Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Learning Continues

Master J's teacher went on vacation several weeks ago. She was gone for two full weeks. Two weeks where a substitute was in charge of her classroom. Now, Master J's teacher is awesome. She's been a teacher for several decades but more importantly, she's raised three boys to adulthood. So she's been around the block and doesn't get sucked in by boy antics. She's a sweetheart, but she has very high expectations of her students. They completely respect her because they know that she means what she says and will follow through. She has never, in several decades of teaching, had to send a kid out of her classroom for behavior problems. That right there tells me all I need to know, she's an awesome teacher. It's important to note that his teacher also left very specific instructions for her substitute and asked that I continue to come in to do my usual tutoring on Monday & Wednesday of both weeks.

The first day I showed up and asked the sub what she had for me. Usually when I show up, the teacher hands me work from several children and sends them out into the hall with me to work on what they aren't getting. The sub looked frantically around the desk before turning to the kids and asking them who needed help. Half the class threw their hands in the air and she picked six kids randomly. Whatever, I'll deal with it. But it's very obvious that she isn't nearly as organized as Master J's regular teacher. The rest of the days I showed up were repeats of the first day. Additionally, she seemed to have some trouble keeping the kids from talking during silent reading time (the time when I show up). In a nutshell, she wasn't his regular teacher. And Master J figured that out pretty quickly.

So, every day when I pick up Master J I ask him if he has his homework. Occasionally he'll look surprised and have to go back into the school to get it. Most of the time he has it. For the first few days with the substitute he had his homework. After about day three though, he started telling me he either didn't have any homework or that the substitute had allowed them to do it during class. Having met her by that point, it didn't surprise me that she would allow them to do their homework during school since she probably didn't know what else to do with them. It also wouldn't have surprised me if she forgot to assign the homework.

But he was not telling the complete truth.

Because at the end of week two, his Friday folder contained a small note from the sub saying he was missing several homework assignments. Hmmmmm. That sounds suspicious. So I read him the one line note and asked him what was up. He looked pretty sheepish and admitted that he hadn't turned in "some" homework. I told him I would write a note to his teacher so that she knew I had asked him about the assignments all week and been told he didn't have any. I would also let her deal with whether she was going to lower his grade or allow him to make it up.

Fast forward to yesterday when he came home from school with a folder full of missed assignments from the previous two weeks. Evidently he wasn't the only child missing work. His teacher had written each assignment on the board and underneath were the names of the kids that had not turned it in. Master J's name was under each assignment. When we walked in the door, he sat down at the kitchen island with a snack and started working his way through all the previously avoided homework.

As a side note, we still do the fifteen minutes of homework alternated with fifteen minutes of doing something else (due to his ADHD this method works much better).

He started at 4:00 and he stopped working a little after 6:30 to have dinner. He had gotten through at least a lot of the work so I told him he could start again today after school. He admitted it would have been easier to do his homework each day instead of trying to get through it all at once. I sent the finished work to school with him this morning. By the time I showed up at 9:00 to tutor his teacher had gone through the folder and erased his name off of all but three of the assignments.

I'm hoping that by the time he's done, he's learned an important lesson about avoiding work and tackling tasks head on.


Anonymous said...

Ah one can never let their guard down with my grandson. If you do,it will not take him long to figure out your weakness and proceed with his game plan..I've worked with children all my life and I have to say that I don't ever recall working with a child that can change your mind while you are standing there telling him he shouldn't be doing whatever he is up to next. He is soo lucky to have a teacher like his mother just described,he will come out of her class realising he has met his match and respects her for it all the more. His mother is on the same page as his teacher so Master J will have to work harder to pull the wool over their eyes and most of all be too tired to do it. He will be fine,loved by so many who care enough to not let him play mind games. Stick to Star Trek Master J, you stand a better chance of winning. Love you! Mamoo