Should she be in class?

Discussion in 'Preschool' started by newbie87, Oct 25, 2009.

  1. newbie87

    newbie87 Comrade

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    Oct 25, 2009

    I'm currently doing my practicum. I'm in the classroom one day a week and this one child is driving me insane. When I first met her, I thought she's a good girl but reserved and quite. I'm at my half way mark now, I see her true colors. This child is very passive aggressive and won't participate in anything she doesn't want to do. Like for example, if lunch is something she likes (she gets free school lunch), she eats like a pig. If lunch is something she doesn't care for, she slowly eats it. We give them a half hour lunch. Then, nap. There will be times everyone is napping and she's not half way done. During nap, they get to use the bathroom. She always take forever. There's strange noise. So, we think she's playing. Once, I had to take her to another class because someone was in our's. She took a long time and the teacher of that room knocked with no response and pushed the door open a tad. Saw her playing with things in there and told her it was time to go back. We suspect this is all she does. During large movement time, she sits on her spot and refuses to sing or dance. We had a project last week where we had to cut out a pattern and she refused. Sitting there with arms crossed. When asked why, she outright lied and said she didn't know how to use scissors. I've seen her use them before. This is not the first time she's lied in front of me, either. Twice, she's outright taken things from people and when she's been called out about it, she's lied. She's also lied about people taking her things. Many children dislike her and she often starts fights. Now, her quietness is going away a little. She's keeping this behavior and allowing the children to influence her in a bad way. She doesn't pick up on any good habits. This week, the class were sitting in their spots and two children were absent. During the middle of an activity she got up and moved to another spot. I told her to move and she looked at me. I told her "Move, now." She gave me this really disturbing look. Like she was testing me. I told you move now or you go sit by yourself at a table and she slowly moved away. I've known, the mentor teacher informed me, since the second week she is a foster child. She has mental and social issues. She isn't getting anything from the class, and the class isn't getting anything from her. Preschool is not required in my state. Should a child like this be in prek? I think she should be in therapy. I don't know. This is my first real teaching experience and have no one to talk to. Am I a bad teacher?
     
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  3. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Oct 25, 2009

    No, you're not a bad teacher, you're a new teacher; there's a world of difference.

    What does the classroom teacher say about her??

    It seems to me like she most definitely needs to be there, since she's greatly lacking in social skills, and that's a good part of what Pre-K is all about.

    That poor baby has already faced more hardship in her life than most of us will ever know... can you imagine, at the age of 3 or 4, being a foster kid and not living with your real mommy and daddy, along with whatever precipitated her removal from them??

    It's only October-- hang in there. This young girl has a lot of catching up to do. Be as patient as you can; she's still young enough that her personality can adapt to her surroundings much faster than an older child's.

    What makes you say she has mental issues? Has she been tested for some sort of mental illness or incapacity?

    And I'm guessing that the shyness is a defense mechanism, to prevent her from being noticed. Again, go back to that foster child thing... sometimes being invisible is the way to go.

    Be patient, and give this poor baby all the kindness and affection you can find for her.
     
  4. newbie87

    newbie87 Comrade

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    Well, the classroom teacher says her situation is very sad and it's not likely she's going to be put back with her biological family. Also, but this is about the class in general, that many of them are very immature for their age and developmental behind others.

    That's true, but my only reason for thinking she doesn't belong there is that this is a time for her to grow. School can be a safe haven for kids. However, she doesn't seem to happy or having fun. The children aren't forming bonds with her. She doesn't seem to have formed bonds with them or with the teachers. Sadly, their skills and behavior, the good kinds, aren't rubbing off on her at all. I think that's my biggest concern. She's on one level and will this experience take her down a level. Next week, will be two months, I've been there. I can say the only changes I've seen are negative. I try to be unbiased, but don't see any improve or her staying on the same road.

    I do feel sad for her. I mean, she frustrates me at times, but I do feel bad for her. That's why I wonder if this experience is good for her or not.

