The student no one likes..

Discussion in 'First Grade' started by lafogosa, Oct 26, 2010.

  1. lafogosa

    lafogosa Companion

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    Oct 26, 2010

    I have a student that I really just do not like. The other students find him equally annoying.

    He is disruptive, cries all the time, is mischievous, and is just not welcome by me or the other students.

    I have tried to get his mom to come in for a conference. The last time I spoke to her, she just kind of rolled her eyes...

    Would it be really bad for me to ask my administrators to move this student from my class? He is really just not a good fit for the environment.

    I've tried different strategies with his, some from the PRIM book of strategies, others that I saw here, came up with on my own, and other resources.

    In all honestly, I hate to see this child walk in the door in the morning. I know that is "unteacherly" behavior, but I'm just being truthful.

    Suggestions, advice?
     
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  3. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Oct 26, 2010

    My suggestion is to have data before going to the administration team. They do not want to move a child unless absolutely necessary (or parent request). You want to show that you can work with a variety of students, are open, etc... But sometimes it just isn't a good fit and is better to do what is right for the child.

    Record each instance for a week or two and then sit down with your team to discuss interventions. Give it a few weeks after this and then problem solve and mention a new teacher... But I wouldn't push it unless you have your tenure...then you have more wiggle room.
     
  4. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    Oct 26, 2010

    First of all, don't feel bad. I had two in my class last year.

    To be honest, the admins most likely won't move the kid because that means they have to put him in someone else's class.


    Just try to minimize his impact on the other students, and try not to give any outward impression that you don't like him.

    It's not good that the other students are starting to isolate him, and you need to do what you can to put an end to that. They need to be with you and not against him.

    He does the negative behaviors at school because those behaviors work for him someplace else (probably at home). I will bet that when his parents try to discipline him at home, he has a fit, and the parents give in.

    So when you finally do speak to his mom, don't sugarcoat things - be as blunt and direct as you need to be in order to give her the reality check that she needs. The two students I had last year gave clear indications that their parents were a large part of why the kids behaved like they did. Maybe the admins won't move the kids, but see if they can get the parents in the office and read them the riot act.
     
  5. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Oct 27, 2010

    He's "not welcome by" you? His teacher?

    I'm really not sure they should pull the child from your class based on popularity.

    My heart always goes out the most to those kids. They are some mom's entire world.

    As Tim Gunn would say "Find a way to make it work."


    eta: I'm teaching one right now. He was in my room for extra help this afternoon. I joked with him a bit, explaining that he really DOES need to just breathe when he doesn't understand. (Last week I thanked the girl who sits behind him "for her patience." She just smiled and said "no sweat, Mrs. A.")

    When he looks back at his time in high school, I want him to think of me as someone who treated him as kindly as I treat anyone else.
     
  6. Lynnnn725

    Lynnnn725 Connoisseur

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    Oct 27, 2010

    Treat him as your little project. This can be the year you learn so much from this little kid. Make some goals for yourself and see how you can go about accomplishing them. Maybe treat it like a game (to yourself... nobody else will know about) and see if you can break this kids code.

    My advice is to stick with the boy and try to learn as much as you can from him (so that in the future you can apply it to other children to have some of the same behaviors or characteristics).
     
  7. schoolteacher

    schoolteacher Habitué

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    Oct 27, 2010

    You can turn this situation around.

    You don't need to involve his mom, you don't need to have him removed from your room. You do need to find a way to like him.

    He can sense that you don't like him. He acts accordingly. You can call it being honest, as if you just can't help it, but you really can.

    Most likely, everyone in this child's life finds him annoying. He needs you to find that part of him that is worthwhile. He needs you to believe in him, support him, like him. Because there is no one else.

    Once you do those things, you will be amazed at how his behavior turns around.

    I know this, because I have felt the exact same way about a child in my class this year. After analyzing the situation, I realized that I was not supporting the child, and he desperately needed my support.

    Once I looked for things to like about him, I found them. I am now able to influence him a great deal more than before, when I couldn't stand him. Childern absolutely have a sense of this.

