Blog Archive

Thursday, December 29, 2016

My class just isn't enough.

Some kids don't really belong in my class.

They have academic skills and drive beyond the norm.

The appropriate course for them is Pre-AP 1.

When those kiddos wind up in my class first semester, I know within a few weeks.

Not soon enough to change their schedules that semester, but by the end of first quarter, I know.

I make a special effort to challenge them.

My class just isn't enough.

We neither move fast enough nor go far enough.

I'd like to say I am talented enough to work with any heterogenous group.

The reality is that I'm not.

I prefer diverse groups of learners, but there are limits to the range I can truly challenge effectively in 50 minutes a day.

Instead, at the semester, if they are ready, I have to give them up.

There are only a handful.

And believe me when I tell you very few students are genuinely misplaced.

For those few though, the move needs to be made as soon as possible.

At the semester is better than for the next year.

The curriculum is just different enough for context lost for entire year causes undue struggle the next year.

Anyway, this year, I had identified four young ladies in this category.

One was enrolled late and should have been placed in Pre-AP from the start.

We discussed her schedule change months ago.

The second is a cute little cheerleader in my last hour who is bored silly most of the time.

She was hesitant about the move at first, but has since decided it is a good idea.

The third is a tiny little mouse of girl with a shy smile.

When I first talked to her about it, she graced me with a smile and nodded.

Her concern was that she wouldn't like the work...until I gave her the novel the other class was reading.

Now she is ready and willing.

The final young lady has decided not to move.

She is certainly capable of the work, though her work ethic is still developing.

I wanted to push her, but not force her.

I gave her the other novel as well...she never started it.

We have chatted several times about changing her schedule.

She remained reluctant.

After our final exam earlier this week, she stayed for a moment.

She said something like, "Ms. Hirsch, I think I'll stay in this class. I like it here and I am learning. I like you."

While I think the challenge would be good for her, I also own that her unsolicited praise totally made my day.

The other girls will go and will likely succeed.

My classes will be a shade harder for me without them.

The last young lady will stay.

I hope she continues to feel the same way.

It is definitely a good thing when kids know themselves well enough to make thoughtful decisions.

Being flattered is pretty great too :).


  1. A shy young 6 year old entered our class in late August. He struggled to keep up and each week was downcast when his scores did not match those of his peers. He cried. I cried, but we didn't give up. Week after week I provided interventions and encouragement; mostly what he needed I couldn't give, self-esteem.
    But there was determination on my end and a loving support group at home. End of year mClass assessments arrived. Nervously he exited but not before a quick glance over his shoulder with a thumbs up. I signaled in return.
    He was gone for what seemed like an eternity.
    We all jumped when the classroom door opened loudly and quickly. "I did it! I did it!", he shouted. And he did. He had read and responded to the needed 6 levels.
    The process I still repeat daily, not always to the degree of success. But the smile and confidence I see in this child's face, a year later, is enough to remind me,"Maybe not this day, but one day".

    1. Thank you for sharing! That moment when a kid succeeds is priceless.


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