Please help me decide if I should drop a child

Discussion in 'Early Childhood Education Archives' started by serawyn, Feb 10, 2006.

  1. serawyn

    serawyn Companion

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2005
    Messages:
    110
    Likes Received:
    0

    Feb 10, 2006

    I am faced with a very hard choice. Please help me decide.

    Background:
    This is my first year teaching. I've worked with kids for five years, but this is my first year having a class all to myself. I have a particular child in my classroom who has been extremely difficult since day one. He's been in school for 5 months, and let me tell you, it's not been easy. I love my students and I can't ask for a better class/group of children except for this child.

    He is messy, mean, and has extreme behavioral problems. He often hits other students and when he is asked to use his words or apologize, he ignores any eye contact and refuses to talk. He intentionally runs his bike into other children and when I call him on it, he would ignore me and continues on. When I stop his bike to "have a talk" he would be silent. If I ask him to get off his bike, he refuses and me and my instructional aid would always have to literally pick him off the bike. Then one of us would have to hold onto him so that he doesn't climb back on the bike. There is constant power struggle and it's been draining on both me and my aid.

    I have parent volunteers in the class and all of them refuse to talk or work with him because of his behaviors. When he eats, he is so animalistic. Sandwiches are torn into tiny pieces with crumbs everywhere. Milk and cereal get splashed and spilledall over the carpet. He refuses to help us clean up and when we ask him to use a paper towel to wipe his face, he throws the towel back to us.

    I've taken away his previledges. For example, he can't go outside to play until he cleans up. He would then run out and my aid would drag him back in. He'd run out again, and we'd BOTH have to drag him in; constant power struggle.

    I've given him cookies and toys for his positive behaviors (ie: singing with the group or participating). However, it rarely happens and he hasn't improved at all.

    I've tried all the suggestions veteran teachers gave me. I've had three veteran teachers come in to observe him and they've all told me he has behavioral problems. I've met with the parents 5 times to discuss a behavioral plan. We came up with a schedule (which I don't think he has at home) and list of rules and consequences. Both parents said they would be consistent and enforce the plan at home, but I don't think they are.

    I honestly feel the parents are the problem. I have been told by his neighbors and family members (who attend the same class) that there is no structure at home. He is not neglected from what I've seen during home visits. The parents just let him do whatever he wants and let him get away with anything. When I asked them what they'd do when he misbehaves, they looked at each other. I've given them ideas and techniques to work with him, but it's been 3 months and I've not seen any changes in his behaviors.

    My superivisor came in to observe him for one week. She also feels his is disruptive and has behavioral problems. She told me it is up to me to drop him.

    He's been assessed by special education teachers to make sure it's not a learning disability. Again, I really believe it's his homelife that's affecting him.


    I am not sure what I should do. It is my first year teaching and I feel like maybe I could have done something. I feel like I've failed this child. He can be happy and on the rare days when he is "good", I just feel extremely rewarded. However, his behaviors also scare me, my aid, and parent volunteer. He intentionally hits others and would SMILE, yes, smile when they cry. He gets into a power struggle and wants to do whatever he wants. If someone stops him, he becomes stubborn and tries to do whatever he could to get what he wants (ie: continuously grabbing for a toy even when it is out of reach). I've had to pick him up and remove him from our music time because he wanted to pull at other kids' legs and trip them. My aid or a parent volunteer had to hold him down and stop him from running back to the carpet. Again, this could happen 2-3 times out of the 4 days we're in school.

    I have control of my students and I think I have good classroom management. My class runs pretty smoothly except for when this child acts out. Is it me? Is there anything I can do? I've asked other teachers, tried what they suggested. I've been told to drop this child. Did I fail him? I am so sad right now.
     
  2.  
  3. jagstrademe

    jagstrademe New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2006
    Messages:
    1
    Likes Received:
    0

    Feb 10, 2006

    Hey

    Yeah, you can blame the parents but does that really help the problems. Have you thought of a bahavioural chart for a week.
     
