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education

Being a teacher in the wake of the VA Tech massacre

I’ve started being especially sensitive about the small handful of kids I teach who are antisocial to some degree. I’ve brought it up with other teachers who are exactly on the same page.

I’ve got a middle schooler who gets in a verbal fight with someone no matter who he’s around. Others often egg him on, but he’s set himself up for it. After I take attendance, other students assigned to his table flee it like rats leaving a sinking ship (they are allowed then to change seats.) He often is spectacularly argumentative with me. This is very sad to me because he is a fine artist who works very diligently and with a remarkable amount of creativity and organization. This is one of the ones that that other teachers are worried about too.

Another student always has his head down, gets mad if I catch him trying to sneak out without cleaning up after himself, and lacks basic skills like how to use a ruler or fold paper remotely evenly. He never talked to anyone else in class either until recently. His head is always way down nearly touching the desk when he works, back hunched over and arm hiding his work. I have discussed him with counselors and the district psychologist. I am relieved that he now sometimes talks to another boy in class, and is a little more animated than at the beginning of the year. Still bends way down over his paper though.

One high schooler I have, he’s not so alarming. I think he’s just a loner who rarely talks to others. He once told me, “I’m not really a people person” when asked to group with other kids. He talks to me sometimes, usually averting his eyes. I’ve helped him out with some projects by printing out images from the internet for him and such. I also gave him a set of expensive drawing pens I had lying around when I saw him trying to find good pens in the classroom supplies. So he approaches me more readily than he did at the beginning of the year. He has a certain sense of apathy that concerns me when it crops up. He often stops what he is doing and lays his head down on folded arms. He once said on a paper something about being depressed, so I think I’ll bring it up with a school counselor now. Except she’s on maternity leave and there’s a sub.

By Dawn Pedersen

Science advocate, web designer, educator, artist, and mommy.

2 replies on “Being a teacher in the wake of the VA Tech massacre”

Hi Dawn!

This comment is not specifically about this one post, but rather your entire website.

I just finished my student teaching to be an art teacher and I love reading your blog. I find it to be so on target with things I am thinking/doing/worrying about/dealing with and it really helps me out a lot.

So..Thank you!
Sarah

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