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It is Time

Tomorrow morning at 8:00 a.m. the first bell rings on a new school year. Each teacher will great his or her class for the first time. The tone for the year will be set within the first few hours.

I peeked at my class roster today — even though I was warned it was not set in stone. A line of people halfway down the block were still trying to register their kids for school today (despite the fact that the office has been open for registeration for the last 21 days). We will receive our offical rosters early tomorrow, and I know I should have waited until then to start fretting.

Every year I am given one (at least) problem child. Every year I have suceeded in turning that problem child around academically. Well, it seems this year is to be no different — except — I’ve already had this child. He was in my reading class for an entire semester and he remains a complete mystery to me.

He was very intelligent and always participated orally in class, but he would not work. He was content to sit in his chair and stare at a blank wall for hours. Because he was content immobile, restricting his priviledges did not motivate him. Praise did not motivate him. He just stared at me through dark expressionless eyes. Calling his parents only lead to a scene where his mother shrieked and he ignored her.

The plan I will use –the plan I always use — is unconditional positive regard. I also always use considerable prayer. If you are a praying person, pray for B, and pray for me.

Thank you.

Quilly is the pseudonym of Charlene L. Amsden, who lives on The Big Island in Hawaii. When she is not hanging out with Amoeba, she is likely teaching or sewing. Or she could be cooking, taking photographs, or even writing. But if she's not doing any of that, she's probably on Facebook or tinkering with her blog.


  1. Our daughter starts school for the first time next Tuesday, she is very excited. I hope her teachers are as lovely as you. Good luck with B.

  2. I will pray for B … and I DO pray for YOU! (and for alllllll teachers!) A child that refuses to work is huuuuuge problem. I HAVE one of them, and I’ve dealth with many many many of them in the classroom. None so young as 5th grade though… I wish you the best – and hope you come up with something that compels him!

  3. huh- that is a puzzle. no learning disabilities or autism? is he challenged by the work? is he bored? has anyone (probably) asked him what it is he thinks about while he is staring at the wall? that is truly a puzzle.

  4. Clues for you: intelligent and good verbally! He needs verbal outlets rather than written. I know you will be patient with him. He may be the child that makes this year remarkable for you and he may discover the power of the spoken word through study. Good luck. I am praying for you now and for this special child to reveil himself! what a lovely adventure.

  5. Update on B: I was informed today that B’s mother died in a horrible car accidnet which almost claimed his life as well. He was in the hospital and in physical therapy. When I had him in my reading class he had just returned to school. Why didn’t somebody tell me this then?

    The screaming woman who came to his reading conference that semester was his Aunt. B. now lives with his grandmother in a stable environment. With that vital background I was able to realize today that B. goes expressionless when he is challenged or unsure. If he doesn’t know how to cope he hides his feelings. Now I have an idea of where to start to help him.

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