Monday, June 15, 2009

The class "square peg round hole"

Still green.

Every class has a kid that sticks out like a sore thumb in a way this kid, this kid, and this kid will never be. Eventually, probably after a lot of heartache, they will find their place. But even then, the "square peg round hole" title may still apply.

Jerry* was a kid in my fifth grade class who really really stuck out. Every other student hated him. Granted, he was annoying. But he did not deserve to have his sweatshirt drawn on with markers, his notebooks torn up, his pencils stolen, and his very presence rejected.

Annie* is a kid in my Thursday art class who is one of the most obnoxious personalities on the face of the planet. She is in fifth grade and insists on telling long-winded tales like a kindergardener when all I asked was a simple question. Her art style reminds me a little bit of me when I was in art school (cartoonish, pretty ugly stuff, very little elegance or subtlety with her aesthetic sense).

Avery* is a kid in my Wednesday art class who will. Not. Stop. Talking. Ever. Also a fifth grader (does EVERYTHING happen in fifth grade?) she enjoys badgering the boys, who sometimes treats her in a very ungentlemanly way, even if some of the stuff she gets, well, she had it coming. She also enjoys bossing around the girls.

All three students are smart, (can be) personable, socially awkward, but are good kids overall. They are just unconventional enough for other people to be uncomfortable around them. And of course, conventional people tend to be unnecessarily rude to the unconventional people sometimes. Must be something leftover from early mankind's survival instincts.

I too struggle with accepting this type of kid. Mainly because they are very outspoken when things don't go the way they want it to which can impede my instruction. A lot. Sometimes, I just want these kids to suck it up and stop complaining that life isn't fair.

So I tell them that they are right, it isn't. And they have an advantage over everyone else for learning that lesson early and well. And that sometimes, people will not like you, no matter how good you are at whatever they are good at. The most mature, win-win way of dealing with it is:.....well, I don't know. But for now, take care of the stuff you can accomplish today. Some day, you'll be able to take care of everything you haven't been able to now, because you'll be able to accomplish a lot more.

Also, all bullies, bad-mouthing, rudeness, and other sundry misbehaviors will have to answer to me. And I do not make stuff like that a pleasant experience.

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