Dear Mr. Caven
I think you should pass me on to the fifth grade. I know I am not the best kid but I did good on decimals because you taught me. I can teach my sister how to be better than me. You are the best teacher.
This kid has a hard time staying in his seat. This kid has a hard time paying attention. This kid has a hard time getting along with his classmates. This kid has a hard time. I knew this at the beginning of the year. I had looked at his file. It was thick. I talked to his teacher from last year to gain insight. She told me there wouldn't be a lot of surprises. What I saw was what I got.
I was happy for the days that didn't require a trip to the office. I got used to the fact that his medical referral sheet was four pages long - mostly for missed breakfast. It was a novelty of sorts when he started taking medication for his allergies that made him sleepy in the mornings. He was quieter.
All year long he was angry about something. Sometimes he would growl at me. Sometimes he would just walk out of the room. He rarely turned in homework. He only worked in class when he received one on one attention from myself or one of the girls who sat next to him. His favorite subject was classroom disruption.
And he wrote me this letter. I did assign it - but I didn't tell him what to write. He came up with the page above(written large, but neatly, skipping lines). I heard the words of my father in my head: "There are no bad kids, only bad behavior." If I held him back, another year of fourth grade would certainly just be more of the same - if not worse.
I'm going to pass him on to fifth grade.