Introducing...Part 3

It's been a while since I've taken the time to introduce some of the characters from my classroom. I guess the truth is I've introduced the most "interesting" of my students. I've introduced the students who amuse, infuriate and sadden me. You know them as Chandrella, Gary Coleman Jr., Lil Space Case, Lil Miss Stay Puff, Pop N Fresh, The Woman-Child, Bambi, Booger Boy, The New Kid and The New New Kid. Before the school year ends I'll try to introduce you to the other 17 characters in my class.

Verbal: I've discussed this little girl a few times already without the nickname. She scored the 2 which I initially heard was a 3 on the ELA score. This blew my mind because I can hardly understand her half the time when she's talking (hence the nickname), she's reading at a 1st grade level and her writing is a step above gibberish. It shows hardly any letter to sound recognition and it's literally a struggle for me to understand what she's trying to write. That said, she's a very sweet and tragic girl. She misses at least one day of school each week. She's always exhausted from helping be a mother to her four younger siblings. During the ELA test she passed she apparently fell asleep no fewer than three times. She also has a very tough side to her. She's a little girl, but she has threatened to beat up girls twice her size. And as much as I try to teach her to solve things peacefully, I hope she will keep that fighting spirit and put it to good use in other ways.

Alvin: I've nicknamed this boy Alvin because quite simply, he looks like a chipmunk. He's a small boy who I've mentioned a few times. He's the boy who I watched fail miserably on both exams. I've since tried to get him referred for evaluation for special ed but wasn't able to get it done by the end of the school year. He's an incredibly nice boy who really just wants to be liked by his teacher and classmates. I regret the times I let him get bullied and I regret not helping him more when it was clear for so long that he was struggling. I'm hoping I can speak to his 5th grade teacher (yes, despite failing both tests he will be moving on!) and get him the help he needs.

The Gentle Giant: The Gentle Giant was one of the rocks of my classroom. Throughout all the chaos and insanity he never lost focus or faith in me. He didn't seem to get the memo that all the other students did that their teacher was clueless. I call him The Gentle Giant because he has been picked on and harassed by a few other students, but even though he's the biggest kid in the class he never resorted to violence. For most of the kids in my school fighting is the first, second and third resort, but somehow The Gentle Giant has the self-control and sense to avoid that and came to me whenever he was having issues with someone in the class.

The Twins: I think these girls are a staple of any classroom. They're best friends. Inseparable. One day the Boy Scouts had planned a field trip. One of the girls had a permission slip and the other did not. The girl who was not going on the trip burst into tears, because her friend was leaving her (for 4 hours!). So her friend decided not to go on the trip, even after she found out she would not get her money back. I chided her a bit, explaining that her mom was going to be upset about the money and she was missing out on a lot of fun. But I couldn't argue with her explanation, "Mr. B, would you rather have a friend or a trip?"

I'm just 3 days away from the Promised Land. I feel a mixture of euphoria and sadness. I've come a long ways and still feel a sense of doubt as to what impact I've had on these kids. At least from a selfish perspective I can be sure they've left an indelible one on me.


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