In 1795, John Newbery published a children’s book called Goody Two-Shoes that tells the story of a poor, but virtuous orphan girl named Margery Meanwell, who went through life with only one shoe. One day, she met a rich man who gave her a pair of shoes — two shoes. The fable teaches us that being virtuous pays off.
The modern-day term “goody two-shoes” was popularized by this story. Growing up, I was pretty much a goody two-shoes. I did everything I could to avoid troublemakers at all costs. While I knew that there were kids in my school who got suspended, even expelled, I was never friends with them. And with that, I’ve never had to deal with the idea of suspensions until now.
One of my students, Joey, has now been suspended a total of five days. He’s the student I mentioned in my previous post that is only in my room half of the day and didn’t start until about two months ago. Joey’s current schedule is confusing to say the least; he bounces between my room, a resource classroom, the general education classroom, and related service providers.
You would think that with all the people who are concerned about Joey and all of us working our butts off trying to figure out how to best service him that we would be doing a better job, but I really think we’re failing him. I truly believe that Joey is inherently a good kid who wants to learn and who wants to be in control of his actions, but isn’t able to do that with the skills that he’s been taught thus far.
Due to his most recent suspension, the team has called an emergency IEP meeting and we’ve been frantically trying to reach Joey’s mom. Of course, the goal is to try and figure out a better plan so that Joey can function without getting himself into trouble especially since he’s a well-mannered learner when he’s in my room. But even then, is my room the best place for him?
No matter where Joey ends up, in my room or otherwise, I feel bad about time lost and am adamant that things need to change. Thankfully, almost everyone else on the team agrees because this pattern of suspensions can lead to nowhere good. I just wish perhaps if I had had a little more experience with suspensions as a kid (you know what I mean) that I could better assess this situation because I really feel like I’m failing Joey and I don’t know what to do next.
Have you ever felt like you’ve failed a student and don’t know what to do next? Do you also find it ironic that goody two-shoes Margery Meanwell grew up to be a teacher? Maybe she taught special ed., too … ok, probably not.