  4. srh

    srh Devotee

    Joined:
    May 4, 2005
    Messages:
    1,199
    Likes Received:
    0

    Feb 11, 2006

    Does your school have a Student Study Team (SST), or something like it, where specialists (psychologist, Vice Principal or Principal, etc.) join the teacher and parents for a meeting? In our area, this is a requirement before recommending retention. They are very helpful in getting parents on board, and it's a good opportunity to discuss the things you've tried, the things that worked or not, etc. It's more than the teacher "complaining" about a wayward student, and it's proactive; possibly someone will recognize a "problem" that has not yet been considered. I'd check that out ASAP!!
     
  5. echocrush

    echocrush New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2006
    Messages:
    1
    Likes Received:
    0

    Feb 11, 2006

    Those are my favorite kids to work with believe it or not. I was one of those kids, and so they have a special place in my heart, and the reason I began working with kids in the first place. Nobody can figure out why these kids behave for me, but not for anyone else.

    First of all neglect comes in many forms, while not abuse most of these kids aren't used to being heard, paid attention to. So the first thing I do is make it a point to pay special attention to them at neutral times. Smile and say hi, affection to whatever level is appropriate in your job function. A pat on the head, and a kind word can go a long way.

    When there is a behavior problem I take the child aside, away from the other kids and I talk to them. I usually start by telling them how fond I am of them, that they are very special to me. I'm glad I get to spend time with them. If their behavior is affecting other children I point it out "Timmy, I know you really want to make friends while you are here, but certain things you do make the other kids unhappy. People don't want to be friends with someone that makes them unhappy." Sometimes I tell them specific examples, but in a case of multiple problems it takes awhile. Some of these kids I use a stoplight word with them, it's a secret word that only the two of us know. For one child it was sunshine...

    So if she was being obnoxious I would say, "Hey sunshine..." or something like that. It was her clue that she was behaving in a way that might upset other people... and she quickly learned to correct her own behavior. It didn't embarrass her or single her out, and it made her feel a bit more in control of her own behaviors.

    Kids know that people don't like them, they may not understand why but they act accordingly. Most of them respond well to the idea that we are friends, and even when I do have to correct them they know I'm doing it because I love them.

    There is one child who has been a behavorial problem since first grade... he has hated everyone, and I mean everyone. He is a very hateful child, and has been the principals best friend since preschool. He gave me flowers for my birthday... lol

    Nobody gets it, but all I had to do was be his friend. I know that's all I needed when I was a kid, and most of these kids do too...

    It really doesn't seem to take much time away from the other kids. Initially it might, but for the most part it is just a small investment here and there. Just talk to him, and let him know how special you know he is... Help him find his good qualities, they're in there... every kid (and adult for that matter) has them. Encourage them...

    On the occasion that I have a child that is still a constant disruption I use the time out method in a different way. I usually explain that their behavior is disruptive to me, and the other children. (Age level appropriate of course) I don't send them out for a specific time, I send them away until they are ready to rejoin us with the appropriate attitude in place.

    Don't give up on him, and don't let everyone else give up... that is exactly what they expect you to do. I have my good days and bad days with my kids too... but I work with the kids that nobody else can, and I truly enjoy my job. I must... I'm a volunteer!
     
  6. Froglet

    Froglet Rookie

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2005
    Messages:
    92
    Likes Received:
    0

    Feb 11, 2006

    It sound like you have done a good job at trying to get help. My question is if you dismiss him where does that leave him? I can see where you think it might be a home thing but that is not going to change if you dismiss him. He is going to have the same problems somewhere else. I have had a few students that their problem was their home and it isn't easy but we as educators can't just give up. My suggestion is keep looking for help. I know that is the best for the child.
     
  7. JaimeMarie

    JaimeMarie Moderator

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2005
    Messages:
    10,120
    Likes Received:
    0

    Feb 11, 2006

    I think a behavioral social worker needs to see this child. I would talk to the parents and tell them unless they find someone to help you all (including at home) learn how to handle this child then he will have to be dismissed.
     