    The most important thing I learned from this experience is that I always have a choice about how I feel towards a child. My choice can have a huge impact on not just the individual child's life, but also on the climate of the class. To make everyone's life go well, I must find a way to like and support every child in the room. This pays off huge dividends in class rapport.
     
  8. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    Oct 27, 2010

    :yeahthat: plus, from your description, it seems that mom has the same reaction to the child. Perhaps you can be the one person in this child's life who offers understanding and security. Think of the lessons you can teach the rest of the class...compassion, empathy, friendship.
     
  9. sweetlatina23

    sweetlatina23 Cohort

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    Oct 27, 2010

    I agree with what others have posted. He needs love and attention, I have a student who fits the description. Granted he bothers me sometimes and yes he annoys me, however, I know his situation and thats where I know I have to give him even more love and attention. His father was killed last year in the violence from Mexico, his bother works a 7-7pm job. He takes the city bus home (we don't have school buses), he lives in the poorest of the poorest projects, and he raises himself.

    He doesn't have a lot of money, yet he is always the first to donate to our missions box, he is the first one to come in and bring in the hot chocolate they are collecting at our school, he is the first to apologize to me every day when he sees me down, and tells me he knows its probably his fault. I can't push him away, my heart goes out to him.

    Get to know your student, and have your students get to know him too. It can be a project, do penpals in the class or something. They need to get to know the real him, he deserves a chance.

    Remember no child should ever be left behind. At home kids receive strike after strike of denial, why should we be adding another strike.
     
  10. passionateacher

    passionateacher Comrade

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    Oct 27, 2010

    I had a kid this year who scream-cried when he was upset...and he was 8! And he was big! I felt SOOO incredibly irritated when he would cry...it was like a loud pouting tantrum. So I called his mom one day during class (I know, bad, I should'nt have interrupted instruction, but hey, it worked and he never cried again). Then I began to tell myself "I like him. He can do ____. He's good at ____. I think he's cool in his own way."

    Well this kid started giving me hugs...I think he could tell a difference in my reaction towards him. He wrote me nice cards over the weekend. He always told me in the mornings how he was going to now have the best day ever and try to get on green or purple (card system).

    After a week or so, believe it or not, I actually started liking this kid just like everyone else. I would wonder "Am I that good at brainwashing that I brainwashed myself? Or do I really like him on my own for real?" He ended up moving in mid-September but I do wonder how he's doing. I even got his new teacher's information so my class could be penpals with his class.

    So the moral of this story is: brainwash yourself...until you believe it! :lol:
     
  11. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    Oct 27, 2010

    I don't know what grade level you teach, but here's my advice...

    Keep working on trying to figure out how to reach him. Start working on the rapport. I once had a teacher specialist that said the most important thing in the beginning is to build that rapport. They will stay with you the rest of the year after that. Until then, you can't really teach effectively.

    In the meantime, I send emails to each parent at least once a week with something positive. Some story, etc. This has two purposes. One purpose is to build trust with the parents so when I do have a problem, they want to be on my side. The second reason is because it forces me to constantly think of at least one good thing that child did recently that is newsworthy to share.

    I'm not saying you need to email. I'm saying you need to start finding one good thing about the child frequently. Make it a point to share some way shape or form. That forces you to realize the changes that are occurring and you will likely see things you might not have paid attention to as readily before. The kid that frustrates me the most is the one I need to really be spending the most time finding the positive things this kid is building or doing.

    Another thing you need is some positive reinforcement. Every time you catch this child doing good, really bend over backwards and tell him how proud you are that he is doing xyz. Be specific. Do it frequently.

    The same teacher specialist once said, no kid comes to school wanting to **** off the teacher. They want your approval. It's just sometimes there is something standing in the way or some wall they erect. Some kids have defense mechanisms. Some kids don't have the skills. There are reasons behind it. Deep down though every kid wants the approval.

    If you give a grade level, we can perhaps give you better advice. Right now what I might say for kindergarten won't necessarily work for high school.

