you know you're a teacher when...

still out at the summer camp. between the kids and the waitressing, i'm staying ungodly busy. but i like it that way.

out at camp the past two weeks i've had the 11/12's. they're an odd bunch...such a strange age. i might blog more about that later...

but i have this one little boy in my group. he is quite possibly the most obnoxious kid i've ever met in my life...most of the time. but there are times when he chills out, and he's a cool little kid.
anyways, the other day we took the kids fishing. as we're walking down the street, he asks my co-counselor, "what's that sign say?" she told him to read it. he attempted to sound it out, but failed miserably. so, she told him, "it says 'area'".
she told me about this, so i started asking him questions, pointing at things to see if he could read them, asking his alphabet, etc. i gave him a sheet of paper and asked him to write down his alphabet. i got "A, B, C, F, E, D..." at that point i started coaching him through it. he'd sing the alphabet song until he got to the letter he needed, then he'd write it down and start all over again.
we got to "K", and i asked him what comes after it. he thinks, sings the song, then says, "LEMONEN-O....O is next." i asked him what all that stuff before "O" was, and he told me it was just part of the song.

so, i've been looking for books and worksheets to give to him to teach him at least some basic reading skills. he's going into sixth grade and doesn't even know his alphabet. and he knows he's behind. he's really embarassed by it.

i was talking to another counselor who's going to school to become an elementary school teacher, and he said something along the lines of, "we've failed this kid."
i don't agree though. i don't think "we've" failed him yet. public education has failed him thus far. and i think it's a combination of his home life (which has been very jumbled, with him being moved from family member to family member), his hyperactivity and his teachers. from comments he's made they simply didn't want to deal with him, so they continued to pass him despite his reading ability (or lack thereof).

but he can still be saved. he's only 11 years old. it's not like he's 16 and ready to drop out of high school. his grandparents are working with him on his reading at home, and i've been trying to help him out at camp. hopefully this won't be chalked up on the "kill" side of public ed.

p.s. i wanted to go deeper into this, but i'm supposed to be getting ready to get to work (camp).