  8. KimberlyBest

    KimberlyBest Comrade

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2005
    Messages:
    344
    Likes Received:
    0

    Feb 11, 2006

    Echocrush has a great attitude and advice about this type situation. I have two students in my class that are similar, one who is almost exactly like you describe (at times, not always) and another who is literally blissfully ignorant that his aggressive behavior hurts others. I have been studying a book and cd program called love and logic and have learned pretty much what Echocrush says, give them love and you'll be amazed at the difference. I was hesitant at first because it did take time away from my other students but after a few days it was much easier. I use statements with them like "You should be proud of yourself for sitting so quietly while I talking to Mrs. So and So" giving them the power takes them off guard. It makes them "own" the behavior, instead of you saying you are proud, tell them they should be proud on their own. For the first couple of days I would have students ask me "why are you letting Joey sit at your desk?" I would respond with a sly smile, "I let him sit at my desk so I can have more time for you" they know that this child is disruptive and most don't even want to be around him so without 'pointing out' the child I am helping them know I care about them and their well being. They also realize that letting him behind my desk is not a fun thing, it's basically a punishment that doesn't hurt anyone in the long run.
     
  9. Myname

    Myname Comrade

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2006
    Messages:
    321
    Likes Received:
    0

    Feb 12, 2006

    KIMBerlyBest- I am going to try this approach with my difficult child.
    I am going to try and tell him He should be proud of himself for doing such a good job (whatever it may be). And also when I have him sit an do something quiet at the table during his outbursts. And other kids ask why is he sitting over there, I am going to say so I can spend more time with you. I love this advice anymore tips please post.
    I have tried the being his friend, the child in my class,and it doesn't work with my child but maybe this approach will.
    This child in my class will still do the sweetest things to me yet be so mean. I really love this child for who he is but hate that behavior he has that is so violent at times.
     
  10. JaimeMarie

    JaimeMarie Moderator

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2005
    Messages:
    10,120
    Likes Received:
    0

    Feb 12, 2006

    Here is the love and logic site.
    http://www.loveandlogic.com/
    You can see if they are having a conference near you.
    I would love to go to one.
     
  11. KimberlyBest

    KimberlyBest Comrade

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2005
    Messages:
    344
    Likes Received:
    0

    Feb 12, 2006

    Love and Logic has a lot of great tips for dealing with children and parents too! Believe it or not the parent who ordered all these products and gave them to me is the mother of the boy I have the most trouble with. She's very aware of her son's problems and thanks me daily for putting up with the issues. I tell you some days are really hard but I keep in mind that this particular child doesn't really understand what he's doing (my other one does - he's just spiteful). I'm not usually one who jumps in to a particular 'program' but I am really learning alot from this one. On the website you can order books, cds, etc. if you can't get to a seminar, I'm thinking of trying to get to one eventually for now the books/cds are working for me. The book called Teaching with Love and Logic has been my saving grace these last few weeks. I truly think I'm getting better at not stressing so much about this behavior. Now I'm starting to listen to the cd about dealing with parents. He is actually changing too I can tell.

    I wish you lots of luck and if you want to chat - PM me! I'll give you some other hints and tips from the series that you might want to try. (I promise I'm not a salesperson :D )
     
  12. JenPooh

    JenPooh Virtuoso

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2004
    Messages:
    6,367
    Likes Received:
    1

    Feb 13, 2006

    sera, I feel for you. I know everyone keeps asking "but where will the child go", but honestly, I think that the parents will not get it through their heads if nothing serious happens. This child will not get any better without the help of the parents, period! It's also not fair to the other kids in your class if he is taking away that much of your energy. I may be the minority here, but after dealing with it that long, I would drop him. At this point, it's the parents, and you can only do so little when you don't have the parental support. SO what should you do, continue doing what you're doing to still have nothing change? Sounds like a waste of energy and time when you know the outcome will not be effective. Maybe someone else can get through to his parents where you can't. You did not fail him, his parents are failing him!!!
     
  13. serawyn

    serawyn Companion

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2005
    Messages:
    110
    Likes Received:
    0

    Feb 13, 2006

    Thank you everyone for resonding. In regards to some of the suggestions and questions:

    1. I did set up a STT. We even tried and had different people working with him to see what it is that he may need. I thought it was my teaching style that may not be compatible with him, but others couldn't work with him either.

    2. I tried being his friend. I give him many hugs throughout the day. Lots of pats on the back or head to let him know he's special. I make it a point to talk/play with him at least 30 minutes each day (out of the 2.5 hours he is at school). I constantly praise him even if it's just "I am so happy you're making eye contact with me". However, he rarely does anything nice or "good" so I sometimes feel like I'm fishing for anything. I tell him I love how he rides his bike and that I am proud he recognizes his namecard. During free play, I encourage other children to talk to him or play with him. I pair him with different children and even let him choose a "friend", but he never wanted to choose any.