    I think one of the most critical components besides the catch doing good/praise is that when students do mess up and you have to be stern and there are consequences. Follow up with them in a way that lets them know you really still care about them. They need to feel SAFE and supported.

    I think different kids respond to different approaches. Every one of my 5 years I have had a different classroom management approach and it is all based on the kids. My teacher personality changes. That's because I have to figure out what works with them. It starts with my neediest child and works from there. It took me a month to figure one of my students out and my boss didn't have much patience with me but I got through it and it worked out. Now the child and I have a relationship and an understanding but it took a lot of work, trying different things and a whole lot of rapport building so the child knew that no matter what, I was there.

    We've all had kids that frustrate us beyond belief. It's okay to feel that way. It truly is. The unteacherly feelings you are having are probably because you feel you've exhausted every tool you have and nothing is working. Sometimes it is a work in progress. Again, my advice... focus on one positive thing the child did everyday. Praise often. Start building that rapport. Once you get this child reigned in, you'll be able to teach your whole class better.

    Oh, go to the child's sports games if he has any. That will help build some rapport without taking away from the class. You could just go to one or two games and suddenly Ms. Teacher really cares about me.
     
  12. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    Oct 27, 2010

    I'm laughing passion teacher because we are saying almost the same thing but yours is so much more concise.
     
  13. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Oct 27, 2010

    Wow. All of my kids are absolutely convinced that I love them...and in ways I do...even the annoying ones. One of the smartest educators I know (my grad school dean) says that the children who challenge us most are the ones who need our love and understanding the most. Find ways to connect with this child.
     
  14. TiffanyL

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    Oct 27, 2010

    Without a doubt this child picks up on your feelings (even if you don't want him to).

    I had some real "unique" ones in my class throughout the years. My class would not have been the same without them. Model for your kids how to accept any and all. Your class truly would not be the same without all the differing personalities, approaches, and styles.
     
  15. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

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    Oct 28, 2010

    Not only does this child pick up on your feelings, but so do the other kids. I read an article once that gave the advice of treating that child for one week as if he was your favorite in the class. Maybe that's something you should try in this instance. I worked with a woman once who I hope unknowingly completely ostracized a student from his peers. In her treatment of him, her tone-with young kids they pick up on that if their teacher doesn't like something/someone-neither do they. I felt so sorry for that kid.

    I don't think even asking him to be moved is a good strategy at this point-if it's his personality, wouldn't it be the same challenge regardless of where he was-only now he has to start over and know he was unwanted in his original class.
     
  16. EMonkey

    EMonkey Connoisseur

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    Oct 29, 2010

    I would work on finding things about the child which you like. I would work on not acting like he is not welcomed. I would not be behaving well if the children and the teacher in my class all did not want me there and I still had to be there. The child is only around six years old and may not have much information on what is expected of him to make friends. I know it sometimes can be hard to find what you like; but if I get kids in who I am having a difficult time feeling welcoming to I work very hard at finding connections and things I like about the child so that I do not encourage other children to turn him into an outcast.

    The children in your class follow your lead. If you do not welcome this child you then are telling the other students that you expect them to not welcome him too. If you make sure he is welcome then you are telling the other children they also need to make him welcome. By doing this you are also taking away a level of safety for every child in your class. The children somewhere wonder "if our teacher made so and so not welcome how do I know that I will continue to be welcome here?" The children are still young enough that they do not recognize the exact reasoning for you making the child unwelcome. I have had plenty of mischief making, temper tantrum throwing, disruptive children who would cry quite easily that were well liked and made quite welcome by their peers even if child's peers found their actions annoying in the moments.
     
  17. mrachelle87

    mrachelle87 Fanatic

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    Oct 30, 2010

    The first year I taught T-1, I had a little boy that was awful. He was mean. He was disruptive. His teacher the year before is a phony--you know the type, super honey sweet to the parents, but not nice to the kids. He hated school. He knew everyone hated him--especially honey teacher. So he expected the same from me. His own mother told me she hated him--she had mental issues.

