The following are a group of letters from Susan Marple's West Junior High School 7th grade language arts class in response to a letter published in the Opine on Saturday, April 15 entitled "Leaving No Child Behind" by James von Tesmar.
As a seventh grade student, I have a perspective of this situation I would like to share.
In James von Tesmar's letter, he give us option on what we could do with "Johnny" if he were acting like that in our classroom. They were either ignoring him, making him stand in the hallway, and lastly to send him down to the office. He states, "If you do either of the last two you deprive him of his right to an education. He will be left behind because he was not present when information was presented." I disagree with that. If you just try to ignore him, the other children will be distracted from their work, and then all of them will be deprived of an education. I think that if "Johnny" acts like that, then he is choosing not to get an education. He chooses to not be present in class, to not turn in homework and to not pass to the next grade.
I think that if a kid is acting this way in school, then there must be a reason. It could be because that is how he/she was raised and his/her environment. I think that if this is happening with a child in your class or it is your child, then you need to start taking charge. You need to give this child discipline. If your child acts this way in school try to sit down with "Johnny to find out why he is behaving badly. Disobedient kids need to learn self-control; imagine what will happen to them as an adult if they fail to learn this lesson. Get involved now before it's too late.
Parents, please encourage your children to take their education seriously or leaving them behind is a risk you are taking.
As a seventh grader, I found what he said to be interesting, but I have some thoughts I would like to add. I kind of disagree with him because I think if a kid is being disruptive, they should be punished by being taken out of class. I believe that this removal is a punishment because they miss out on notes and class discussions. However, they can still complete the assignments during a detention. Most students who are disruptive, won't complete the missed assignments even when teachers offer help after school.
I also think it is difficult for teachers to teach when people are behaving poorly and not listening. I know it will take away from their learning, but it would be better if you took away some of that person's education rather than taking away from everyone's opportunity to learn. I think the school should make parents aware of these situations by calling parents. Let them know what their child has been doing so they can and work through the problems at home. Some students choose not to get an education, but the majority takes learning seriously.
James von Tesmar wrote that, "Having to focus on a few certain children for discipline takes away from the classroom's intended instruction," and that, "No Child Left Behind leaves all children behind." I agree that students with behaviors such as "Johnny's" definitely puts all students at risk of being "left behind."
I think children who are eager to learn should have the same learning opportunities available to them as all other children in the United States regardless of income. Maybe it's not how much money we're spending on education, as it is the lack of interest of "Johnny" to want an education. Moving from one school to another doesn't seem to be working. When "Johnny" doesn't learn the value of a good education at home from his parents or guardians, he probably doesn't really care what they say at school. At some point, "Johnny" needs to realize he is responsible for his own learning! ; ;In the meantime, I think building one elementary school, one junior high school and putting everyone together might help end the problems and expense of moving kids from school to school.
In my experience of going to school, I know that teachers have a lot to teach and with kids like "Johnny," it's not only frustrating for the teachers, but to everyone else as well. I also have a right to learn without being disturbed by someone else's lack of control or desire to listen. One student is all it takes to change the learning atmosphere in a classroom. Take a stand and let's change the learning atmosphere for children in our society.
Jenna E. Applebee
As a seventh grader, I disagree with James von Tesmar's article because I feel that "Johnny" acts the way he does because of his friends. "Johnny's" probably only acting out because he is trying to fit in with his friends. I feel his problems don't start at home, but with whom he seeks attention from. Peer pressure is the problem, the pressure to be cool and popular. The pressure to be liked by his or her friends. It's not so much the parent's fault, but "Johnny's."
Antonio E. Santana
James von Tesmar made some very accurate points and some that I am not in total agreement with. He implies that children are acting like this in school because they are not disciplined by their parents; this is only part of the picture. Children need to have self-discipline as well. If they don't have that, then they won't have respect for others. These kids are difficult for even the teachers to discipline.
When von Tesmar states that you can't keep misbehaving students in the classroom because the majority suffers and that taking them out means the individual misses out, this is quite true. I suggest that those children get in-school suspension (which we currently don't have at our school), out-of-school tutoring or private classes so that it is easier for them to stay focused. Von Tesmar is right, you can't leave a child behind, but it is the child who controls their own actions and often chooses to be left behind.
I agree with von Tessmar, because parents should discipline their kids. Parents need to think about their children's future and how their life will turn out without an adequate education. I believe that parents should be our role models, someone for us to look up to. Children would then grow up with direction, will understand the importance of learning and how an education will affect their future.
I am a seventh grader at West Junior High School that agrees with James von Tesmar when he implies that parents need to start disciplining their kids for their actions. When they receive punishment for goofing around in school, they learn what is expected of them. Kids don't understand how to behave when these values are not taught at home.
There are some kids in my class who interrupt the teacher, forget their pencils or forget their books. Our teacher wastes five to ten minutes everyday trying to get the class settled with necessary supplies. She should not have to do that all the time. If parents were more involved with their children's education with clear expectations for behavior, there would not be so much wasted time in class.