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Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Sad Lad

This is Sam.*
Look, look.
Look at Sam.
Sam is sad.

Mom says Sam must read.
Sam can read.
He reads That Fat Cat.

Sam does not like That Fat Cat.
He wants to read big books.
Sam is too old for baby books.

Teacher says Sam must read.
He must read That Fat Cat.
Then he will learn to read better.
Then he can read Encyclopedia Brittanica.

Sam is sore.
He has read That Fat Cat many times.
He does not think he will learn now.
He does not like to hear
how far he has come.
He is tired.

Sam is sad.
See Sam kick.
Sam is sad and bad and mad.

BasMelech is mad, too.
She must be mad --
She wanted to teach Sam!
BasMelech is sad and mad.
And sometimes bad.

BasMelech wants to be good.
She is not so good.

BasMelech's friends say
Don't beat yourself up.
You do some things right.

BasMelech does not want to do
some things right.
She wants to be perfect.

BasMelech's friends say
Being a little good is OK.
Then you will learn to be better.
Someday you can be a tzadeikes.

BasMelech is sore.
She has been mediocre for a long time.
She thinks she may never be great.
She is tired.

But she gets up every morning
And tells Sam
to go on trying.

*Name changed to protect minors.

11 comments:

BEHIND A SMILE said...

Love ur poem - here my answer ;)

Do not cry
Do not sigh
Tis a long journey
Your going on

Though looking behind
You may sometimes find
You've not accomplished
Much at all

Know evey step
With all your prep
Is bringing him nearer
To the other side

And remember it
When having a fit
Small moves for him
Are like giant leaps

So don't be sad
When Sam is mad
Cus with little steps
U'll get there in the end!

The Dreamer said...

BM - love the way you put it.

Can you get this published somewhere? (change the "basmelech" of course)

badforshidduchim said...

I tried responding dick and jane style, but it didn't work... I once tutored a kid who would get frustrated by the low level of his reading. So periodically I'd pull out a fat novel and have him read select words and phrases.
When the same kid got bored of reading letters in his Aleph Bina I'd have him read from a Chumash.
Accomplishes two things:
1. lets him see how far he's come
2. lets him see how far he has to go
3. lets him feel like he's building up to something significant
4. Gives him something to brag about ("Today I read from the parsha!")

halfshared said...

That was great. Hope you both figure out how to work things so that you both don't feel frustrated. And behind a smile, cute answer!

gut gezugt said...

Miss Bas HaMelech:

As you can see from the previous comments, your friends (and some of them, apparently, know you in real-life) have a great deal of respect for you. Teaching is extremely challenging (as I know from listening to the stories of many of my friends and relatives).

Your friends are correct that you need to look at how much you have accomplished, and not focus on the negative.

Also, the fact that you find this so difficult is what reveals that you do really care about every individual.
For this, you should be highly commended.

Also, I find Miss ---d-for-Shidduchim's ideas to be very good. If you agree, then is there a practical way to implement them in your (Sam's) situation?

Although I never progressed beyond substitute-teaching, I occasionally tried to add in Voluntary tutoring (after class - and Only on an extremely limited basis). This would probably be nearly-Impossible for you, because of the other demands on your schedule (especially because you have indicated that you are taking post-graduate classes).

Since you have shown how much you care about him, I am confident that you will find a real (and practical) solution.

So, just keep up the good work.
Bi'Ezras HaShem, you will certainly let us know (soon) that you have succeeded in this situation, too.

(I'm sorry; I don't have the talent to write this as a poem.)

ProfK said...

Bas Melech,
You're creative as obviously seen on your blog. If Sam is too old for The Fat Cat, and too bored, then write him some material that fits his interests and will get him excited about reading. A lot of little boys like sports. Instead of "fat" and "cat" try "hat" and "bat" and do a baseball story.

Or use more than just the visual sense. Write him something that is both reading and "action." The "doing" may reinforce the written word. Along the lines of "I point my right hand up to the sky, and then I bend down my shoe to tie." He has to read it first and then do it.

Some children benefit when they can both hear and read at the same time. There are plenty of tape/book sets. Have him follow along as someone else reads the book--you can even make the tape yourself. Stop occasionally to ask him to identify a particular word.

Put all the words from a required reading onto a game board you draw out on oaktag. Make word cards from cut up colored index cards. When he draws a word from the pile he has to find the word on the board and cover it with one of his pieces--I use clean bottle caps for the pieces. If he is up to it, use a kitchen timer--allow more time for him to find the word at first and then less time as he gets better. He needs to have covered less words as he begins and then he needs to cover more words to win as he gets better at recognizing them.

In short, for readers with poor skills don't rely solely on the printed words in the book. Involve all the senses.

And stop beating yourself up about what you see as your shortcomings or about wanting to see more progress for Sam. The journey of a thousand days begins with a single step.

Bas~Melech said...

Hey everyone,
Thanks for all your comments and support.
You have some wonderful ideas.

I just want to clarify -- This is not about "Sam." Yes, "Sam" is a real kid in my life, and his frustration is very deep -- deeper than my bag of tricks.

But this post was not about Sam.
Well, maybe it was a little bit about Sam, too.
But mostly Sam is just an analogy here.
An analogy to remind us that just as "baby books" (Sam's terminology, not mine) are a necessary step to greater learning, little people like me can be on the way to greatness, too, even though in the middle of the struggle it looks endless.

Was that not clear in the first place?
(Please tell me honestly, I want to know if it communicated effectively)

corner point said...

Bas--
It WAS clear, at least to me. I didn't even know if Sam was a real person, cuz of that lil joke you chapped in about protecting minors :-P

And I want you to know that I identify with this post so so much.....TOO much...*sigh*...
I'm also a complete and total self-perfectionist, and I'm working on it. We should discuss this, like im person...when I come by for my painted pot, and when you're done with those callmebacks and comebacklaters and nocommunications....Let me know
:-)

badforshidduchim said...

Nope, not at all. :-D But I'm a very shallow person. And I don't believe in baby steps. Dive right in and sink or swim.

Lvnsm27 said...

I'm not a perfectionist, I just want to do well and get to the next step

David_on_the_Lake said...

Love it
so original..