    About three weeks into the school year, I was crying to my husband that I spent my day saying, "Please, J don't do that." "Please J, don't talk." "J sit down." That night I dreamed I was J. I realized as bad as I felt saying those things, he felt having those things said. I was the reason his classmates were frustrated with him. I slowly ---because I am not perfect---changed my attitude toward him. He is in 3rd now. I am the first teacher he finds each day to hug. I am the teacher he comes to tell his stories to each day. And I really love him. He makes my heart hurt. His home life is not good.


    My son was the child that a teacher hated...she did a lot of damage to him that 10 years later still isn't healed. I wasn't going to do that to another child. My son is a great kid, but because of this b####, he feels like a loser at times. Sadly he wasn't the only child she hated that year...and I think every year since. Don't be a negative in his life...he has enough negative. I promise that there is one thing you can like about him....but it is your job to find it.
     
  18. prek176

    prek176 Companion

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    Oct 30, 2010

    Some excellent advice here! It is helping me to have a 2nd look at one of my difficult students. Although he is a sweet boy he is not well received by his peers. He is loud, gets in their personal space, has trouble attending to his work, constantly out of his seat etc. His name is one that the children have heard often over the last couple years. I have seen him in public with both his mom and his dad on separate occasions and he is a different child than the one I see in my classroom. I'm going to see if by ignoring some of his annoying behaviors and giving him hugs if maybe he will feel more secure. His mom told me today that he seems to have low self esteem. After reading posts here I know that tomorrow can be a new day for this little guy. Thanks for all the heartfelt advice!
     
  19. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Oct 30, 2010

    Thank YOU for giving a difficult child another chance!
     
  20. Peachyness

    Peachyness Virtuoso

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    My most toughest kid I've had was when I taught fifth. He didn't get along with any of the other kdis. The previous year, he was constantly suspended or in some sort of trouble.

    When I got him, I realized the pain he was in. I adored the kid. I joked around with him, got to know him, and even cried with him when I was telling him how I could see what an amazing kid he was. I saw him a few months ago and his eyes couldn't have sparkled more. This year, I have some of the really tough kids, and I adore working with them. :)
     
  21. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    I have one of these kiddos in my class. He's special ed, loud even when he's trying to be quiet, spaces out easily, and annoys the other students. But he is a bright ray of sunshine for all of his teachers. He never has anything bad to say about anything, and he just makes everyone smile.
     
  22. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    Oct 31, 2010

    My principal always says, at every meeting, remember-parents aren't keeping the good ones at home. They're sending us the best they have. So it's our job to get the best out of them...no matter how much they get under our skin.

    I have 2 lovely angels who were just suspended for fighting...both obnoxious, both annoying...but both need love and attention, in different ways. It was challenging last year, it is challenging this year, and it will be challenging next year. But every time I feel the need (and it's often) to roll my eyes, or get on them, I stop, take a breath, and put myself in their shoes.
     
  23. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    Oct 31, 2010

    Thank you for this honest admission. While we all try our best to work with difficult students and look beyond their outward behavior, I just find it hard to believe they are greeted with the joyful anticipation being expressed by some of the posters. There is nothing wrong with admitting these kids try our patience and that, even on the best of days, we still want to roll our eyes or breathe a heavy sigh of exasperation when dealing with their outbursts or discussing their behavior with other teachers. That doesn't mean we don't TRY to look for positives in their behavior, work constantly to be more gentle in our redirection of their conduct and understand the environments they come from and live in every day.

    We have a student in our school very similar to this. To classify him as a challenge would be a gross understatement. He has little to no impulse control, throws extreme tantrums over the most mundane circumstances (like papers falling out of his binder), seems almost incapable of speaking below a shout and has a shrill voice even when being calm. To make matters worse, he is not formally diagnosed, but still uses his "condition" as an excuse to justify not doing any work, ignoring instructions or directions, and generally doing whatever he wants whenever he wants.

    Our middle school team is absolutely wonderful in their patience and approach to his behavior. They go out of their way to help him stay focused and organized. They correct his behavior as gently as they can and will often pull him aside when he is having a bad day and say "Ok, tell me what you're upset about and let's see what we can do to fix it." Sometimes they have to be more firm when his actions disrupt the entire classroom, but they still try to be as understanding as they can in their approach. Overall, they do a great job of working in difficult circumstances. But when we sit down at lunch and discuss our day, there is still plenty of eye-rolling and heavy sighing.

