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Abby Field notes 6

asweeney's picture

What? The volunteer grandmother interrupts the teacher and talks very informally to the students, often scolding the ones she knows but not those that she does not know well. On one of my visits, she scolds her granddaughter very loudly and rather aggressively in front of the entire class. During this same visit (# 7), she tells a different child that she knows to “shut up.” Similarily, she also reminds the teacher of which children in the class have “bad tempers” or “bad attitutes.”


So What? They dynamic between the lead teacher and the volunteer grandmother seems strange to me, as though the lead teacher resents the grandmother but the grandmother wishes very much to be heard and have authority. It is difficult for me not to judge some of the grandmother’s behaviors---like the “shut up” comment and some of the aggressive or mean things she says to other students that she knows in the class (I’m guessing they all live in the same neighborhood”) about calling their parents or keeping their temper in control-----because they just seem terribly inappropriate. Publically labeling certain kids as “bad” seems inappropriate teacher behavior, but the grandmother does this all the time. One of the class mottos is to be “a peaceful problem solver” but I don’t feel like either the teacher-grandmother or grandmother-students relationship is providing a good example of this for the students.


Now What? Now, I am wondering about two things. 1) Volunteer preparation for helping in the classroom. When accepting free help in a classroom that desperately needs this help, how can a teacher respectfully let a volunteer know what she is looking for without disregarding the fact that she really needs help. 2) Teacher-student ratio. I know I have discussed this many times before, but it really seems to be the biggest issue I see when entering this classroom. Why let so many children in one classroom with only one teacher?! It seems like a huge injustice for everyone involved---the adults and the kids.