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Texting— “I’m out front, A–hole!”

by Janet Lee Stinson

I once worked with a student named Jason. Jason was absolutely difficult to manage. He would say very inappropriate things during our sharing sessions and bullied other students into silence. He always had to go to the washroom in the middle of the lesson. He constantly arrived to class late. I’ll admit, Jason was such a disruption for myself and everyone, I breathed a sigh of relief when he missed class all together.

One day while taking attendance, Jason received a text message. I happened to be hovering over his desk when he received it. In black blinking letters across the little screen of his flip phone I could read, I’m out front, a–hole! Stop making me w8! He tentatively looked up at me and noticed I was reading his message with a horrified look on my face.

“Who’s that from, Jason?” I choked.

“Oh, I have to go, it’s my mom.”  He breathed collecting his things.

And sure enough it was from his mom!




Janet Lee has been an English teacher/Department Chair, Nipissing University Reading Part 3 Instructor, Student Success Literacy Consultant, and Nelson Literacy 7-10 instructional writer and media specialist. Janet Lee recently presented literacy resources at The Great Moon Gathering in Fort Albany, Ontario. She enjoys maintaining her blog This Side of the Mirror-A Journey Through Reflection to communicate with teachers and address current issues in education.

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  • http://corriganeducation.ca Kathleen Corrigan

    It sometimes amazes me that our students arrive at school as ready to learn as they do. I know many are hungry, or lacking sleep, or worrying about adult things they should not have to worry about. But despite that, they are craving our attention (and sometimes they show that in less than appealing ways), and want more from life. Your story reminds me to avoid making assumptions about students and to keep modelling the attitudes they may, gradually, appreciate!

    • Janet Lee

      Yes, Kathleen it is so important to recognize all of the factors contributing to a student’s behaviour in class. We can never know all of what students are dealing with in life. Being consistent with my approach helped me to reach this student but it was not an easy road.

  • Janet Lee

    Hi Zal,

    Thanks for the comment. Yes, the cycle is difficult to break. Every day I wanted to represent a consistent positive influence for Jason. With a limited amount of class time, it was a challenge to compete with what the rest of his life was handing him.