    Of course, despite the challenge and the difficulty it presents, I don't think any of the teachers would say they dislike the student. They dislike the way he acts many times, but understand that his actions have always been tolerated at home and it is the adults in his life that have made excuses to justify his behavior, so it is only natural he expects his teachers to do the same. That makes the teacher's job more difficult, but that just comes with the territory.
     
  24. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Oct 31, 2010

    I love your principal's philosophy!
     
  25. prek176

    prek176 Companion

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    Tricky part about my situation is living in a small town. His grandparents work in the school. She is a teacher, he is my part time aide. An aunt works as a SPED teacher and his other aunt subs in the school. They have both worked in my classroom as well. They have ALL seen what I see on a daily basis. The grandparents do some child care for this boy and his brother and the boys are NOT well behaved for them either. There really does seem to be something going on. He is constantly seeking adult feedback. Funny thing is, he and his brother don't fight over attention with the divorced parents but that is the story I get. Anyway, I will put extra effort in and let some of the dumb things slide and we'll see what happens. A wise teacher said to me "these children are loved by someone"!!
     
  26. TeacherSandra

    TeacherSandra Enthusiast

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    Oct 31, 2010

    How's it going, Lafogosa? What's happened since your post?
     
  27. lafogosa

    lafogosa Companion

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    Nov 2, 2010

    Teacher Sandra- thank you for asking about how we're doing.

    I really liked the comment that one poster said about not liking the behavior.

    I must retract and say that it is not him that I don't like. It's definately his behavior. tThis student is very bright and cute as a button, but his behavior is atrocious!

    I actually get the best behavior from him when he is isolated from the rest of the class, but that is not helping him socially. The other students really do not like him, though. He says mean things under his breath to them, tries to sneak and pass licks, and jumps in front of them in line.

    He has 2 teacheres, and it's unfortunate to say that our day was such much nicer without having to get on to him all day.

    How do you work with that?
     
  28. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    Patience, patience, patience.

    Try to think of it from his perspective. Likely, all day long, he encounters people who don't like him. His classmates, his teachers, his parents :(...with that constant negativity and nagging in his face all day, his behavior isn't going to improve. Perhaps if you can become the one bright spot in his day, he might start to respond to that.

    Can you talk to your students privately? Brainstorm ways to help him feel part of the group and ways they can respond if he is mean.

    It won't happen overnight, but once he starts to see that he can trust you and has a safe place in the classroom, he just might come around.

    Good luck!
     
  29. Cerek

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    Nov 2, 2010

    It is very challenging under the best of circumstances and, although it isn't very helpful, you just do the best you can. Realizing the kid DOES have positive aspects is a great start. Try to focus on those points when you're reaching your wits end and see things from his perspective if you can. What issues are driving his behavior? What reward does he hope to gain from his antics? Even if it is negative attention, it is still attention.

    Think about how you would feel if your P and all your coworkers thought everything YOU did was annoying? Suppose you made a monumental social faux pas when you first arrived at the school that upset everyone and now all of your actions are judged against that first impression. You might find any suggestions you made greeted with sarcasm or thinly disguised criticism. Any attempt to build team connections by asking for other opinions may be viewed as "She doesn't even know what she is doing and wants US to tell her how to do her job." To cope with that, you might begin trying different approaches, some of which you KNOW would be considered inappropriate, but what the hell, you're getting criticized no matter what anyway, so why not try a little "shock value" for a change?

    Finally, just imagine what it would feel like if you knew nobody at work liked you, not even your boss. No matter what you do, your boss will still jump on you for anything you do wrong and your coworkers will talk about you within earshot while openly avoiding any social contact with you. What would it feel like to get up every single morning knowing this was the situation you would face all day long?

    From that perspective, it isn't so hard to understand why kids (who lack adult maturity, wisdom and understanding) would act increasingly outrageous when things aren't going their way.
     
