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 What could we do if our students stayed with us 24/7? 
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I've just ended page 61. Mr. Bounderby and Mr. Gradgrind were going to tell Sissy that she couldn't come back to their school. However, they learned that her father has just abandoned her. After discussion, they decide to offer Sissy an opportunity to leave her circus family and to come and live and go to school with them. Sissy, sadly, agrees to go. It is obvious they believe if she completely withdraws herself from her circus family and comes to stay with them that they can change her.
I find myself as a school teacher sometimes thinking the same thing - sometimes I wonder to myself "if these kids could just live with me and have consistency, stability, reinforcement, discipline, guidance, help, etc. how much different would they be in school." It seems that we battle home and school. Once you think the students finally get it; they are out of school for a long weekend and they revert back to their old ways (be it in behavior or learning correct verb tenses).

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Erika M. Nelson


Sun Sep 20, 2009 8:05 am
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Erica,
I agree completely! Since, I looped with my students I really see that this year. The things my students could do and the progress we made last year was amazing. However, after spending 2 months at home on summer vacation it was unbelievable how much they lost over the summer. Things they could do at the end of first grade, I have now had to re-teach during the first month of school, because so many of them didn't even pick up a book over the summer. There is one certain child in my classroom who has stolen my heart. He comes from a very difficult situation. I have told my mom and husband both that I would love to take him home with me to raise. I just wonder how things would be different for him if he lived in a stable environment.

~Jennifer Ledford


Mon Sep 21, 2009 6:52 pm
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This is so true. I have a student this year that is really a bright, but he just doesn't care. He always has an excuse for something and it is obvious that he has learned this behavior. He looks as though he doesn't bath and his clothes are dirty. The bus driver told me that he is laying on a dirt road with his bookbag under his head asleep when she pulls up to get him. He complains of not getting enough sleep at home. He has an older brother whom he hangs out with that is a bad influence. I have thought several times that if I could just take him home with me for a week or two and teach him how to take care of himself and care about his education that he would be okay, but the reality is that he would probably go right back to how he was living before because that is life to him. My husband is constantly warning me that I cannot save the world, but I hope that I can make a difference however small it may be. As I am reading this book, I feel sorry for the Gradgrind children. The seem like robots. They are told what to think and say. I am sure there are many children, I would think more upperclass, that live this same life.

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mimi rollins


Tue Sep 22, 2009 7:25 pm
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Mimi, I think there are times where "we" (teachers and the system) treat our students like robots. They are told what to think and say. I know that is one of my biggest frustrations year after year is that I have students who have little self confidence in themselves because they have been told for so many years exactly how they are to do something. They constantly ask "Is this right?" or "How am I supposed to do this?". By the time they get to 6th grade, they should be able to make some decisions for themselves or at least think through things....they can not make the connections to get from the concrete to the abstract at all. I also see Raye Lynns point about the comment made about school being a business....the only problem with that is we are not keeping up with businesses. In the past, business have wanted employees that were like robots. Now they look for creativity and initiative in their employees. They want motived people who look for solutions to problems in creative ways. Public schools have not made that shift. They are still looking at the "stay in your seat, and do your work. My classroom should look like any other classroom" philosophy (one size fits all). It's all very depressing.

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Tara Gilleland


Sat Sep 26, 2009 11:50 am
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I agree with you Erika. I wish so bad sometimes that I could take some of the children in my classroom home with me. If I could I would be able to give them stability, security, love, food, a warm place to stay and more. This year I have a little girl in my room who sleeps during class on Monday for the biggest part of the day. At her home there is alot of chidlren so they have several in the same bed and they also party alot. If I could take her home with me she would be able to have a good night of rest and she coudl in return stay awake and have a good education.


Sat Sep 26, 2009 10:00 pm
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I had this conversation with a colleague today. She wants to supply a student with clothing, shoes, etc. Yes, I do wish I could take some kids home, but there is an endless supply of kids that I could take home with me, give food or clothing to, etc. I really agree with what Dr. Bryant said about people needing a license to fish, but anyone can procreate. I think there must be something done to ensure parent accountability in our society. I hate hearing my students come to school talking about the Chucky, or Saw movies they are watching or Lord knows what else they are being exposed to at home. Then we come under fire for such little things that we do in the classroom, we even have to send a note to get permission for them to watch the president speak. We live in a crazy world that has it's priorities messed up. What I do is bring my students into my home for a dinner during the year, play some video games, and introduce them to my world. I go to games, recitals, plays, and other activities to support my children. It drives me crazy how much we are accountable for as teachers, but yet parents don't have to do diddly pooh and they can live with themselves.


Tue Sep 29, 2009 9:00 pm
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I agree with the fact that consistency will help students, but simply removing a child is only the beginning. I had a student who a teacher took home the older sister and the younger siblings. Although the family was loving and supportive, these children had many obstacles to overcome. Even with intensive counseling and love, these children struggled to overcome their past. I am surprised in Hard Times how easily Sissy leaves her past. Is that part omitted on purpose to show that she has changed? or is there more to her story?

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Natalie Burris


Tue Sep 29, 2009 9:05 pm
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It is easy, I think, to say"If I could just take that student home with me then..." However, we can't "fix em" all, and if we did then possibly we would be crushing their spirits. Whose to say that our philosophies and ways of living and acting are correct? Each child that walks through our door and occupies space in our classroom is an individual. Are we doing our part at school to make sure that individual flourishes, or are we molding them into robots? Just saying!!!


Tue Sep 29, 2009 9:16 pm
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for me not working in a school i dont know what i would do if they stayed with us all the time like you were saying.


Mon Oct 26, 2009 10:46 pm
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There are several of my students I would love to take home to just give them love, a safe enviroment, a hot meal, and stability. Some of my students do not know where they are going to lay there head each night or where their next meal is coming from. A child should not have to worry about this. To some students school is their safe place and where they get their hot meals and loving. How do we expect students to learn if they have had no sleep, or nothing to eat, or been fussed at or heard fussing all night. The way students act reflect on how and what they see at home. They things they are allowed to play and watch on TV because no one wants to deal with plays a role in thier actions also.

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Adrienne Coles Ledbetter


Sun Dec 06, 2009 1:48 pm
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This semester we've spent some time discussing how IQ is influenced by so many external factors. I have a student in my class that I also taught last year that is so bright. He lives with his father who has sole custody of him. His dad is illiterate but works very hard to provide and does the best he can. I can't help but think how different this child would be if he had experiences or was exposed to different social situations. As far as I can tell he was probably not read to as a child. When I read aloud to my students he fights to be beside me and always links arms and snuggles close to me. I feel that if I can make a difference in the short year he spends with me then maybe someday he can pass that on.

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Holly Timberlake


Mon Dec 07, 2009 3:40 pm
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I really think that a stable environment would effect students education greatly. I can remember when I first started working as a teacher assistant, my husband told me that I could not under any circumstances bring any children home with me. He told me that I couldn't save them all, but that just doesn't cut it with me. I am going to do everything I can to make a difference.

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mimi rollins


Wed Dec 09, 2009 6:38 pm
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