I have a student this year who is very low performing. She was tested and didn't qualify for special education because she didn't have a large enough discrepancy. Her IQ is low. Her psych and academic testing showed her as performing at the early kinder level. The work she does in class is low.
that being said, I have never seen a child that is so low work so hard. She gives her school work everything she has and then some. She is literally working above her ability. I am amazed everyday by her. She is a fragile child emotionally when it comes to academics. She knows that she is low and it hurts her if she thinks others are making fun of her work. I have really worked on protecting her in this respect and in turn she works even harder. At the beginning of the year I didn't call on her when I asked questions because I didn't want to embarrass her in front of the class. Now though, I do call on her and she can handle it. I am amazed by what she gets right and proud of how she handles getting a wrong answer. (smiles and says, I will get it next time!)
On a side note, this girl is a cutie too. She is a very carefree and into everything kind of child. She comes to school with her hair done very nicely and within the first half hour it is all messed up. it is not uncommon to find her with smudges on her faces from active play on the playground. She is quite the Tomboy!
Today she started going to a pullout class for math. When she returned from her class I asked her how the class was. She quickly responded "it was hard, but I learned!" Wow! her response just made me smile. If only all of my students had the internal drive that this girl has.