  30. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    Nov 2, 2010

    :yeahthat:

    That's what I was trying to say...it can't be fun or feel very good to be around people who he can sense don't like him.
     
  31. Em_Catz

    Em_Catz Devotee

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    Nov 6, 2010

    Thank you so much or writing that. This is exactly what I wanted to say but I didnt know how to say it without seeming snarky or seeming like I was making accusations.

    I also appreciate the posters' honesty because I think all of us get frustrated and I do have a hard time believing that all the posters greet their challenges with joy and understanding CONSTANTLY.

    I think I am one of the kindest, most patient teachers there is, but I have my :banghead: moments to because I am human.
     
  32. Lynnnn725

    Lynnnn725 Connoisseur

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    Nov 6, 2010

    This is kind of sad, but I was tested the other day by a student and I asked myself, "If he died tomorrow, how would I feel about the way I treated him?" I know that sounds dramatic, and let me clarify that I absolutely do not want him to die. I just know that we never know when it is our time...

    I have had a student die before and his mom told me school was his favorite place to be and how his last words were "Mom, make sure to turn in my library book to my teacher." After he died, I questioned how I treated him as a person and as a teacher who is to be helping him grow into a great person.

    (I hope this post doesn't get taken the wrong way!)
     
  33. sweetlatina23

    sweetlatina23 Cohort

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    no, it makes a lot of sense. :thumb:
     
  34. Grammy Teacher

    Grammy Teacher Virtuoso

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    I truly feel sorry for you. I am going through the same thing this year. One child is ruining our whole year, every day, 8 hours a day and there is no way to reach him because of the way his mother has ruined him.
     
  35. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    Nov 6, 2010

    That is an important perspective to have, Lynn. Realizing the unthinkable COULD happen can help give each of us that extra patience we sometimes need.

    This also happened at my high school during my sophomore year. There was a junior that had been a good student in his younger years, but had gotten into some things in high school that changed that. He had a no work ethic and a bad attitude towards school and his teachers. He finally had a confrontation with one teacher that ended in a shouting match (this was 1979 and teachers could do things like that). His last words in the argument were "Well, after today, you won't have to worry about me causing problems in your class anymore." That night, he took a shotgun and killed himself.

    It had nothing to do with school or the teacher. He had a LOT of issues going on at home and in other areas of his life that were more to blame, but when we learned the news on Monday, the teacher from Friday was completely devastated! She ran out of the school, crying uncontrollably and had to take a few days off before she could come back.

    It is really, REALLY hard sometimes - especially when the resident problem child is jumping all over your last nerve that day - but it does help to remember that this COULD be the last time we ever speak to that child. Even if it isn't, we still need to remember just how much impact our words and actions have on our students.

    Maybe I'm naive', but we are almost like surrogate parents to our students (in some cases, more literally than others) and - just like with a parent - I truly believe MOST students are looking for that recognition, encouragement, praise and respect from their teachers just like they do from their parents. We are a HUGE figure in their lives (whether they act like it or not) and we should always be mindful of what we say or do towards them. Sometimes, we are the only POSITIVE influence or role model they have in their lives.

    That doesn't make it muchy easier to keep it together when they are screaming for umpteenth time that day, but if we can keep a good perspective, maybe we can force ourselves to step back, take a deeeep breath and talk to the calmly correct the child's behavior.
     
  36. mkate

    mkate Comrade

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    Nov 7, 2010

    It sounds like maybe the child could use some help with social skills-- he undoubtedly wants to be liked by his peers but either doesn't know how to get that to happen, or maybe he senses that they don't like him and thinks that rather than try and get hurt, it's safer to directly provoke them and get the same result without making himself vulnerable.

    Could you look for some books to read with the class that could reinforce the idea of how to get along with others, and especially how to give someone a chance even if past behaviour has been poor? I don't have any specific titles in mind, but perhaps a children's librarian, school counselor, or the blog "Books That Heal Kids" might have some suggestions.

    This has been an interesting discussion-- I hope things get better!
     

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