I think working with older kids is either making me heartless or bringing out my mean and vicious personality. Or maybe I'm doing this right and it just feels like I'm being mean. (feel free to loudly and vehemently support that third option, lol.)
So. Fourth grade. Math test today. Last day before Thanksgiving break . . . cruel, but it would be crueler to save it for the first day back, no? Anyway, I'm walking around answering questions - and to state the obvious I can clarify a question they don't quite understand but can't tell them what to do if they don't remember.
There is a kid in this class who spends math time either spaced out, doodling, or trying to talk to other kids. Every. Single. Day. I kid you not. Every day someone - the teacher or me - calms him out for not paying attention. I've watched him pull his warning card, right down what he did on the "I had to pull a card" paper, go back to his desk and go right back to the doodling or whatever he just got in trouble for. It kind of boggles my mind. It's so crazy . . . a good chunk of the time the first half of the assignment is done as a class and then they get turned loose to finish it. And this kid freaks out because not only does he not know what to do, everyone else is way ahead of him. And when you ask him why he didn't copy the work down when the teacher was doing everything step by step he never has an answer.
So today when he asked for help my answer, naturally, was "this is a test, you have do it by yourself." This nearly brought him to tears as he tried to explain that it was too hard to do by himself. My answer? "That's what happens when you don't pay attention."
I know that was the right answer. And I wouldn't change it if I could go back. And that by fourth grade he should have figured out the whole connection between paying attention and learning thing. But for a moment I thought this kid was going to have (or perhaps fake) a panic attack. And now I feel evil. Because, you know, I was totally supposed to hold his hand through the whole test and practically do it for him . . . because let's face it, half the time he gets things like "3-1" wrong. Heaven help this kid when he gets to high school.
On a lighter note, I told you that you'd be hearing from Georgette again!
So among other things 5th graders do linguistically, they learn a lot of root words and prefixes and how you can combine them and they mean similar things.
For those of you totally not following - recently they did "graph." As in photograph. And "graphy" and "grapher," which can be combined with "photo" to talk about pictures or "carto" to talk about maps. With me now?
The one they're currently working on is ology/ologist/ologic. And they had a worksheet with those roots and prefixes that included bio/herb/geo . . . and arche. Obviously, most of them needed these prefixes defined and from there they could more or less figure things out.
So I'm explaining that "arche" means old, so archeology is the study of old things. And the kid I'm explaining it to says "like what?" and before I can answer Georgette jumps in with "PEOPLE!"
I about died.
Okay, so technically she was right . . . except she wasn't talking about remains of people found at Pompeii, you know? She was thinking people . . . ummmmmmm . . . of ages . . . similar to . . . some people who read this blog. Yeah, we'll put it that way. (take that, dad!) I'm still giggling. She's a really smart girl when she thinks - she just doesn't think until after she's said something, generally speaking. Good times.
So in conclusion: I'm a horrible person and Georgette is not a spaz, she just has no 5-second delay button yet. Yay.
P. ost S. cript
There are no words for this kind of awesome sauce.