Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Challenges of a Title I School

As I'm sure I have mentioned, I'm not currently in my classroom. I have a wonderful intern (student teacher) doing her independent teaching at the moment. This morning she came to find me in the midst of their language arts time while I was meeting with a guided reading group in another first grade classroom. She pulled me out to say that our little princess's dad was here to take her because they were moving. It was not clear that our little princess knew what was happening.

I wrapped up my guided reading group and abandoned the idea of meeting with my next one. I walked our little princess down to the office trying to figure out what was going on. She had no idea.

As it turns out, the family had moved two months ago into a mobile home half an hour away (after living in only one bedroom for years). They had hoped she would be able to finish the year with us but it was just too hard to get her here with all the other demands of work and family (two younger siblings at home). She did not know today would be her last day. My principal managed to convince dad to keep bringing her for the rest of the week so that there would be time to register her at her new school and to give her time to adjust to this idea.

In 13 years of teaching here I've had kids give us a day or two of notice before leaving. I've had kids just not return and then learn that they moved. But I've never had a parent come in the middle of the day to take a kid away for good. Thank goodness for our amazing principal and a handy parent liaison who could translate.

Our school has a 30% mobility rate. I've been lucky. Our little princess will only be the third child who has left my room this year. I've gotten two new ones during the year. Some classrooms have had half their population turn over as the year progresses.

A high mobility rate is a challenge for the students and for the school. A classroom with a lot of turn over spends a ton of time reteaching routines, learning about new students, and redesigning instruction to accommodate changes.

That doesn't even take into consideration the half hour I spent this morning sorting out what was happening with our little princess. Having an intern in my room meant that the students were able to continue with a normal day. Otherwise, instructional time would have been lost.


Steve said...

Wow! You make my teaching difficulties sound trivial by contrast.

Sarah said...

It's so hard when kids leave! Just last week, I had a child stop coming to school. No warning, nothing. We just thought he was sick. As it turns out, he moved to another state! I didn't even get to say goodbye and that makes me sad....

Kristen said...

I have always taught at a Title 1 school. My first year teaching I had 36 kids walk in and out of my doors. 13 kids were there from start to finish. The others were there for as little as 2 days before moving on. I think it's so sad that parents have to move and move their children time and time again. The children get so frustrated having to learn a new school/friends/teacher/etc. and it doesn't help them be wonderful students. Sometimes there are those few exceptions. but it my experience, it leads them to be so disgrunteld that they stop trying and caring. I'm glad your porincipal was so caring and helpful. Hopefully the student will remember that and use it to her advantage.