I was up bright and early Saturday morning for home visits with my colleagues. We visited several students houses.
One student, KD, is one of my most difficult students in my most difficult classes. He has hates me, I'm mean, I don't know what I'm talking about, and he refuses to work in my class, and listen to me. I got written up in my evaluation because someone wouldn't stop talking- it was him.
I have called his house many times- at least 4- and spoken to his great grandmother about it. She has always said she is doing everything within her power, but at her age, 93, it was hard. I didn't deny that. She said she praises me for everything I've done with him and to continue being hard on her great grandson. I told her I plan to.
I tried to get to visit his house because he is one of my most difficult students and I felt I could make a connection during that home visit. I saw he was chosen for a home visit, but I wasn't able to go to his house since I was on a different team.
When I got back to the school after the visit, I stood around and talked to several teachers. When it was time to get my food, as we had a luncheon for all whose homes we visited, the lesbian math teacher, came up to me and told me that KD's great grandma was there and had something for me. I was a little nervous at that moment because I had nothing to worry about, but I have called expressing such frustration to this old woman I thought she'd be tired of me. Hardly. She made me 3 homemade tamales and told me how much she appreciated me. She made a special trip to the school to see me- how sweet is that? KD is always telling her how I am so hard on him and sound like her, as I always say the same things his great grandma does. I chuckled. She told me all about this student's home life, how his mom never cared for him, his grandma died, and she was the only one left. She is raising 4 kids ranging from 7-17 and 2 are real handfuls. She told me how this kid is not as outgoing as he seems- he has purple hair one day and is the class clown. He spends lots of time at home reading and drawing. She told me how someone broke into their house a few months back in October and stole his iPod touch that he prized so much, and how he cried for days. They also stole a bunch of photos from his childhood. That crushed me. I wanted to cry. She told me about the softer side of the kid, which I rarely see. It was good to hear that because it explained a lot of why he could have been acting up in my class. I guess his g-grandma has had a long talk with him and has said how I'm such a great guy - I was much younger than she expected because I sound so mature on the phone. KD has brought his grade up 14% over the past 2 weeks and is actually working in my class.
There's a lot more to his story - my team members think that the student doesn't like me because he is obviously very flamboyant and probably isn't around a lot of gay guys, and has pegged me as one, and its scary to him since so many people say being gay is bad, so he rebels and treats me badly. In all classes where this kid has a male teacher he has a much lower grade. Also, just imagine what the kid is going through being raised by his great grandma...
This was just such a nice gesture by this great grandmother to care so much for me, and even after I've been so tough on her great grandson, she sees that I really do care for him, and it just means so much to me. I was on the verge of tears most of the time she was praising me.
I am hoping that talking to grandma has helped with this student as I know a lot of new things about him, I see how he is already trying harder, and I know a lot more about his interests where I can tailor lessons to incorporate things like art/music to be able to make that connection. I learned his favorite singer is Lady Gaga, and have an awesome idea about the college assignment we are doing in the next few days to have him research Lady Gaga's college she attended- that would be NYU's art school - we'll forget about the part she didn't graduate from it.
Oh, and while we're on the topic of parents, I heard from a couple teachers about 2 parents that "hate my guts" and "hate my ass." Ok... lol.