Incidence in the Classroom Essay

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Incidence in the Classroom

Critical Learning Experiences

One specific incident that is fairly eminent among the others that have taken place at ICCD where I am employed as a student teacher involved one of the general education pre-kindergarten students. This particular student was actually a twin, and both he and his brother were new to the class I was helping as a student teacher. On this one particular morning Haneef decided that he did not want to participate in the class instruction. What was interesting about this situation was that his twin brother, Habeeb, had no problem coming to the class and preparing himself for school that day. Haneef, on the other hand, was something altogether else.

He actually refused to enter the classroom facility when his mother attempted to bring both of the boys in. He hesitated at the threshold of the room, and made his brother go in first. This was his initial sign of resistance. His mother -- while managing to get out of the way of other parents and the students they were bringing in -- was finally able to coerce him into the classroom after several minutes. The next demonstration of Haneef's obstinacy was the fact that he did not want his mother to leave him in the room. He insisted that she sit "right there" (he pointed to a space near where he was supposed to sit). His mother, of course, tried to pacify him by staying close to him as the other parents brought in their children and filed out. However, when she attempted to do the same Haneef threw a royal fit -- leaping from his seat, parading all about the room, and alternately shrieking and crying at a high volume that was immensely distracting to the rest of the students and to the other teacher and myself, who were attempting to being class.

My teacher thought it best if I maintained control of the rest of the class while she sought a word with Haneef and his mother. Our concern was two-fold. We certainly wanted Haneef to feel comfortable and to have a positive, rewarding learning experience in the class that day and other days. He and his brother had been coming for a week and this was the first time he had ever demonstrated such reluctance to participate. My teacher attempted to calm him down and to entice him to peacefully sitting in his seat and continuing his lessons with various rewards. However, none of this appeased Haneef. At this point, our secondary concern -- that of the welfare, responsibility, and education of the other students, began to take priority. Simply put, we could not allow Haneef's antics and hesitance to disturb the other members of the class -- particularly since some of the other parents were lingering around, awaiting the denouement and the start of the school day for their children. At this point Haneef's mother began to implement disciplinary measures, and told him that he would have to forsake certain pleasures such as drawing when he went home and being allowed to watch one half hour of television. The short of this incident is that Haneef eventually had to leave with his mother that day, whereas his brother Habeeb, remained and had quite a productive (if decidedly less eventful) day than his brother did.

After the class had ended for the day, my teacher and I thoroughly discussed what had taken place and simultaneously evaluated our role in it. We both realized that in our efforts to attempt to involve Haneef in the school that day, we allowed him and his mother to have too much license. My teacher decided that if ever such an event were to occur again, that we should have the mother speak to Haneef outside the classroom and not be as great as a distraction as we was -- temporarily -- for other students and parents. We believed we were prudent in having my teacher talk to Haneef and his mother while I worked with the class during their morning drills. However, in an ideal situation it would be best for my teacher to have had her discussion with Haneef and his mother outside in the hallway, and only allow him into the classroom when he had demonstrated that he was ready to behave and participate in school that day.

The preceding incident was actually extremely similar to another one that followed it. On this particular occasion, I was coming in for an afternoon session with the kindergarten class. I had been spending a great deal of time with one student in particular, Paolo Miguel, who was actually in danger of being held back due to a lack of proficiency in his phonetic pronunciation and his dearth of mastery of the alphabet. As such, I had been spending a good deal of my time as a teacher's assistant in helping Paolo with his letters and their pronunciation. On this particular occasion, however, Paolo was behaving quite similar to Haneef in the fact that he was resolved to not attend school that day. The problem, of course, was that he was already on campus grounds -- within the hallway just outside of the classroom, and his father had similarly resolved that his son was not going to repeat kindergarten.

A battle of wills ensued, of course, in which Paolo's father first attempted to nurse and woo his son into going to class by holding him and cradling him in the hallway (which is what he was doing when I first arrived in class). However, Paolo's doggedness would not yield so easily, and before long the rest of the students and my teacher could hear the young boy's screeching protests against attending class that day. I was tacitly motioned by my teacher to urge Mr. Miguel to take his son further down the hallway so as to not distract the students.

On this occasion, however, Mr. Miguel roundly succeeded in getting Paolo to assent to coming into the classroom. Therefore, about midway through the afternoon session, a tear-streaked and visibly distraught Paolo Miguel entered the room. My job, as it had been in the preceding weeks, was to help Paolo master his letters. I had never worked with a student before who had been in such a prolonged state of defiance and emotional upheaval, and I was certainly a little trepidatious about doing so for the first time. Would Paolo continue his ranting and obstinacy with me? Did he resolve to enter the class but not participate?

To my surprise, this would prove to be one of my most productive sessions with Paolo. His emotional display of the past several minutes left him fairly animated, and he displayed a level of enthusiasm and excitement in his studies that he never had before. It was my job as his instructor to harness that energy in a way that was productive and educational, and on more than one occasion I had to remind him to focus on the activity at hand. But the marked difference in his behavior was actually able to help Paolo with his studies in more than one way. Whereas during previous class sessions he was typically reserved and would talk hardly above a whisper, on this occasion he was raucous and varied the types of voices and the level of loudness he projected them with to help engage himself in his studies, more. It was actually beneficial to him because it allowed him to try more, and it all seemed to require less exertion on his part to try. IN previous sessions his work with me -- and in the class in general -- seemed taxing and strenuous to him, during this particular session he seemed to view his school work…[continue]

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