October 9, 2007
Event Analysis #3
This past week at Guilford Elementary School, I witnessed firsthand what it means to bring your full self to everything you do. I was placed in Mrs. Smith’s fifth grade class and will most likely be spending the rest of the year there. When I walked into the classroom, the students had just returned from recess and were full of energy. Mrs. Smith had them all sit at their desks and she began to start the math lesson for the day. I was to listen to her lecture and then she was going to break the class up into groups and I was going to assist with one of them. While Mrs. Smith was giving the lesson, very few children paid attention. They were playing with pens, pencils, or anything around them and they were talking to one another. With all of this going on, Mrs. Smith did very little to calm them down and just continued with the lesson, unconcerned if anyone understood.
Once Mrs. Smith split the class up into groups, I knew I needed to do something. These children were there to learn and they were getting nothing out of it. When I was assigned my group to assist, Mrs. Smith took one boy by the name of Robert and brought him to her group. I did not know why she did this at first but I soon realized that he was very distracting to the rest of the class. I thought nothing of it and began to work on the math problems with the five of my students. In less than five minutes Mrs. Smith sent Robert back to my group. At this point I was very confused. Had he finished all his work? Was he supposed to leave his group?
It wasn’t until Mrs. Smith turned to me that I realized what had happened. The two of us made eye contact and she replied “Robert was sent back to his seat because he doesn’t do anything. I will not waste my time with him.” I was in absolute shock when I heard this remark. It was at this point that that I knew I needed to bring everything I had. Upperclassman had told me that many times during service-learning you were able to coast. They said very few teachers assign you any work and if they did it was very minimal. Up until this incident I believed them. However, now I felt it was my responsibility to help the students. The moment Mrs. Smith placed doubt on or Robert, he completely gave up. He told me there was no use in him trying because he was “going to fail anyway.” Something about seeing a fifth grader feel this way made my heart hurt. Believing in a child is one thing that will truly make a difference. For the rest of the afternoon I did all I could to help Robert. It hurt me too much to watch a boy at such a young age begin to throw his life away. If Mrs. Smith was not going to do something, then I was.