Thumb Sucking in High School

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Muttling, Mar 27, 2009.

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  1. Muttling

    Muttling Devotee

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    Mar 27, 2009

    Greetings All,


    The topic says it all and I have no idea what to make of it. This is my first year as licensed teacher, I was math aide for 3 months last year. In that time, I have had 3 high school students who still sucked their thumbs.

    One of them is a tremendously good student in my Algebra I class and one of the two that I am recommending for honors geometry next year.

    I haven't addressed the thumb sucking at all and all my students ignore it as well. (Well....There is one exception and I crack down hard on him for disrespecting others which he does quite often.)

    It strikes me as very odd, but I'm not looking to confront the behavior or wanting to try to change it. I am just wondering how common this is and what you guys/gals think of it.
     
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  3. ku_alum

    ku_alum Aficionado

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    Four years of teaching HS, 100 students every year ... never had a thumb sucker.

    Strange.

    Do you mean what I am imagining ... full on thumbsucking? Like, a youngster would do?
     
  4. Muttling

    Muttling Devotee

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    YEP. As in, has to take their thumb out to answer a question and then goes right back to it.

    I have noticed that the more stress I put on them, the more likely they are to suck on their thumb. I love taking my top performers and challenging them to go to the next level. When I do that with my honors gal, she typically nails the question but that thumb gets worked pretty hard too.
     
  5. ku_alum

    ku_alum Aficionado

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    Interesting.

    I guess it isn't a huge deal in the grand scheme of things (except it could be spreading germs).

    But, I'm not sure real world (like on the job ... or at a job interview [high stress]) it would be accepted.

    For that reason, I might try to figure out how to help her find a more acceptable stress response.
     
  6. Muttling

    Muttling Devotee

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    That's what I really wonder about. I haven't seen this in my upper classmen (yet). It's all been freshmen and sophomores, but I do worry about how they will do in the real world. A job interview is high stress and thumb sucking in an interview can't be good.

    All this said, my task is to teach the math and each of these have been hard working students for me. I'm afraid of hampering their learning of the math if I confront this aspect.

    the honors gal loves my class, she has fun in it, and she's great leader in my class who other students love to work with. I can't imagine a way to confront the thumb sucking without risking all these aspects that make her one of my top two students.

    Another of them was a SPED student who was notoriously hard to engage and hated math. She passed my class and was willing to do work for me. All I had to do was park her beside a student who was willing to work with her and she liked. Heck, she would get onto them for not working.

    I see so many positives to just letting it go in my class, but I am very concerned about how it will effect them later in life.
     
  7. each1teach1

    each1teach1 Cohort

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    I have a kid in my level 2 Spanish that sucks her thumb. It's very weird to me since I stopped when I was six, but I never say anything to her about it. And she's actually a very popular kid.
     
  8. MsMar

    MsMar Fanatic

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    When I was proctoring for the PSSA (our state exam) last week I noticed a girl who did it. It definitely took me by surprise. I assumed it was the stress of the test. Since she wasn't my student I have no idea how frequently she does it. So yes, I've seen it in HS, but I haven't really had to deal with it in my classroom.

    I do think talking to her about it is a good idea though. It would be useful for her to have another stress releaser since thumb sucking would not be looked favorably in many situations in life.
     
  9. **Mrs.A**

    **Mrs.A** Comrade

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    I had a friend who sucked her thumb and she was in high school, but I don't think she actually did it at school. She did do it at home with her family and friends around.
     
  10. Blkjacq

    Blkjacq Companion

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    Can you ask their teachers from last year if they did it then? Three seems like a lot in one class to be doing that. Maybe it's a habit they recently started.
     
  11. adventuresofJ

    adventuresofJ Comrade

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    I've subed for thumb sucker... (and as a former one myself) EW! Even when I did it, never at school (even kindergarten). How unsanitary...
    Ask the other teachers and see if there is a way you can suggest other stress releavers or comforts rather than that...
     
  12. MissFroggy

    MissFroggy Aficionado

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    I think this is very odd. Are these teenagers totally coddled? Have they ever had limits placed on them or parents who expect things of them?

    What kind of home lives do they have? I imagine either they are under great stress all the time because of lack of resources and family structure or they are completely spoiled.... whatever the case, this is strange.

    I don't think it's your place to stop them from doing it, but you could talk to them about how it will effect their ability to get a job later in life.

    So strange!!!
     
  13. Mrs. Q

    Mrs. Q Cohort

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    My BIL is 16 and he actually still sucks his thumb. His mother tried everything, all the usual tricks to get him to stop, but none of them worked. He doesn't do it at school that I know of, but his mom has caught him at home watching movies, with his thumb in his mouth.
     
  14. chemteach55

    chemteach55 Connoisseur

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    In 10 years of teaching, I have never had a thumb sucker but I did have one at home. My middle daughter sucked her thumb forever. My OB told me that I was going to have a problem with her. I had 11 ultrasounds (complicated pregnancy) and in everyone she was sucking her thumb. She actually had a small callous on her thumb when she was born. She sucked her thumb until 3rd grade. My husband and I were afraid she would be made fun of and we had tried everything. Our dentist suggested a thumb guard which is a metal plate that fits on the roof of the mouth. She is now a senior in high school and has had braces on her teeth since 7th grade.
     
  15. each1teach1

    each1teach1 Cohort

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    The mental image of that makes me laugh because I know how tough the teenage boys I teach try to act. So to imagine that at home they're at home on the couch watching a movie an d sucking their thumbs makes me laugh.
     
  16. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    While the problem probably along the lines of what everybody else has been discussing, it's worth noting that thumb sucking is a common behavioral side effect of (I think) PCP, or angel dust. I could be wrong on the drug, but one of them is known to cause thumb or pacifier sucking in users.
     
  17. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    I just looked it up...the drug in question is meth. Sorry.
     
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  18. Proud2BATeacher

    Proud2BATeacher Phenom

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    I had a friend who sucked her thumb in high school. She was very popular and was a honor student. She was never embarrassed about being a thumb sucker. She only stopped sucking her thumb in public after one of her boyfriend's told her that he would not hold her hand if she sucked her thumb. Unfortunately in an attempt to move away from thumb sucking she began pulling out the hairs on her eyebrows when she got stressed. She is now in her late 20s and I could still tell when she feels stressed b/c she wears heavy eyebrow pencil.
     
  19. adventuresofJ

    adventuresofJ Comrade

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    um...
    Proud, is she in therapy? It sounds like she needs to be ifshe is not...
    Ecstasy also is known for the pacifier i believe -- at least it is a typical raver accessory.
     
  20. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    I've had one or two over the years. Most were intelligent kids who somehow never broke the habit.

    One in paricular comes to mind. Karla graduated in the mid 90's, and her mom was a lawyer. It wasn't a matter of a bad homelife or of "kids these days"... Karla is probably older now than a lot of the teachers here. Karla was bright, personable, one of the Captains of Speech and Debate as a Senior. Yet when she got stressed (translation: during a Precaclulus test) she would suck her thumb.

    We were friendly enough that I could say "Karla" and she would realize the problem and take it out. No fuss or embarassment; I just wanted her to be aware of the problem.
     
  21. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Aficionado

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    I worked with an ADULT who sucked his thumb. He tried to hide it but everyone knew. :dizzy:
     
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