Friday, October 19, 2012

Meet The Kids!

Hi everyone! You know I am starting to get over my depression about being an aide, when I am excited to introduce you to the newest kids I'm working with. The job is still a little confusing... one minute they're telling me to back off from Wyken and let the teachers deal with him, and the next minute I'm being told that I should be disciplining Wyken for getting up during a lesson... but the kids make it worthwhile. Some of them I know better than others. So without further ado...

Wkyen is the boy I supposedly work with. He's a spirited 7-year-old with a ton of enthusiasm for just about everything. Warren is always the kid singing the loudest in music class, running the fastest in gym class, and writing the most letters on his handwriting practice sheet. He's the one constantly raising his hand to ask a question, make a comment, or share some wild story. Wyken has a story for everything. For instance, today while were talking about Red Ribbon Week, Wyken said that once someone put out a cigarette but it somehow flew right into his mouth, and he chewed it, and he got sick and had to go to the doctor. He also told me that his best friend at home is a man who has an 800 pack instead of a 6 pack. In many of his stories, Wyken is beating up "bad guys." He keeps life exciting!

Annie Elizabeth is a tiny little girl who wears glasses and has learning problems. She acts much younger than 6 years old, but she is pretty smart in her own ways. While she has trouble with school work, she often succeeds in getting one of her friends to do her work for her, while calling it "help." We've had to explain to other girls in the class that if they do Annie Elizabeth's work for her, she won't learn! She greets me with a hug every day.

Ginger moved here from Poland last year, and spoke no English at all when she came. She now speaks English pretty well, although she is a little behind on her reading skills. She's friends with Annie Elizabeth, and is one of the girls who always helps her. The other day I told Ginger, "If you keep helping Annie Elizabeth, she'll have to take you to college with her so you can do her work for her there, too!" Ginger found that quite funny.

Antonovka is one of the boys I don't know as much about, because he's been absent a few of the 6 days that I've worked. The things I know about him are that he's very friendly and helpful, and loves football!

Redfree is a boy I don't know much about. Sorry, Redfree!

Ariane is a sweet girl who talks with a cute lisp, and is usually smiling. Except today, when I found her crying on the playground. I asked her what was wrong and she told me, "My grandma is going to die tomorrow!" I couldn't figure out why she thought that, except that during our Red Ribbon Week talk the kids had been bringing up grandparents who smoked, some of whom had died. When I asked Ariane why she thought her grandmother would die tomorrow, she told me, "Because she's 100 years old!" I tried to explain that being 100 didn't necessarily mean a person would die the next day. She seemed to feel better and went off to play on the monkey bars.

Johnny is from Russia, although he looks Japanese. Apparently there are a large number of Japanese people in Russia! He's a sweet and funny boy, who has a lot of difficulty with reading and writing. He is notorious for cheating on spelling tests by trying to look at his friends' papers. He usually gets sent to do his spelling test at the back table in private, to keep him away from any temptation.

Nittany is the class tattletale. Every time I turn around, she is tattling on someone for something or another! It is actually hard for me to think of anything else I know about Nittany, because just about every interaction I've had with her has been her tattling on someone.

Davey is my little buddy. He's a very somber and quiet boy, who reminds me a lot of Ani, the angry little boy from the at-risk preschool program where I did some of my student teaching, and also a little boy in one of my field work placements who had selective mutism. Davey often refuses to talk, especially when things aren't going his way. It drives the teacher crazy because he thinks Davey is being rude. But because something about him reminds me so much about those other boys, I have to wonder if Davey is being rude or if it is something deeper than that. The other day I had to take Davey, Johnny, Ginger and Annie Elizabeth out in the hall to give them a spelling test that they had missed while they were getting help from the Resource teacher. All four of them were moaning and groaning the entire time. Talk about the worst four kids ever to put together for a spelling test! Annie Elizabeth cried because I wouldn't "help" her by giving her the answers, and Ginger and Johnny just took forever to write each word. But Davey actually started crying, the first time he wasn't sure how to spell a word, and he refused to write any more. I knelt by him and assured him that he should write the word down however he thought it was spelled, and that if he got it wrong it wouldn't be a big deal... the test was only a way for him and the teacher to discover what words he still needed to practice. But he continued to cry, and said, "My mom will yell at me if I miss one!" I wasn't even sure what to say about that. There was no way I could assure him that his mom wouldn't be mad, nor could I tell him he didn't have to take the test home. I finished up the test with the other kids and sent them back to the room, and then sat with Davey and coaxed him to write the rest of the words, letter by letter.

Beeley is a smart boy who likes to show off his smarts. Whenever the teacher is explaining something new, Beeley will raise his hand, and then rephrase what the teacher said in his own words. Not sure why. For instance, when the teacher was explaining to the kids that they had to stay off a certain playground after a rain because the surface was slippery, Beeley raised his hand and said, "If you're running, and you slip, you might get hurt badly!"

