Advertisement

Classroom reflections

December 08, 2008|By CLAUD KITCHENS

I was on my first visit to tutor a 7-year-old boy who was having difficulty with reading. He, his parents and a younger sister were temporarily living in a motel. The father had been named the manager of a new department store and they had just moved into town.

The mother invited me into the room and I like to describe the boy's behavior as climibing on the drapes and swinging on the chandelier. The mother kept saying, "Don't do that," but to no avail. I tried for an hour to get his attention, but was not successful.

On my second visit, there was no change in his behavior. As I was leaving, I told the mother she was wasting her money. I did tell her I would come back one more time if she and the sister would leave me alone with the boy for an hour. She agreed to this.

Advertisement

On my third visit, the behavior continued. I literally wrestled the boy down on a bed, put a book in front of his face and said to him that I had come to teach him to read, and that he was going to read. For the rest of the summer, he was a model student and did learn to read.

The next summer, the parents asked me to tutor him in writing. Rather than one-on-one tutoring, I gathered up some material he could work with on his own, and said I would come back once a week to check his progress. He did well.

Since then, I have often wondered how many children are in special education simply because they did not learn discipline at home.

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 The Herald-Mail will continue running this column as long as we have previously unpublished material available.

The Herald-Mail Articles
|
|
|