I feel like I'm terrorizing a kid

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by jen12, Mar 24, 2016.

  1. jen12

    jen12 Devotee

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    Mar 24, 2016

    I have a first grader who at first I thought was very sensitive, but now I think he's manipulating the situation.
    At the beginning of the year, he spoke no English. I'm sure that made him feel left out in many ways, but since the majority of our students are English Learners, he wasn't totally isolated. Unfortunately, he's still falling behind his peers, even those who started the year at the "no English" level. He still can not identify all of the letters and sounds, despite RTI time twice a day.
    A huge part of the problem is he doesn't seem to want to participate with the group. For a while, he was pointing at another student and saying she was saying mean things or bothering him. This is a student who has a mean streak and was in a competition with him for another student's friendship earlier in the year. That third student is no longer in my class, so she's no longer a factor in the social triangle drama. Even so, I've been closely watching when he and this girl he blames for everything are together. She rarely even looks at him, so while the finger pointing was truthful months ago, now it's just him trying to play me. He puts his head down and pushes his work away and blames the other student. I probably coddled him too much in the beginning and now he thinks the wounded act will continue to work. Today he poked another student with a pencil. When I moved his behavior clip down, he curled up in a ball and cried. We were on our way out to a special and he refused to get out of his chair. I tried being nice. I tried counting to three. The only thing that worked was a firm command in a slightly raised voice. I don't want to be "that" teacher, but I can't let him run the show either.
    I think a huge part of it is that he knows he's academically behind his peers and that bothers him. He still will not try to communicate with me, although he understands what I am saying. He's just not at that point where he wants to try out English yet.
    Advice? Has anyone had students who continually play victim in search of sympathy in an attempt to derail the lesson?
     
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  3. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Mar 24, 2016

    He's failing and he knows it. Refer him for evaluation. And find some empathy for his situation.
     
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  4. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    Mar 24, 2016

    No way an evaluation will do anything. A first grader who started the year speaking no English? The soonest my school would even consider an eval in that situation without an ADHD/other medical diagnosis would be third grade.

    ELL students adjust in different ways. I would talk to your ELL/ESOL teachers and let them know what you're seeing in the classroom. They'd be able to give you better advice than I can.
     
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  5. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Mar 24, 2016

    In my district we recognize that early elem kids are hard wired for language learning. Those who are language literate in their home language aquire english fairly quickly. Waiting until grade 3 is negligent
     
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  6. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    Mar 24, 2016

    In my district if you are a new student and a non English speaker, they are not evaluating you for at least a year. I agree it may be negligent, but that student is still not going to be evaluated until they have gone through a year of ELL pull out.
     
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  7. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    Mar 24, 2016


    I have to push to get kids evaluated in third grade. Even then, it rarely happens.

    I have a student who was placed in first, second, and into third. She's been in summer school each year. Kinder and first wanted to retain her. She is reading on a kinder level and has trouble adding basic facts even with manipulatives. I've had her in my RtI process since the second week of school and I've requested testing during each RtI meeting but testing isn't happening. I've even told the parents that they can request testing. Still nothing. I'm just told to continue services and we'll keep monitoring. (Mini-rant warning: They don't want to test because we already have a higher percentage of special needs students than "allowed" as though the federal government is telling us we can't have that many students who have learning disabilities, students on the spectrum, and students with IQs of 64. Well, I'm sorry federal government. I thought our job was to take care of ALL students who walk through our doors. Mini-rant that wasn't so mini over.)

    I did have one student who was lower than this little girl tested and qualified for self contained sped setting. I guess I'm supposed to be happy I got one the help that was needed, but it is extremely frustrating knowing that the girl is basically wasting her time in class. We have three and four step math problems on our state testing and I have no idea how to differentiate for this child to be successful when she says three plus four equals two (using counters!).

    Can you talk to your LPAC committee? We have to test our ELLs language skills several times a year. If he isn't making progress, maybe this committee can get something done. I have more faith in the ELL committee getting something going for a student than just RtI but that's from my current experience. Not all schools are like that though.
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2016
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  8. Obadiah

    Obadiah Groupie

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    Mar 25, 2016

    A couple of thoughts. I wonder if in the boy's mind, the girl is picking on him. I've known students as old as third grade to think of a mistreatment that happened years ago as if it is still a current problem; not that they're holding a grudge, but more like they're in a time warp because of the still maturing understanding of such situations.

    I also have been pondering a question! For several months now, I've been confused as to why a student with a language difference in an early elementary classroom is isolated. Students that age are eager to learn communication and are attracted to novelty. When a language barrier does exist, research also indicates that children often create their own communication; that's actually how many languages developed. In other words, the student should be learning the new language, and the other students should be accepting and communicating with the new student. Yet I hear reports that this doesn't occur. I'm wondering--is it due to parental influence against students of another country/language (such as the current "make English our national language" movement)? Is it due to a modern environment that inhibits these natural qualities of early childhood learning (such as TV, computers, modern tensions, poor nutrition, etc.?) Or something no one's thought of yet?
     
  9. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Phenom

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    Mar 25, 2016

    I'm not sure why you think you're terrorizing him. Continue to be firm (but fair) and not cater to his nonsense.
     
  10. ChristyF

    ChristyF Moderator

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    Mar 25, 2016

    I agree. Continue to be consistent and fair. If possible, have a meeting with his parents and your ESL/ELL support to address his deficits and it might help to have him there for part of the meeting, to make sure you are all on the same page. Good luck!
     
  11. GemStone

    GemStone Habitué

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    Mar 25, 2016

    ESOL students are not isolated in my area. They receive some pull -out services of maybe a couple of hours a week, and spend the rest of their time in the gen ed setting, usually floundering through academics.
     

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