Friday, March 5, 2010

One In A Million

I do not know how school teachers do it. I ESPECIALLY do not know how school teachers in the good ole' days of one room school houses did it. Having 20-30 kids all the same age is hard enough, but having that many kids at all different age levels - keeping one group going while teaching another - well, that's exceptional in my opinion.

I say that because these last two weeks have been the hardest of the entire year up to this point. Not only did I make the mistake decision to change math curriculum mid year (initially causing fits and tantrums), but Hannah decided she wanted to bond more with her mother during school time. Uh huh.

I'm glad she loves me. Truly. But to have her decide she HAS to do her school work at the kitchen table (because she's lonely in her room) at the same time as I am teaching Seth (when up to this point she has been very independent and functioning great in her room at her desk, with me helping her when needed) has been a challenge. (And that was a terrible run-on sentence.) It is easier on me for her to be in her room, singing, dancing, beatboxing, playing the drums, making up poetry - ALL WHILE DOING HER SCHOOL WORK - than it is for her to join me at the table. To correct my mistakes. To add her two cents. And to completely lack concentration.

Today she kept interfering when I was working on math with Seth. Instead of helping, she was giving him the answers. I told her to stop at least three times and to concentrate on her work. When Seth was done his work, she stared into space and still did not work. When I asked her what her deal was she gave me the dramatized version:

"Mom," blinking back tears, "I just can't concentrate. And it's all Seth's fault."

"What?" I asked. "Why is it Seth's fault?"

"Because when he went to the bathroom, he didn't use soap when he washed his hands!"

Can someone help me connect the dots?

I love that girl. She's one in a million.


Mrs. Wizzle said...

Check her closet in the bedroom. Betcha there is a monster in there or Seth sneezed on her chair or desk or touched something after he did not use soap! I wish you much good fortune! Clear the monsters out and she will probably go back to work.

On a more serious note.... give them some work time together but teaching time is one on one an on your own moment. I would go nutso working all by myself in the same room day after day. she probably IS lonely.

Darla said...

I'm not sure what you mean, Mrs. Wizzle. Do you mean that I teach her one on one in her bedroom, but let her work at the table with me when she doesn't need teaching? The reason I ask is because Seth needs CONSTANT supervision, literally every second of my time while he does school, so having her at the table with us distracts them both. Since her room is very close to the kitchen table and her door is open (and she sings at the top of her lungs) I never thought about her being lonely. Not saying she isn't, but it just never occurred to me. For some reason, although her singing while doing school was very disruptive while I was teaching Seth, we did adjust to it and learned to tune her out. At the table, however, she feels the need to be more the teacher/helper and does less of her own work.

I'm not sure yet the solution. I don't want her to be excluded if she needs me more. Maybe it's just a matter of adjusting, like we adjusted to her mini concerts.

Thanks for any help you can give me.

Mrs. Wizzle said...

No. If she is disruptive when you are teaching Seth it will be difficult. I mean Seth should be working at "on your own" work that he is assigned and left to do and while that is happening then she can be doing the same sort of work. You could set a time. YOu know you both can work at the kitchen table10:00 - 10:15 or 10:30 or something. You do adapt you know. I remember teaching 2 grades at once and you work with one group and give them work to do, turn to the other group, teach them what is necessary then put them to work and then turn back to the other group and so on and so on. Every body has to adapt teacher and both groups. I set up signals to go to the bathroom etc. so that I wouldn't have to stop and discuss it with any one. Signals to indicate they were having trouble and needed help when I could and when they needed help, right now. You have to train Seth to work on his own. this might be a good opportunity. Tell him what to do for a page or printing or whatever and tell them both this is work time AND quiet time. Start short times and work them up. There is that clear as mud? Whether teaching time is at the table or whether it is in the room. Let it be one on one or let them adapt. Decisions, decisions, eh? love you for what you are doing. You could also have noisy work together time. Math or music or something like that. Everybody could sing at the top of their lungs while they work. Change it up, Have fun. Backwards day, where they write their names backward on everything. Have Seth in the room and her in at the table. On Fridays I have FRAK day Friday random act of kindness day and then share it at the end of the day. Pick a day and let them come up with an ideas pajama day, backwards day, give a pig a pancake day, marker day, on the balcony day, ice . Hmmmm.... I think I am tired. I am rambling rose, ramblin rose. Night night. xoxoxox

Laura said...

Ahhhh....this brings back so many memories of the brainstorming ideas you gave me while I homeschooled. You, me dear Mrs. Whizzle are a born teacher. You were/are a valuable asset and gleaned much wisdom from you. Thank you, girlfriend!

have fun with it Darla, I can see Seth loving the "backwards day" and Hannah the FRAK day.

QuicklyHome said...

Headphones, earplugs, whisper?