Friday, March 19, 2010

Not a bad way to end a week...

Although, I had my doubts about it; a meeting with a parent at the end of the day on a Friday could NOT in any way turn out good. 

The Social Studies teacher had called the meeting.  One of my students, one who I keep pleading with "Please, try to live up to your name...", was failing her class.  Not only was he failing, but he'd been caught in more than one lie.  And his attitude needed some Serious adjusting.  Ok, I'll come, too - should last, what, 20 minutes??  Fine.. will do!

In reality, it lasted closer to 90 minutes, but boy was it worth it!  SST (Social Studies Teacher) looked at Student and said, very pointedly, "You lie, you are lazy and you cheat.  I've had enough of it."  He gave her this "Oh, if only I could tell you where to shove it, lady" look.  She asked him, in front of his mother, "Are you on drugs?"  He replied a simple "No," still glaring at her.  She then leaned in for a closer connection, pointed a finger at him and said "Are you being bullied?"

His face dropped.

"Are you?  You are, aren't you?  Who is it?"

His eyes started welling, and we spend the next nearly hour gathering the details of who, what, how, how often and for how long.  He lifted up his shirt sleeve to reveal a large bruise where the Ringleader had punched him because he refused to do something that was asked.  He cried, went through tissue after tissue, and at the end of it all, was no longer glaring at any of us. His little brother, age probably around 5, came up to snuggle with him, because he was scared for his big brother.  LB had probably never seen BB cry before.  Mom was crying, too, because she had no idea.

Nor did I.  I would have pegged this kid for the bully, not the victim.  He had slowly morphed into a world-class jerk.  He'd done the same at home, not coming home when asked, refusing to help around the house, getting mouthy, showing his mom the "go to hell" look he'd given his teachers, too.  I had no idea, at all, he was suffering so much.  It all makes sense now, as most things do in hindsight, that what we were seeing was a manifestation of a kid being abused.  He didn't know how to ask for help, but at least he had one teacher, one solid, veteran, say-what-you-will-about-strict-and-old-school teacher who could see the reason behind the behavior.

She pledged, as did I, to help him.  The Ringleader is notorious at our school for being downright mean to nearly everyone.  I think Student is carrying a lighter load tonight because of the meeting.  And this meeting reminded me, in a very in-your-face-wake-the-hell-up way, to stop rushing to judgment about kids and their behavior.  There IS always a reason for it, and part of my job as their teacher is to take the time to figure out what it is.  I am sure glad I took the time today; it was time very well spent.

1 comment:

Kristen @ Motherese said...

As a mom and former high school teacher, this post hits me right in the gut. Bravo to you, the SST, and the mom for taking the time to sit down with this boy in crisis. Too often I fear that I overlooked students who seemed especially needy or lazy or rude and this post makes me wonder what I could have found out had I taken the time to ask the right questions.

Found your blog through your comment on my guest post at Momalom. I enjoyed my visit. Thanks!