I am a tough teacher. I don't put up with b/s, I expect hard work from my kids. And I love them so much. They know it. Sometimes, though, I am super tough on kids I know have little to no support outside of school. There is nobody to help with homework, to check they've completed assignments or put things away in a backpack so they'll have them at school the next day. Many kids are at school from 7:30 - 6pm, then go home to a fair amount of chaos, finally getting to sleep far later than is healthy for an elementary-aged child on a couch or floor or a bed shared with one or more younger siblings.
If I haven't referred before in my blog to C, it's certainly not due to his absence from my mind. He's constantly there. C is BRIGHT, funny, tough and kind. He's also messy, absent-minded, angry (working hard to deal with that), regularly spending recess or lunch time catching up on home and school-work, and a struggling student. He fits the home description above. His single mom has a 6th grade education, speaks no English, is often unemployed, and has three kids ... C, his older sister and a one year old.
This week, C spent a number of hours during what should have been his free time doing work he should have done at home, after school, during school, etc. His penmanship is a constant battle between the two of us, resulting in double the time necessary completing work as he rewrites assignments. Today, C brought over a piece of writing during lunch. He and his partner in crime, A, needed me to look over rough drafts of a writing assignment before they published a final draft. He commented on my yellow highlights over misspelled words how he struggled with spelling and punctuation. We talked about strategies he can use, knows how to use, just needs to use. He nodded and turned to begin publishing. Then he turned back to me and said, "Thanks for caring about me so much, Ms. Stern."
Why we do the thing we do.