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 Students who need help&can't get it 
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For the past several weeks I have been interning in Morganton, NC. Recently one of my classmates and I administered a class spelling test to pinpoint which educational level each of the students was at. After grading them, it was apparent one of our students was severely behind her third grade peers. We talked to their classroom teacher and apparently the girl has been struggling with reading and spelling for the past three years. Although this has been brought up with her parents on several occasions, her mother refuses to allow her daughter to go to any resource to help her. Her inability to read and write is clearly affecting all of her other subjects, she never finishes her work and always needs someone to help explain the lessons one-on-one with her.
I was just curious as to how any of you would deal with a situation like this in your own classroom. There are sixteen kids total in this class and no assisstant, so it is impossible for her teacher to constantly be at her side and go over everything step by step. This is a horrible problem and if this student doesn't receive the individual instruction she needs it is very likely she will be a future "at-risk" student. How would you handle a combative parent who refuses to acknowledge their child needs help?

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Chelsie Alfaro


Wed Apr 11, 2007 5:03 pm
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I would probably teach that lesson several different ways that maybe one of them would catch on. There could be some early morning reading/writing sessions before school starts and provide a free breakfest for the student. I hate to say this, but some teacher keep kids out from their PE classes or any classes that are extracurricular to give extra help.

When I was in highschool, some of the us would go down to the elementary school and pull the students out of the classroom during their reading/writing class and give individual help with each child. So being an only teacher with no assistants is not good. I would talk to the principal about it and try to bring highschoolers who want to be teachers down to help.

As for the parent, I'm not really sure.

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Mary Alyse Mauney


Thu Apr 12, 2007 9:57 am
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I think I would try to reason with the parent to show them that their child will be seriously stunted in reading without the help. If that didn't work then I guess I would have to try the before school help and as much after school help as I could give them. Teaching should be about giving all the help that you can, If I have to give up my afternoons to help a student, then I am willing to do that. Every student should get the help they need if they are also willing to work at it.


Thu Apr 12, 2007 3:15 pm
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The only problem with the before&after school assisstance is the fact that you would need parental consent and help to meet with the child at those times. Her parents are unwilling to recognize that their daughter has a problem and refuse help of any kind. The school, teachers and administrators have been pretty much fighting for the past three years with her parents to show them just how far behind she really is. In Burke county they have the reduced class size (this is a class of 16) which is pretty amazing except for the fact that there are absolutely no teaching assistants. So the teacher I am working with is pretty much working on something around the clock. Not to mention that it would be pretty difficult to teach every lesson in every subject several different ways to make sure this student understood when there is a year's worth of curriculum to cover... and this is also the first year that EOG's are implemented. I feel like the teacher has done a great job with what she could and it's almost out of her hands. She can't constantly read and take five extra minutes to explain the activity and catch this child up on everything. For the most part the other ASU intern and I have pretty much constantly been helping this student one every assignment. It's clear that the odds are against her and if her parents dont snap out of it... which at this point I really don't see happening... there are going to be terrible consequences for this child. I can't really see a solution to this problem when her parents simply refuse help.

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Chelsie Alfaro


Wed Apr 18, 2007 9:40 pm
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Chelsie,

If the parent can't help the child this child is definitely old enough to decide to help herself. This isn't a long enough answer, as I am pressed for time, but I at least wanted to mention the possibility of focusing on the child herself, and developing some strategies with her that could help her catch up.

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Gayle Turner


Thu Apr 19, 2007 12:11 pm
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chelsie that is a really tough spot to be in. the obvious plus is that you and the other ASU student are there this semester to help focus on this student's needs. several important steps have been taken: a problem has been recognized as something that will increase exponentially without help, the administrators are aware and seemingly on the teachers side, and the parents have been notified (even if they are combative). Hopefully over the summer the parents will get an opportunity to spend more time with their child and realize where she is struggling. as the child matures she can start using resources to help herself catch up where she has fallen behind. my only advice would be to not give up.

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Samuel Reeve Kirkpatrick


Tue Apr 24, 2007 2:31 pm
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This is really challenging. I think that I would give the child a few suggestions about how she can help herself. It is always a challenge working with parents and working with parents who disagree with you is the hardest! I am not an advocate of wasting a year, maybe this years EOG scores will help the parents see how much the child could benefit from assistance.

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Lesley Paige de Paoli


Wed Apr 25, 2007 1:46 pm
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