One of my students is very creative. When he isn't playing and destracting the student next to him, he goes elewhere in his head. When he is elsewhere he gets out of his chair, talks to himself and plays with himself. The only way to get him back on task, is to walk up to him -- calling name doesn't work when he is in elsewhere.
My solution has been to put him at a pull out desk beside the teachers' desk. While the other kids open their books and pay attention, he plays with his pencil. While I'm teaching and being entertaining, he is out of his chair, playing near the white board. I don't know how he has learned anything, but he knows more than other students.
I moved him and instead of telling him he is bad, I continue with the rest of the class. He is small and when is playing by the white board which is behind the big desk, he is not so distracting to the students. Instead of shouting at him to sit down across the room, I can quietly reseat him while continuing to teach or even after I have the seveteen other students are on task.
My writer self understands elsehwere thinkers. Long before I put pen to paper, I wrote stories in my head. Perhaps I am simply seeing a little of myself in the boy. I can remember the teacher who first took a little f the creativity out of me and I remember the woman who tried to snuff it out. But I also remember teachers who enocurage different thinking, and I loved their class. Strangely enough, the teachers who encouraged different thinking were alwaos the "weird" teachers, the ones who were creative in their classes. They were teachers who didn't shy away from turning education into a performance. The creative teachers held a shared love of students and students had a love for them. The stomper-outers, instead, seemed to hold to the old saying that children should be seen and not heard.
M.R. Jordan is a writer, editor, sporadic blogger, and lover of beer. Lives in South Korea with her two cats, Bear and Geumbi.
Bear (Gom in Korean) then (above) now (below)
Geumbi (Gold in English)... then (above) and now (below).