These stories were submitted to me to share with our readers. They are written through the eyes of a teacher. Please enjoy and comment!
Seven months ago a student came into my classroom who believed that Pokemon was real. The first question that he asked anyone coming into our classroom was is Pokemon real. If they answered negatively he would go into a spiel about how he felt Pokemon was real. My other students are into Pokemon but to the extent of this child.
His group home requested that I make it a goal that he not talk about Pokemon. A representative of the school district reiterated this request. I told them that this was impossible. My students were too into Pokemon to have a specific goal that denied the existence of Pokemon.
My focus was not to deny the existence of Pokemon but remove the pressure that the student felt to hold on so fervently to Pokemon. The first step was to enlist the help of my other students; they had to stop challenging his belief Pokemon was real. This left his belief in Pokemon up to me to dispel. When the student challenged me to teach Pokemon as a class in school, I showed him the State Standards website. I asked him to find a reference on the website that allowed me to teach about Pokemon. When the student complained that the State Standards did not have a reference about Pokemon, I told him to write his congressman. The congressman can have it added to the State Standards, until then I could not teach Pokemon.
Everyday this student would draw extensive Pokemon figures on all of his papers. I never commented on his drawings except to say how pretty they were. Whenever the student would bring Pokemon up during class, I would ask him how his comment related to the current discussion. Whenever it applied or could be used in Math or other subjects I would encourage him to use it.
The idea was to reduce the stress he felt about Pokemon. I felt that if we could reduce everyone being in his face about Pokemon, his hold on it would decrease. His last statement about Pokemon being real happened two months ago. The drawings on his papers have changed from solely being about Pokemon figures to fish and dinosaurs. His pronouncements in class have been about fishing and dinosaurs. Subjects that the other students have found more interesting. The week end after his mother took him fishing, the conversation in class was all about fishing.
I cannot state that Pokemon is removed from his beliefs, but it has taken a lower level. When he started our school he had a full time aide. Much of the conflict that he had when he started had to deal with his rigid belief in the reality of Pokemon. When people stopped challenging this belief, the necessity of an aide decreased. While this student still has many problems, he is improving.