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Classroom reflections

March 16, 2009|By CLAUD KITCHENS

Having a 6-year-boy in a first-grade classroom who is a constant irritant to his classmates and his teacher is not unusual. Mopsy thought she had the winner of all time in Adam.

Adam dropped things on the floor, teased his classmates, made noise and was constantly disruptive. Mopsy had done everything she knew to do to make him a productive class member. Parent conferences proved to be of no benefit. Special attention, such as standing by his desk and touching his shoulder had no positive effect.

She had moved him twice to different locations in the room, but his behavior did not change. She found herself constantly berating him.

In desperation, she moved him to a desk next to a girl who was quiet and attentive. Perhaps, Mopsy thought, some of those characteristics would rub off on him.

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Things seemed to get somewhat better, but Adam still had his moments. One day Mopsy, completely frustrated by him, said, "Adam, I just don't know what I'm going to do with you."

The quiet little girl said, "Mrs. Astin, if you would stop yelling at him so much, he'd be a lot better."

Wisdom is not just the province of the old.

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.

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