Today’s topic is one I’ve been meaning to cover for a long time. Fortunately, the passing of time has only given me more material for this post. What follows today is part narrative and part series of short incidents. I think it will still prove to be enjoyable.
Today’s topic is Edder Brandon Misael Suazo Izaguirre, best known as Brandon (he has three first names, in addition to the typical two last names in Spanish-speaking countries). I mentioned him several posts back when I wrote about his whole class. My first encounter with Brandon came one night about a week before classes started back in February. I had gone with my hosts to pick up some food from a take-away restaurant. There were a number of other people there waiting for there food as well. Brandon was there with his grandmother and I was told that he would be one of our new students in 1st. grade in the upcoming school year. As I watched him playing with his stuffed Goofy figure, he looked so cute and little. Little did I then know what was to come.
Brandon started the school year with a bang, quickly demonstrating his energetic, rambunctious nature. Within the span of a few weeks, he was seemingly known by the whole school, teachers and students alike. Having him in my class twice a week (most of the time!), I have gotten quite familiar with him and his behavior. Through it all, I’ve experienced a whole range of emotions, from amusement and frustration to pity and annoyance. In short, Brandon has emerged from being a cute little boy to being a character with something of a backstory. I’ll share with you some of these from memory, both specific instances and general trends.
Story #1: A week or so into classes, I gave my students in first grade a coloring worksheet to do in-class. I was in a hurry to get to my next class that day and when I left some of the students were still working on the sheet. I learned later that day or the next day from his classroom teacher that Brandon had ripped the sheet up and eaten it! Thankfully, I haven’t heard of him doing such a thing again.
Story #2: Those of you who have been reading my blog faithfully might recall our trip to a park and zoo some months back. On this trip, I ended up holding Brandon’s hand as we walked around the small zoo. I can’t remember if I volunteered to do this or if I was asked. In any event, the other students walked more or less in a line on the path. But Brandon was constantly pulling on my hand, always wanting to pick up something (usually a stick) from the ground. I learned to scan the ground ahead of him in order to foil his plans. When we got to the lion, he tried slipping through the fence and down into the wide-deep ditch that was between the fence and the lion cage. Needless to say, it was a long afternoon for me!
Story #3: Brandon is often to be seen in tears. At this point, I can recognize the sound of his bawlinging from the other side of the school. This usually results from when he doesn’t get his way in something, and event which usually happens about once a week. His crying is usually accompanied preceded by him stamping his feet and jumping up and down a bit. The fact that he is an only child and unfortunately has no father or significant male figure in his life probably are both contributing factors in this behavior on his part.
Story #4: As you might have already guessed, we’ve had discipline issue with Brandon. He is frequently ‘castigado’ – put out of the classroom for bad behavior. While I do see him many times in his seat with his little head bent over his notebook, there are many time when he wanders about the school, visiting other classrooms at will. I myself have had to drag him into and out of rooms as the situation demanded it. A frequent sight was him in ‘direccion’ (the school office) standing up against the wall and being sternly lectured by Profe Lucas. This is, of course, usually accompanied by more tears.
Story #5: Brandon has quite the way with older women and girls. He told Profe Keilyn, who teaches Prepa and Kinder, that he wanted to marry her. Naturally, she told him that he was too young to marry her and that she would be much older by the time he was old enough to do so. He also flirted briefly with one of the girls in 5th grade. Her “boyfriend” (also in 5th grade) disliked that and I think he and Brandon briefly wrestled (playfully of course!) But some of us teachers were afraid the older student would take things too far and hurt Brandon, who is naturally much smaller than him.
Having shared all of this with you, I do have some good news. Brandon has lately been in direccion less and less frequently. He hasn’t (as far as I know) been flirting or hitting on any women or girls. And he hasn’t eaten any classroom assignments. Slowly but surely, I think Brandon is learning how to behave in a school setting. He has in recent weeks even given me a few hugs upon being prompted to do so. I hope to see this little guy show even more improvement next year here.