Olson Duffis

Lessons Drawn From Roberto’s Case

I had a student in the 7th grade who I will call Roberto. He was the kind of student who, I concluded, was a waste of my time. And his.  He was just too playful and never seemed to be interested in science. When he was not disrupting my class, he pretended to be asleep. Roberto went through all of the steps of the disciplinary plan with me as well as other teachers; from phone calls, detentions, parent conferences and referrals, to indoor suspension and an outdoor suspension. Many times I had to send him to other teachers, because he was just too disruptive. The school year came to an end, and I was happy that he was gone. He scored good grades in the first nine weeks, so gained sufficient points to pass 7th grade science.

The next year I was given an 8th grade science class. And guess who was among the students?! Roberto! But … he was different. As the year went by, he was full of surprises. Throughout the year he would say, “Yeah I remember you taught us that last year.” What?! He remembered?! He had paid attention?!  These episodes happened several times during the course of 8th grade. I was puzzled and in disbelief, because I could not see how he had learned anything beyond the topics of the first nine weeks.

I am still without answers to explain Roberto, but I drew some conclusions from his case. First, there is some truth to the notion that some children who are very smart, may also be hyperactive. Second, in the teaching profession, at times it is possible to feel that one is wasting valuable time with a student, but as time passes by, the final outcome of our effort can be very rewarding.

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