    I guess, I was just assuming she has a mental problem. It's just what I know, that is from text books and classes and my babysitting and other experiences with children, she is different. Mayb e there is nothing wrong with her mentally.

    I'm hoping she can catch up and be happy in school. I just feel confused about how to help her. I want to be there for her, but I don't want to make it seem like she's getting "special attention". So, the others don't feel left out or that there's something different about her. How would you go about it?
     
  5. Jem

    Jem Aficionado

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    Oct 25, 2009

    Alice had great advice.

    I'd also recommend looking at Love and Logic. It's so simple-you don't even really need to read the book. It's basically about giving the child choices and their consequences. If she refuses to move during movement time, crouch down and say, in a very logical yet kind way, that she has two choices. She can continue sitting through movement which will result in a loss of a fun activity later (or whatever the consequence is), or she can get up and join the class in the current movement activity. Then if she makes the choice to continue sitting there, you can say 'I'm really sorry you made that choice. Now ____ will happen.'.

    This way, she can see the consequences before they happen, and she feels she has a choice. The same can be used for all these situations. She has two choices at lunch-eat with the others or she can finish her lunch later during a fun activity (or if you're allowed, just put the lunch away for her to bring home).

    When she chooses to do the right thing, heap praises on her! Make her feel like she has the POWER of choice and that she can CHOOSE the right choice!
     
  6. Blue

    Blue Aficionado

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    It sounds like a control issue to me. She has lost a big chunk of her life, and needs to remain in control of some part of herself. I would set everything up in the classroom so that she can have all the time she needs to complete the task at her own pace. Change the items you can, and keep working on the ones you can not.
     
  7. scmom

    scmom Enthusiast

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    All kids deserve an education - not those who are compliant and easy to teach. Of course she should be in pre-k - she probably needs it more than anyone else. At least it is a safe, productive environment which is probably much better than the one she came from. She may need therapy as well, but it is your job to try to give her the best pre-k experience you can, whether she cooperates or not, at least she is being exposed, and I will bet she is picking up more than you know. She is learning how to communicate and behave from you and the other kids but you can't expect miracles right away. It took her years to get this way - it may take her years to adapt. Keep on trucking - making a difference in her life will be a lot more valuable than you will ever know. Be empathetic - she has probably faced more in her short life than you and I ever will.
     
  8. mrgrinch09

    mrgrinch09 Comrade

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    It's the difficult children that need to be in PRE-K the most. It's the difficult children that are going to need you the most. You might be the only stable person in their lives, and having a stable, consistent person and place is always good for a child.

    I think the better question for you to consider would be "Is this the right line of work for me?"

    Because dealing with difficult children comes with the job. If you're lucky, you'll have only one of these children in your classroom each year. Most likely you'll have school years with 3, 4, or 5 difficult ones. You're going to spend more of your time and energy dealing with these children than you will with the children who aren't being difficult. It may not seem fair to all of the children, but that's just the way it's going to be.
     
  9. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Then again, on the "fairness" scale, kids like this one start off waaaayyyy behind kids like my own. If they some extra love and attention at school, that's more than fine.
     
  10. Blue

    Blue Aficionado

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    You might take a look at your environment and provide some comfort areas for such a child.
     
  11. newbie87

    newbie87 Comrade

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    Oct 26, 2009

    I don't think I can do much about room arrangement, because it's not my room and I'm only there once a week. I will try that Love and Logic technique, though. I think she fustrates me a lot, looking back on different thing she does, because her behavior is so passive aggressive. I'm used to children either trying to be good or making it clear they're trying to be bad. Trust me, there's a few who try to be bad. There's even good kids who make it clear "Today is my bad day!" lol She reminds me of a phrase I never gave much credit to before "child are manipulative". I also think I get annoyed with her, because even with the "bad" kids it's clear there's a bond with us and like they know we love them. With her, she acts like she hasn't formed any bond, even with her teachers who are there all week.
     
