Dear DeMorris

education, photography

Dear DeMorris,

Will you let me in your brain? I don’t know how to teach you best. You deserve an excellent education, and right now I’m falling short of the teacher I need to be to provide that for you.

How do I keep you engaged? Ok, that’s polite teacher talk for wondering how I keep you from rolling on the floor and making hurricane noises during my lesson.

I suspect that you are bored. I’ve tried giving you more challenging work. You speed through it in the first 10 minutes of class. And it’s usually correct. Not that I have time to check it for accuracy in the middle of class when the 33 other students in the room are clamoring for my help and attention.

I have tried giving you a separate schedule and warnings. “Class ends in 15 minutes, you need to start packing up your stack of books.” By the way – I love that you love to read, but you do not need to carry the entirety of your personal library in your arms every day. Let’s limit the armload to two books from now on.

“Class ends in 10 minutes, please start packing up your papers and your agenda.” I always say this to you, individually, not making a scene, simply giving you extra time to begin organizing your papers. I know that’s important to you, and I want you to not feel rushed and frustrated.

“Class ends in 5 minutes, please start packing up your pencils and pens.” Usually you are still reading silently at your desk, having not followed any of my personal directions for you. Also, typically at this point in class, Jerome is skipping around the room, Agustin is flicking little wads of paper at Adriana and at least three other students are talking when we are supposed to be packing up silently.

“DeMorris, please line up by the door, so we can transition out of class in a timely manner.” Nothing. As if concrete holds you to your chair. Why do you do this every day? You miss an average of an hour and a half of math class every week by sitting still and mute in my classroom for 15 minutes after everyone else has left. Not to mention that I waste an hour and a half of my patience and energy coaxing, threatening and demanding that you pack up and walk to your next class.

Your mother and your uncle are getting frustrated. They can’t keep coming up to school in the middle of their workday to discipline you.

I want to gain your trust, DeMorris. I want to challenge you, to engage you in my lesson or maybe just a conversation about the latest book you’ve read. I need you to let me in, so that you can learn something new this year. I can’t stand to watch you stagnate in your own stubbornness.

All my love,

-Ms. Jackson

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