With ALP gone for good I thought it was time to introduce more of the characters in my daily drama. Although there are really 26 unique individuals in my classroom I'll only take the time today to mention my most challenging, frustrating or amusing students.

Chandrella: From the first day my 4th graders walked in I knew that Chandrella would be what we euphemistically call a handful. This woman-child practically as tall as me, very dark skinned and as a holdover, she's a year older than her classmates. This makes her stick out like a sore thumb and naturally she's extremely self-conscious. I'm constantly looking for ways to make her a leader and a helper and when she has a chance to do so she can be a model student.

On the other hand, her moods are extremely volatile and if she's confused by a lesson or insulted by another student she often erupts. Last week when another student allegedly took her pencil she was screaming into his face demanding it back and finally knocked his desk over and started throwing the contents around the room until she found the pencil. I calmly told her this was unacceptable and told her to pick his things up. She slammed the desk upright and threw his folders and papers into his face. I told her again this wasn't okay and eventually she picked up his stuff and returned it in a semi-respectful manner.

Gary Coleman Jr. (GCJ): Obviously the class clown is a staple of any classroom. Mine comes in the form of a hyperactive little boy we'll call Gary Coleman Jr Jr, because he's constantly repeating Coleman's catch phrase "Whatchu talkin' bout?" which apparently has new life on one of The Disney Channel's shows. In Jonathan Kozol's Letters to a First Year Teacher he mentions that young kids have only a theoretical connection to their seats. GCJ is the embodiment of this disconnect between chair and child.

GCJJ drives me crazy, but I think honestly he might be one of my favorite students. It's so obvious that he acts out and jokes around because he's desperate for attention. Basically unless I'm sitting right next to him, working through an assignment with him or one of the terrifying literacy coaches is in the room he's hardly ever sitting at his desk. And when he needs to go to the bathroom, and all he needs to do is sit down and raise his hand he'd rather keep calling out and asking out of turn and say, "If I pee myself it's gonna be your fault" instead of just follow the procedure so he can go.

Lil' Space Case (LSC): Lil' Space Case is one of those students who is deceptively cute. She's the smallest girl in the class, and I think she knows that she can use this to her advantage. The problem I have with her is she's hardly ever on-task and she loses everything. And maybe a man who's lost articles of clothing on multiple continents isn't one to talk, but I'm confident I could hold onto a worksheet long enough to fill it out. Books, papers, notebooks, LSC has lost it all except for her desk.

Lil' Miss Stay Puff (LMSP): Lil' Miss Stay Puff, a cute chubby girl, has the same classroom wanderlust as GCJ. Overall she's a sweet girl and eager to do well, but she cannot stay in her seat to save her life. I'm trying to focus on her positive traits as a student and encourage her through incentives to stay on-task and in her seat, but it's definitely an uphill battle.

Pop N Fresh (PNF): Pop N Fresh is another chubby student. Sometimes it's all I can do to keep myself from squeezing his chubby cheeks into his face a la Billy Madison. He's incredibly bright and articulate, but probably spends more time getting into other people's business then doing his work. I guess you could imagine him as a smart, more effeminate, Hispanic version of "Ham" Porter from the Sandlot.


Ben said…
absolutely brilliant.
Hugh O'Donnell said…
I have a theory...years go by, students move on, but personality niches remain. That must be how stereotypes evolve.

Very entertaining post. :)

Hugh aka Repairman
Anonymous said…
Thank you for introducing us to your students! Can't wait to get to know them better.

Ah, and Kozol's book is a great suggestion! I put it on my reading list.
Unknown said…
My son also has a problem staying in his seat. His teacher put a square of carpet by his chair and told him if he had to stand up, he had to stay on the rug. It actually worked and he learned to stay seated. Might be a suggestion for your jittery ones.
IMC Guy said…
I love the names - keep 'em coming!

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