  12. kimrandy1

    kimrandy1 Enthusiast

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    Alice, what a good way to look at it.
     
  13. kimrandy1

    kimrandy1 Enthusiast

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    Pre-K may not be required in your state, but it's there to help those most at risk of failure in school get a leg up on the other kids who come from more stable homes and more enriched environments. At least, that's how it works here. So not only should this child be allowed to be in school, it's almost essential that she be there, and this sort of child is the type of child our programs are made for.

    In my program (and yours may or may not be similar), we have a hierachy of "needs" that we use to assess a child's level of need. The higher the need, the more likely they are to be admitted to pre-K. Poverty level, homeless children and children in foster care are all automatic entries - even if the classes are full - because research shows that those children typically start kindergarten so far behind their peers, both academically and socially. That's this kid. She needs you.
    Kim
     
  14. 123456now

    123456now Rookie

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    "I also think I get annoyed with her, because even with the "bad" kids it's clear there's a bond with us and like they know we love them. With her, she acts like she hasn't formed any bond, even with her teachers who are there all week."

    I think it might be helpful for you to read about children who have trouble bonding. It's not a natural thing for a child who has had a hard life so far. This could be her absolute biggest issue, and that is so sad. Not all babies are loved, cared for and responded to when they need something. She most likely was not. What in her life has taught her that she should bond with someone?

    I mean this in a very helpful way, but you really need to educate yourself on these types of children. Your responses and reaction to her are just really uninformed and heartbreaking (for the child). I'm not saying you are awful. I'm just saying you REALLY need to educate yourself. Read everything you can on foster and adopted children (overseas from an orphanage would be a good example). BONDING IS NOT AUTOMATIC. Educate yourself on this child as much as you can. She deserves people around her that love her, especially because she's difficult (with reason).
     
  15. newbie87

    newbie87 Comrade

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    It just seems children like her need some type of other help (pyschological, a social worker to step in, ect). I'm not trained to know these things. They never told me in class, you'll have kids who are like that. I just don't see, at the moment, how this beneficial for her when she's picking up on bad habits. I also forgot to mention, she over reacts to everything. If I counted all the times she's cried in class, I'd lose count. I hope I'm not coming off like I don't care. It's just I think children are dumped into the public school system when there are other larger issues that need to be taken care of. I'll be honest, I worry sometimes her bad behavior will rub off the others. More so, because they're the type of class that when one starts everyone follows.
     
  16. Mrs_Barrett

    Mrs_Barrett Cohort

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    I have a student who is just like her. He needs real mental health help but doesn't get it from his mom. He has been beaten on several occassions by his 2 older brothers who have autism. I feel bad for the kid, but he isn't going to rule my room. I think there needs to be a little more structure, especially the lunch and bathroom situation. We get a half hour to eat, when that time is done the food goes away. We all use the bathroom before nap time. You may use the bathroom during nap, but it's with a consequence and many of the children choose to wait until after nap (which is only an hour long).

    Maybe try using some visuals with her, first/then boards with a reinforcer, visual schedules, 5-point timer for lunch...
     
  17. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    That's why you take a practicum before you teach on your own: to expose you, even if only a little bit, to all those realities you didn't learn about in class.
     
  18. clarnet73

    clarnet73 Moderator

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    There's some rally good advice here. I'd like to add another idea... what DOES she like to do? Is there anything she seems to enjoy that she's successful at? Can you find a way to incorporate more of those kinds of activities into her schedule? Perhaps if she's got something that she likes and feels good about doing to motivate her, she'll be more willing to try stuff that makes her scared, nervous, or that might be difficult.
     
  19. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    And is there a kid in the class who seems to tolerate her, and be tolerated by her, better than the others? Maybe just having a friend will help her a bit. Call her foster mom and ask for input.
     
  20. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    That's pretty much why LBJ started Head Start in the '60's-- to help all those at risk kids catch up with the other kids.
     

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