Sep 15 2010

College is not an option

I guess me being sick with the flu (which apparently has caught a bunch of staff members at my school) calls for updating my blog.

Friday I think I made a little breakthrough with one of my most poorly behaved students, K’Haleel. K’Haleel is the same student who sought attention from his peers during my class. He is the same student I made a deal to let him teach my class for 5 minutes during the half day (in which he became too scared to follow through on it btw). Because all deals were off with him, he began acting up again in my class, making an effort to be defiant whenever he had an opportunity to.

On Friday, however, something was really wrong with K’Haleel, and once the class earned 3 strikes for not following directions, they lost their recess, (in which all hell broke loose because of it). Students were angry and would not lift a pencil for me. I had to explain why they lost their recess, since because they were an entire objective behind the other classes, it was imperative that they used recess to catch up academically. Most understood the need, however, K’Haleel had a defeated look in his face. He then blurted out,

“I don’t know why you keep emphasizing college so much. It is not like I will be attending one anyway. Nobody in my family did and I won’t be any different”.

He then kept his head down regardless of how many checks I gave him. Because he earned 3 checks, he had earned himself a lunch detention which was a perfect opportunity to get K’Haleel back. I brought K’Haleel up to my classroom and logged in to my really old account. I found my old college survey, which showed which schools I was a best match for (including Penn!). I erased my answers and made him take my survey. He was quiet, but curious about the questions they were asking. I explained what tuition and room and board were, and he filled out the information as if he was a high school junior. The more he filled out the questions, the more he was engaged in the survey. Eventually the other scholars went to Mr. Sims’ classroom to celebrate a classmates’ party, but nothing could get him out of that chair. Even when Ruth, the birthday girl, asked him to come celebrate her birthday, he just ignored her. He continually filled out all the questions (which took a good 20 minutes to do) until he found his best-fit school – University of Miami!

I explained to him a little bit about UM (even though I don’t know much about it), and what he needs to do to get in there. He was hype! Once we were done, it was time to go back to class. He did not want to leave my side even if I told him to join his line. I never saw K’Haleel better represent what a true college-bound scholar is supposed to be like. He was attentive, taking initiatives in making sure his classmates were following directions, respectful to others and engaged on the material. It took a bit of work, but showing K’Haleel that college is a real possibility for his future made him a completely different student.

K’Haleel N. – University of Miami, Class of 2021

6 Responses

  1. Debbie aka Ms. Sim

    Rodo! this is a wonderful story. i need to start blogging soon. miss u & keep up the wonderful work in your classroom

    • rodbello985

      Yes! Make a blog! I’d love to hear from you. Seriously, hope DC is treating you well. Can’t wait to visit

  2. Kelly

    This is the cutest! Way to go Rodo!

  3. child

    Now that’s inspiring!

  4. Stephanie Lowe

    Awesome Rudy! This made my day.

  5. Mike Wang

    This is really awesome — and will be my fuel to get up and o to work this next week. Thanks.

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