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Project Two

Randi Swann
P254, Kathleen Burger
November 10, 2000
Project 2: Problem Solving Scenario

I glance around the classroom while my students are quietly working on an individual assignment. My gaze rests on Lee. Lees forehead is propped in the palm of her hand as she looks down at her paper. She has not changed position since the last time I observed her about three minutes ago. I rise and begin to slowly moving around the classroom, checking on the general progress of the students. When I approach Lee, she does not look up. I quietly ask Lee how her work is coming along. She looks up with a very upset expression on her face and says, "Teacher, I just dont get it. Everyone else seems to get it, but I dont. I just cant get it." I have decided that it is time to involve Lees mother through a parent-teacher conference. I know that this will be difficult because Lees mother works two jobs and is the only parent in the household. From previous encounters with Lee, I know that she is uncomfortable with this fact, because she is in the minority in our community of "nuclear families" and primarily upper-middle class residents. Lee feels that she is an outcast, even though most of her peers have not given her reason to feel this way, she still feels like she cannot fit in with them. I fear that Lee is not doing well in class also because of circumstances that she deals with outside of class. Lee has begun to mature physically, much earlier than the rest of her peers. Her body has begun to develop and is stirring attention from the boys as well as the girls. This attention is unwelcome to Lee and as a result, she has become even more withdrawn and shy. I do not believe that Lee is having any kind of academic problems, rather that her outside problems are affecting how she performs in school.

In the parent-teacher conference I plan to inform Lees mother of her digression in class. I also plan to tactfully discuss with her how much attention Lee receives at home with school work and with every day interaction. Although Lees mother is very busy with two jobs, there is no excuse for Lee to think that she cannot discuss her life and distresses with her mother. I will suggest that Lees mother try and find one time a week when she and Lee can sit and be together, because I believe that Most of Lees problem lies in her assumption that she is dealing with her problems alone. In addition to suggesting that her mother make an effort to talk with her, I will make sure that Lee knows that I care and am available to listen to her worries, if she ever needs me.

I also plan to find extra-curricular activities that Lee would excel in to suggest to her. I feel that if she got involved in a group after or even outside of school, she would learn how to talk to people, instead of assuming that they just dont want to know her. I will be sensitive to Lees fears in the classroom, but I will still encourage her to participate in class by calling on her to answer questions just as regularly as I would call on any student.

As for Lee developing earlier than the others and feeling that she is attracting unwanted attention, I will plan a session with the school nurse to hold a special session that the girls of the class can attend together and learn about puberty, making sure not to discuss anything that would upset the parents, but to discuss maturing and the natural changes of the female body. An anonymous question session could follow this discussion, and hopefully, Lee will find that everything she is experiencing is normal, just a little earlier than the rest of the class.

Above all, I will make sure that Lee knows that I am available to her to talk, listen, or help her with any problem she has. I am more than sure that her problems in class have nothing to do with her ability to learn. Rather, she is distracted with feelings of low self-esteem and self-consciousness and puts much less emphasis on her school work because of it.

Post Scenario

From a humanistic approach to teaching, I have concluded that the best way to deal with a case like Lees is to be more involved in her personal feelings than just her assignment or grades. Her age-level characteristics are not abnormal, rather they arent common, especially in her classroom, and she feels uncomfortable with herself, and also is scared that others are focusing on her differences as means to make fun of her. I think the best way to solve this problem is to get Lee to talk her feelings out, and to reassure her that her differences do not hold her back from being a good student and social participant in the class. It is also important to stress to the whole classroom that personal differences such as Lees or like race or different religion, are things to be curious about, but not things to tease others about, and to allow room for class discussion when applicable. I want my students to feel like they can share any opinion in my classroom without feeling that they might be ostracized.