Classroom reflections

November 03, 2008|By Claud Kitchens

He was incorrigible. His mother was a streetwalker, his father a drug addict. He didn't like himself and he didn't like anyone else.

One day his teacher brought him to me.

She said, "I didn't know what to do with him and I don't want him in my classroom."

I didn't know what to do with him, either. Six years old and tough as nails. We went into my office. He sat in a chair and I sat at my desk.

We just sat, saying nothing, for about an hour. Finally, I saw teardrops forming on his face. He got up and crawled on my lap. I put my arms around him while he sobbed, almost convulsively. He calmed down after about a half an hour.

I took him into my private bathroom and washed his face. We then went to the school lunchroom, hand in hand, and had lunch together.


After that, we walked back to his class, still hand in hand. As we walked into the room, he smiled. We had never seen him smile before. For the rest of the year, he was no model student, but his behavior was acceptable.

All children, particularly those with lots of problems, need lots of love.

Claud Kitchens has been an educator for more than 35 years, retiring in 1990 as the deputy state superintendent of the Maryland State Department of Education. Prior to that, he was the superintendent of Washington County Public Schools.

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