Student Highlight: Areej

When Areej’s homeroom teacher asked me how Areej is in class she was surprised I hadn’t labeled her as one of my troublesome students. I thought, “maybe a little aloof and occasionally gets up from her seat at inappropriate times but overall she didn’t interrupt, walk on the tables, or bother other students”. One day after school I was waiting for the bus to take me home when Areej skipped by and invited me to her home. The day after I visited Hamzeh’s family he excitedly announced it to the class so my students all know there is a possibility I’ll come visit them. I promised that I’d visit the following week and so I did.

Kayla and I followed Areej home after school and got to meet her mom, aunts and uncles. During our time together Areej and I demonstrated some of the things she’s learned in English class. I played it safe with words and phrases we use every day like, “stand up, sit down, and shake it out,” which is a little regulation exercise we do before starting the lesson. We also sang a song together that her mom loved and had her sing multiple times so other members of the family could see it and so they could take video.

At that point was when I noticed the Areej was able to sing the song, “cut, cut, cut with scissors…” with little input or support from me, not a true statement for the rest of my class yet. I then took a bit of a risk by pulling out some color cards and having her identity them. I only introduced the colors 2 days before so I was surprised that she was able to produce the new words on her own. It hit me that perhaps she was bored in class and that’s why she seemed aloof or wandered around!

Now knowing that she’s possibly picking up the information quicker than I realize I spend a few moments independently testing her during our individual activity time. This allows me to gauge where she’s at and challenge her with some more advanced material. Areej’s mom told me that everyday Areej studies with a private tutor for a couple hours before coming to school. What a little lover of learning! A great quality to help her achieve her dream of becoming a teacher.

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