I volunteer as a group mentor for six fifth grade girls. it's an after school program run by a non profit organization. The school is located in a lower income neighborhood within the inner city.

It's amazing how much they don't know. Things I've taken for granted. I knew this stuff at their age. It makes me thankful for the education I received as a child and also concerned for the children's future.

In Maryland they have definitely dumbed down the public school curriculum which, without intervention, will definitely hurt some of these bright students.

Yes, I have had to give the definitions of quite a few words to my mentee's but after explaining they were able to give some fairly good answers to the questions I've asked.

My girls (mentee's) are bright, intelligent, and are eager & definitely willing to learn. They just need someone who's willing to go that extra step. I've learned so much from them.

Ugly Naked Guy said...

Opal, thanks for the encouragement! I usually have a couple success stories each year. I have one brewing right now that I am blogging about on my other blog at It is some of the same stuff I post here and some different.

You say that your fifth graders want to learn. I have very very few eighth graders who show a desire to learn.

Speaking of things they don't know, I had a few kids not know what a caboose was. Weird, huh?

Opal said...

From the studies I've read and chatting with the executive director of the program. It's best to reach the early as the become older they can become more resistant. It's so sad! I'm sure there are a lot of factors at play which makes the children this way. There have been numerous studies of the positive affects that mentoring has on children/teenager. I know it has a lot to do with all that personal interaction going on. Unfortunately the teacher, unfortunately, cannot always do. they are only one person.

I chat with my mentee's teacher. Mrs. M tell me when some of them act up. Which of course means I'll talk to the girl and follow with their parents. I call their parents at least once per month to let them know how their children are doing. I don't want to just call when their children are behaving badly. :-) It would be fabulous if there was a quick fix to get children to actually pay attention all the time. :-) This past Tuesday our session was tough. I left so discouraged but I got over it eventually.

Ugly Naked Guy said...

It is great that you call home for positive things; I do that sometimes too. I freaks the parents out because they always seem to expect trouble!