Monday, November 14, 2011

Divide and Conquer

 A red-tailed hawk over Seneca Lake, last month.
I miss the fall colors already.

I'm slowly getting the hang of working with my students.  Each class period is different from the others - different subjects, different teachers, and different combinations of kids.  I've found that often I have to think about how to separate or group students before I can think about how to teach them.  Honestly, the social/emotional drama in eighth grade is mind-boggling.  Add in a number of students with attention deficit issues and various behavioral needs, and it's like juggling squirrels to teach more than two of them in a room at a time.  Today they were unusually, well, squirrelly.  Heaven only knows why (I don't ask why any more), but they were more than a little bit of a handful today.  In spite of that, we managed to cover some ground in math and in studying for an English test.  I'll take what I can get, and overall it was a pretty good day.

My own kids have been almost as flaky lately, Princess Yakyak more so than Safety Guy.  PYY has been tired from staying up to read.  (She thinks I don't know she reads under her covers with a flashlight at night.  Sorry dear, I've been there and done that!)  Tonight I'm going to enforce an early bedtime for her, without any flashlights or reading material.  A good night's sleep will work wonders in her attitude, I hope.

Safety Guy has been fairly agreeable lately.  There are moments of teen angst and verbal defiance, but they haven't been too serious or too prolonged.  And, in an endearing turn of events, he's been asking me for hugs occasionally.  I've had to remind him that when he asks for a hug, it's customary for him to hug me back.  Otherwise, it's like hugging a tree, as he stands with his arms at his sides.  Sometimes it's the fine details of social skills that escape him.  Other times, they bypass him completely, and don't even cast a shadow as they go by.  Ah, Aspergers. . . .

The old Erie Canal, not far west of us.  Lovely!

 We're waiting for the kids' first report cards of the year, which should come home in a couple days.  Safety Guy found out early that he's getting a C in math, and he's quite proud of himself.  He worked HARD for that grade, and considering how much he struggled last year and had numerous failing grades, starting out with a solid C is a GOOD start for him.  All of his other grades are higher (mostly Bs, with an A or two for variety).  That's just fine with us!  And hopefully he'll see some upward progress all around this year. 

Sylvan has been very good for him, and not just for math.  The discipline of studying for his math has carried over into his other subjects, and he's proud of his good grades.  We have had to sit on him about getting his homework done, since his teacher had to contact me several times in October about unfinished or missing assignments.  Organization doesn't come easily to him, and there was probably a bit of ostrich syndrome going on as well.  (You know, the if I don't look at it and don't do it, it doesn't exist approach to homework.)  Also, Safety Guy doesn't like having to be checked up on each night regarding his homework, and he really dislikes having to correct his work.  He figures that if he did it once, right or wrong he's NOT going to do it again.  (We're still working on that issue.)  But for now we've reached an understanding:  if he shows us his completed work each night, and corrects any silly mistakes, errors made through being careless or inattentive, we won't  make him redo assignments.  He'll have to stand or fall by his own work, and it's not our job to point out every error for correction.  Homework is practice, and his teacher will help him learn from his mistakes.  But we made it clear that if his teacher has to speak to us about incomplete homework again, he'll be losing after school TV/computer privileges until he gets back on the ball.  And THAT is a promise he takes seriously.

Both kids are likely to be quite upset when we have a media-free weekend sometime in the near future.  We're all spending too much time online, and my husband and I think a long weekend break from electronic media would do us all good.  If you hear weeping and wailing and mayhem from Central NY, you can bet that the "no TV/no computer" edict is in going into effect in our household.  Some of the fussing might even be coming from the kids. . . .

1 comment:

  1. I am very glad to see SG got a C. I know he worked hard for it...hopefully he does great in all of his classes!

    Good luck with that media free wknd. That would kill most families nowadays!