When the school year began in September, there were three boys in my class. However, after a couple of days, another boy joined us in grade five. He was a floater, didn’t really have a class, had been marked as “handicapped” and didn’t have a place to go that could cater to his needs. So, this thirteen-year-old joined my class. He sat a little off to the side, outside of the circle of other students, but, for better or worse, he was part of the class.
His self-esteem was a consistent issue throughout the year. What 13 y.o. wants to be in a primary school for boys between 6 and 11 years old? Some days, he behaved remarkably well. Other days, he was feisty as he**. By the end of the term, I had decently managed to balance him with the other boys. He excelled at math and science. And, his writing was improving, too. Unfortunately, at the beginning of the second term, he was removed from my class because he was too much of a distraction to the other students. This was a really sad, tough day for me, but I knew it was for the best. I couldn’t have the other three fifth graders losing out on their education because an older boy was processing his emotions in inappropriate ways.
So, he was moved to grade three with the headmistress. He was neglected there, and took advantage of the situation by coming late to school and meandering around, disturbing anyone in his wake. It was hard to witness. At the conclusion of term 2, he came to me and asked if he could come back to my class. I laid out some ground rules and we gave it a test drive. We kept telling him he was just auditing the class. This strategy, for some reason, actually worked. He behaved, kept his head down, and took notes. Sadly, since he missed an entire term of school, he was unable to catch up to where we were, but he did okay. He stayed in line, he didn’t distract anyone.
The best part about having this little guy in my class was that he taught me how to juggle having students at different levels. I loved that our relationship was not only able to improve, but it soared over the final term. Now, he’s one of the kids I’ll miss the most when I depart Guyana next week.
Here’s my guy and the grade six class. They’re all finished with school at Bosco Academy. Most are going on to the local private high school. My student and one other will be attending a public high school located behind the orphanage. The change, and moving up in the world, will be so good for them all.
What a year!