Tuesday Slice of Life can be found-and enjoyed at the Two Writing Teachers blog.
Some of you know that I have a new granddaughter, born at the end of July. My daughter recently returned to work, and because I work only the middle three days of the week, my husband, who is retired, and I have committed to keeping baby Imogene Marie on Mondays, at least until a nanny is found. The older sister who is two and one-half attends a Montessori school. We started last Monday, and yesterday was our second day. As we spend the day with Imogene, we learn that this baby has to be the most serene and content baby we’ve ever met. She is quite different from her older sister as a baby, is undemanding, smiles and coos at us whenever we talk to her and hold her, rarely cries, and only then if we’re a little slow in readying her next feeding. After being fed, she plays with us for a while, then goes to sleep when we lay her in her crib. Amazing. We are all in a little awe of this little person and wonder what she’ll be like as she grows older.
|Imogene Marie - 2 1/2 months|
As I’ve spoken with Imogene’s parents, and thought about her, her demeanor has brought me to think again of certain students I’ve had in the past, both girls and boys, whom we often call nice. They are the students who turn in assignments on time and meet expectations, are friendly and respectful to everyone, and who also often stay in the background, allowing others to take their turn first, share materials they own, and so on. One could also call them generous in spirit, and relatively calm and quiet.
We in education talk about at risk students, and work hard to help them fill needs that are vital in their lives to fill. We speak of students who cry out for extra support because they have extraordinary challenges; they are diagnosed with ADHD perhaps, and struggle academically until scaffolds are put in place. There are others who have physical challenges, and take time from teachers in order to be taught adaptations for their learning. Numerous students take time because they really need it.
And then there are the nice students. I worry that they remain at the end of the line because teachers just run out of time to see if they are being all that they can be. They don’t ask, don’t need, and can continue on with little attention. I want us to notice them, too. If we didn’t make extra efforts for Imogene, I wonder if she would just smile and coo and even continue to progress in her baby ways, as she has. But is that what we should do? Should we say, oh, she’ll be okay; she’s such a nice baby? I want to be sure that she and all the nice kids get the attention too, to receive extraordinary instruction because they can receive it so well, to learn to self-advocate, and to add to their repertoire of skills because they can, if someone offered. Am I being too picky? I don't think so. Yet, I certainly know that there is a finite amount of time and energy that teachers have to spend.
Imogene has managed to remind me of that child in the classroom that rarely demands anything of me as a teacher, you know, the nice one. And I will try to find ways to meet those students' needs too.