Thursday, December 17, 2009

The class "Grand-Stander"

Look at me! Look at me! Although this photo was just for a joke.

Devon* is a fifth grader. He has a speech impediment (stutter) which he sometimes relies on to prolong his time during presentations and whatnot. He likes to be the center of attention. He is rather show-off-y, although his skills across the board are a B average. Which is good, just nothing spectacular. He likes to interact with his audience, get side-tracked, which also means he needs constant re-focusing during his presentations.

In other words, he's a grand-stander.

He's a very sweet kid. Kind, caring of others. He works hard, and manages to keep his other attention deficiency under control most of the time. He does tend towards accidents - falling, tripping, dropping things, bumping into people. It seems like almost every other recess he manages to hurt himself in some way. His mother is known to call him, "weird." Which he is, but in a good way for the most part.

The thing with Devon is that I have to be very firm, and very direct with him. Using hints and jokes to re-focus him are not as effective as when I use it with the rest of the class. He takes those hints and continues on his merry grand-standing way. It can get obnoxious. Similar to how grand-stander adults are.

Luckily, he is just a kid, a pretty good kid. I give him a square look straight in the eyes, firmly tell him to "move on, Devon," and he does. Sometimes he gives me this innocent look, opens his arms, palms up, and says, "What?" as if he doesn't know. I play the record on repeat, changing my tone of voice and he says, "Fine, Ms. Ng" and moves on. Sometimes he moves on reluctantly, but move on he does.

When personalities are strong, like Devon's, some of that basic child psychology I had to learn as a teacher gets thrown out the window. Kids are kids, until they need to be treated like an adult to get them to stop wasting class time on frivolous things like making faces and bantering with individuals.

On of my CT's last "teacher mantras" is: "Some of the things they teach you in pedagogy is a bunch of bull. Give students more power? No, students have enough power as it is."

I say it depends on the student. Some students definitely have too much power, and end up using it negatively. There are others whom I would like to see more get-up-and-go in.

But Devon, and others of his like, definitely know how to work the bit of power that he has for his own attention-seeking devices.

*not student's real name

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