    3. I set up a reward chart in class. Everytime he does something good, even if it's just hanging up his backpack when he comes to class, I would give him a sticker. When he gets five stickers, I will buy him ice cream or he will get 10 extra minutes to play outside. I made it really simple so that he could quickly get a sense of success. I mean, if he just hangs up his backpack, smile and says hi to the teacher, crosses his legs and sits on the carpet. He can earn five stickers easily. However, he either throws his backpack at me or his dad would have to pick it up from the ground and hang it for him. I really, really want to help him get the ice cream. He's gotten some ice cream over the last three months, but now he wants a video game. I don't want to teach him to demand his reward. When I told him I will give him a toy, book, cookies, he told me to "go to hell" because he wants a video game.

    4. I do love my students, all of them. I always give them hugs and I try my best to give them the attention they need. I visit them at home and work with them outside of our classtime if I see they need extra help.

    Maybe it is my first year teaching. Maybe I need to find help elsewhere. I will see if I can get more help for this child. I do realize now that complaining or blaming the parents is not the way to go.
     
  14. JenPooh

    JenPooh Virtuoso

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2004
    Messages:
    6,367
    Likes Received:
    1

    Feb 13, 2006

    But if his parents are not helping, you need to place blame where the blame is coming from. When dealing with parents who do not lend the help that is needed, it is almost impossible to make that severe of a change in a child. There needs to be a balance and each environment needs to work together. It's the only way! Educate these parents in what they need to do. If it doesn't change and they don't put forth their effort, I'm sorry, but you might as well just stop trying and drop him because it wont get better until that happens.

    Anyone can get upset at me or throw tomatoes, I don't care, but I'm tired of hearing how people think they can work miracles and miraculously change a child without their parents assistance. It doesn't work that way. Maybe this is a sign that this school is not for him.
     
  15. KimberlyBest

    KimberlyBest Comrade

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2005
    Messages:
    344
    Likes Received:
    0

    Feb 13, 2006

    No tomatoes here! Just a heck of a lot of clapping!!!! Parents MUST be on board to help initiate change within a child. Education should begin at home, we as teachers should be a scaffold to the education process, it is not our job to 'raise' them, just to love them when in our midst and guide them along. Our involvement in their lives should complement the 'home training'.
     
  16. MorahMe

    MorahMe Habitué

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2006
    Messages:
    831
    Likes Received:
    0

    Feb 14, 2006

    Noone can help every child. By keeping a child you can't help, you do a disservice to him, his classmates, and yourself!
     
  17. JenPooh

    JenPooh Virtuoso

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2004
    Messages:
    6,367
    Likes Received:
    1

    Feb 14, 2006

    Good choice of words nmk! That is very true.
     
  18. MorahMe

    MorahMe Habitué

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2006
    Messages:
    831
    Likes Received:
    0

    Feb 14, 2006

    Unfortunately, my school administration didn't agree...their loss!
     
  19. Lainie

    Lainie Companion

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2005
    Messages:
    111
    Likes Received:
    0

    Feb 14, 2006

    Something else I would suggest is, have you looked into Conscious Discipline? We use it at Head Start and I love it. But there are some situations that can't be fixed without help. Is there a behavior plan set up for the parents to work on at home?
     
  20. serawyn

    serawyn Companion

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2005
    Messages:
    110
    Likes Received:
    0

    Feb 14, 2006

    Yes, during our meetings, we set up and modified plans (espeically when they don't work). I gave them a list of rules because they didn't have any at home. The rules are consistent with the ones we have at school, therefore, he can also work on them at home. I asked the parents to place the list of rules on the fridge and in his room and also to remind him whenever he's following or not following the rules. We also set up consequences for when he breaks or follows the rules (ie: take him out to the park if he goes to sleep at 8pm every night, or take away a favorite toy if he hits someone). We also set up a daily schedule of when he needs to wake up, eat breakfast, have lunch, play, watch tv, eat dinner, etc. I constantly remind the parents to be consistent in their discipline because he needs a lot of structure (he has none at home). I can't seem to get it through to the parents that letting him go to sleep whenever he's tired is not the best method. He ends up going to sleep at 10 or 11pm because he doesn't want to go to bed at 7pm.

