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Classroom reflections

November 24, 2008|By CLAUD KITCHENS

The junior high school in which I began my teaching career had classes grouped by ability. My last period math class was the cream of the cream. Brighter than any group had the right to be.

One spring day they came into my classroom visibly upset. Try as I might, I simply could not get their attention. Finally, I stopped my efforts to teach.

I looked at Theodisia and said, "Teddy, what's wrong with you folk today?"

She asked, "Do you know Mr. Patrone down the hall?"

Certainly I knew Mr. Patrone. He was their history teacher.

"Well," Teddy said, "He gave us a test today that was terribly unfair."

I replied, "That doesn't sound like Mr. Patrone."

"All right," Teddy said, "Answer this question that was on the test. ''The blank is the blank blank of the blank.'"

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Suppressing a laugh, I said, "That seems pretty tough to me."

We then went back to the lesson of the day and everything went smoothly. Sometimes a teacher just needs to stop and listen to the students.

Claud Kitchens, who passed away last week, was 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. The Herald-Mail will continue running this column as long as we have previously unpublished material available.

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