Malinda is also very smart, and is in a special program for gifted children. She goes down and does extra work, on a higher academic level, a few days a week. I think she reads on a fifth grade level. Everyone in the class knows how smart Malinda is, except for Malinda. She just acts like an ordinary first grade girl, always smiling and friendly and compliant.

Galarina is kind of mischievous. She has an odd sort of friendship with Wyken, and they goof off together during classes when they are able to sit together. She can also be bossy and kind of mean to the other kids, in a way that you'd expect to see in a fourth or fifth grader. You know, kind of snarky. For instance, she told Johnny that he couldn't play with her and some other kids. When Johnny told me about it and I confronted her, she said, "I didn't say that!" With a little more prodding she said that she had said it but was just kidding. I explained to her that it wasn't a funny joke and that it had hurt Johnny's feelings, and she agreed not to say it. Then she and Annie Elizabeth got up and walked away. Galarina glanced back at Johnny, and then looked at Annie Elizabeth and said loudly, "I hate when people follow us, don't you?" Sneaky!

Adam is another buddy of mine. When I started this job I was told that he was another kid I'd have to keep an eye on because of his behavior. The teacher indicated that Adam was not a very nice boy. But he is all smiles whenever I talk to him. He is definitely off task a lot of the time, and sometimes he does things such as insisting that he is the only one who can play with a certain soccer ball at recess, but that isn't too unusual for a first grade boy. I haven't seen any "terrible" behaviors from him, so far.

Richared's desk is near Wyken's, and so I am often on hand when he needs help with something. He's often daydreaming and just misses the directions, and I have to remind him what the teacher just said. Today, though, he started being plain old naughty. First, when the teacher asked the kids to take out two crayons, he took out his pencil bag and taking out all of his crayons, after he just watched Wyken get redirected for doing the same thing. A few minutes later, Wyken was rocking his desk. Wyken needs to be moving a lot, and he's allowed to rock his chair forward, but rocking the entire desk looked kind of dangerous. I asked him to stop, and he stopped right away. But then Richared started rocking his desk, and when I asked him to stop, he just grinned and kept doing it! I asked him again, and he still just laughed and did it even harder. I quietly asked him if I should "turn his card." (They have red, green, yellow and purple cards for their behavior management thingy.) He said, "No," and stopped... but then started up again less than thirty seconds later! This time, I put my hand on his desk and said, "Stop now," in a firm voice. He stopped for good. Maybe Richared is there to teach me a lesson on being a little more firm when I need to!

Sharon is a cute, tiny, dark-haired girl. I really don't know much about her. It seems that the kids I know the best are the ones who sit on Wyken's side of the room!

Scarlet is a tiny girl who has severe allergies. Her allergies are so severe that we have an air purifier in our classroom, and she goes to the nurse's office at lunch time each day to take an allergy pill. I have allergies too, although mine are more likely to give me sneezing fits and itchy eyes than to endanger my life. Still, the two of us have had several conversations about how allergies are a pain in the butt!

Lyman is another kid I don't know much about, although I've recently been told that he is one of the kids that I am supposed to keep an eye on, because he frequently ignores directions when the teacher says something. Like, blatantly ignores them. Not like a kid who is daydreaming or a kid who is so involved in what he's doing that he can hardly tear himself away, but a kid who will look right at you and then turn around and not do what you asked him to. Other than that, he is a super cute kid, little for a first grader, with beautiful red hair!

Nehou is a quiet little boy. I've helped him with his work a few times, and yesterday I helped him retie his shoe after it flew off his foot while he was playing soccer! Don't know much else about him yet, though. \

James is yet another kid I don't know a whole lot about, except that he is cute as a button and kind of hyper. During gym class, James is often playing so intensely that he hurts himself. For instance, chasing a soccer ball, he'll run so fast that his body gets ahead of his feet and he flies to the ground! I've seen that little dude take so many face plants... but he always gets up, with a grin on his face, and runs off to play some more.

Spencer is one more kid I don't know much about, because he rarely talks to me, even when I talk to him. But today we did have an odd conversation. It was right after our Red Ribbon Week talk, and the kids were all still talking about cigarettes, alcohol and drugs, as they lined up to go out for recess. Spencer came up to me and told me, "My big brother drinks wine, but I don't." "Well, I'm glad you don't, Spencer. That's a good choice," I replied. He nodded and said, "Yeah, I don't like wine. I drink piña coladas." I kind of drew a blank at that one!

They are a fun class! I am starting to enjoy being there! I guess it was inevitable, wasn't it?

Have a good weekend, everyone!

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