    When I said it's the parents' fault, I really think it is true. However, I will do my best to help this child. It just seems so discouraging sometimes.
     
  21. JenPooh

    JenPooh Virtuoso

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2004
    Messages:
    6,367
    Likes Received:
    1

    Feb 15, 2006

    You need to be blunt and honest. Are you "sugar coating" the situation to them when you talk to them?
     
  22. JulieC

    JulieC Rookie

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2005
    Messages:
    85
    Likes Received:
    0

    Feb 15, 2006

    Fair play to you for your dedication - I would find that so hard. Just don't run yourself into the ground trying to make up for this boy's parents. Remember - you only have him for a few hours a week and ultimately the responsibilty lies with his mom and dad. Good luck with him - he's lucky to have someone who cares so much on his side.
     
  23. Lainie

    Lainie Companion

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2005
    Messages:
    111
    Likes Received:
    0

    Feb 15, 2006

    Also, have the parents observed him in the classroom setting? We've had a few,um, unsupportive parents come in (after explaining that you'd like them to just watch for a whole day), and most of the time, these parents are horribly embarrassed and work harder to change. Maybe it's not the nicest way of doing things, but if they can see how his behavior and lack of structure are affecting his entire classroom environment, maybe they'll be more motivated.
    After all, any other school he goes to will expect the same (mostly) behavior you expect in your classroom. Things won't get any easier for them if they don't nip it in the bud.
     
  24. serawyn

    serawyn Companion

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2005
    Messages:
    110
    Likes Received:
    0

    Feb 17, 2006

    Hi Lainie,
    Yes, the parents have observed his behaviors. All the parents in my class are required to put in 10 volunteer hours each month. They've both been in the classroom and they've seen him hit or intentionally hurt other children. I've seen both parents been embarrassed and upset by his behaviors. They would try to tell him to apologize, but if he runs away from them then they just let him be. When I call him back to explain to him that it is not ok to hit (I've also used positive words such as "we treat each other gently, like this...), he just closes his eyes and looks down with a smirky smile. The parents would constantly repeat, "Look, say sorry" or "You can't do that", but there never is a consequence for this type of aggressive behavior. It's as if they have no idea how to repremand him for his aggressive behavior. He just ignors whatever the parents say to him and gives them the same attitude he gives me. I've given them ideas such as taking away his toys or previleges if he hits.

    I also modeled for them. If a child in my class hits another child, I would ask the other child to explain to them that they've been hurt. I also ask the chlid how he/she feels if someone else hurts them. Then I'd ask the child to admit his/her responsibility and when they are ready, they will give an apology to the other child. Until they are able to own up to their responsibility, a child who hits will need to sit down and think about what they've done. They cannot go outside to play or join the class' activity.

    All my kids are able to do this, except for this child. It usually only takes 1-3 minutes for a child to go, "I hit him. I'm going to stop that and it's not ok".
     
  25. tracyl

    tracyl Rookie

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2006
    Messages:
    14
    Likes Received:
    0

    Mar 9, 2006

    Serawyn, what kind of a center do you work in?
     
  26. smiles_of_three

    smiles_of_three Rookie

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2006
    Messages:
    54
    Likes Received:
    0

    Mar 31, 2006

    Have the parents of the child come and spent a day in the classroom
    and observe it from you're point of view. Maby the parents will see the difference between the other kids and her own, and start taking charge of things at home.
     
  27. smiles_of_three

    smiles_of_three Rookie

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2006
    Messages:
    54
    Likes Received:
    0

    Mar 31, 2006

    Does this child have other siblings at home?
     
  28. puff5655

    puff5655 Cohort

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2006
    Messages:
    726
    Likes Received:
    8

    Apr 4, 2006

    What I believe is if you are afraid he will really hurt another student, then I would give the parents (and the child) a serious warning that if they won't cooperate, he's going to be removed from the program.
     

Share This Page

Members Online Now

  1. satexam,
  2. rpan,
  3. Brianges
Total: 165 (members: 3, guests: 140, robots: 22)
test