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April 27, 2017 / sharoncopy

5 minute kids”

“Miss Sharon?”
“Miss Sharon?”
“Miss Sharon?”

The first 10 times that A. asked me a question or told me something he considered newsworthy didn’t bother me in the least. He was one of 24 and it was pretty normal for 1st graders. But as the morning wore on, and A. turned out to also be one of those children who has to be re-directed (that’s what we say instead of corrected, in the teacher biz) consistently, my patience was wearing thin.

“A, please go back to your seat.”
“A, go back to your seat.”
“A, stop talking.”
“A, line up – don’t you want to go to gym?”
“A, you need to get your book bin and stay in ONE PLACE, NOT keep moving all over the room.”
I was exasperated, and started to wonder if I could ask that he go to another classroom for the rest of the day. It was difficult to help, answer, re-direct, teach, or enjoy the other 24 kids with his consistent neediness.

A., I thought, is one of those 5-minute kids. He either asks a question, tells me something, or does something that initiates a reprimand – literally – every 5 minutes. He MUST talk. The only way I got him to do his writing assignment was by telling him that I would take his name off the “frowny-face board” if he did it. He quickly copied what was on the board, added about 4 more sentences of his own, interrupting whatever I was doing at least twice to show me that he was writing more.

He didn’t line up for lunch – he was messing around with a few other boys in the back of the room. During our 1-hour movie, he sat in the front next to his nearly-as-loud buddy and provided a commentary (I turned on the subtitles – mostly for me).

At the end of the day, I got everyone lined up in proper order (Bus #2, Bus #4, walkers, Zumba-class, that sort of thing), and right away my “scout” informed me that A.’s mom was there to pick him up. Feeling relieved, I called out to him, “A., your mom is here!”
“That’s my grandma,” A. said. “My Mom passed away.” And as he headed out the door, he said, “I miss my Mom.” Then he stepped back in and asked, “Oh – Miss Sharon, can you tie my shoe first?”
Tears stung my eyes, as I said in my kindest voice, “Sure. Have a good evening, A.”
I went home and cried.

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