This Kiddo Is Driving Me Batty-Long

Discussion in 'General Education' started by DressageLady, Sep 27, 2014.

  1. DressageLady

    DressageLady Comrade

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    Sep 27, 2014

    Okay, I need help. Back story: I am a first year teacher who came to education later in life. I have years of professional experience in children's mental health (working with SED and juvenile justice children living in residential treatment).

    I was in the building setting up for a few weeks before school started. Although I was unable to meet up with my grade level partners before teachers were called back to work, I was able to get comfortable in the building and meet several of the other teachers in other grades (including the other two teachers new to the school). Everywhere I went I kept hearing about how challenging this group of first graders was. Even the P commented on how much they struggled with dividing this group up into the four different classrooms, since there were so many kiddos presenting issues. We had our first grade level PD half day last week and the P commented that she lost sleep the night before thinking about having all four of us out of our rooms at the same time.

    Within three weeks of school starting I had IEP meetings for two of my most pressing kiddos ( one a non-verbal boy with an Autism diagnoses who just started RR pull outs four days a week and the other a sweet girl who appears to have some intellectual delays). Plus I have a parent who is a SPED teacher in another district who is convinced her daughter as an unspecified learning disability, which is not supported by the data collected or by my experience with her daughter in the classroom. All of this means that it has been a challenge for a first year teacher such as myself. One of the kinder teachers told me that last year's K students were the lowest performing, most difficult to work with that she had ever seen in 23 years of teaching kindergarten.

    Which brings me to my problem child. He was held back in K to allow him more time to mature. Home life is very disrupted (lives with Mom, Mom's eighteen year old boy-friend and student's grandparents). Older brother use to live with them, but brother moved in with Dad over the summer. I have never seen or spoken to Dad and have no contact information for him. My student comes to school and tells me about the police coming to his apartment the night before because his Mom and his Grandma got into a fight. He actually said, "And little kids shouldn't have to see stuff like that"- which sure sounds like something the police would say to the "adults" who engaged in the behavior.

    Student is VERY disruptive in class. He is off task 85-90% of the time. He sings, hums, makes random noises. At first I thought he was unaware of what he was doing. But then I started to notice that while he would sing (for instance), he would be watching me out of the corner of his eye as if watching for my reaction. He does not react well to redirection. At all. Prompting for more appropriate behavior causes him to dig in and up the ante by getting louder.

    He is often not in his seat. He wanders through the room, swinging between desks. Kicking chairs as he walks along. Sometimes he will reach out and sweep work off classmate's desks. Sometimes he walks along the white board and will idly erase with his hand what I have written there. If I redirect him back to his work, he will throw himself down on the ground and start to crawl under desks and chairs. And all the while, he is watching me. He is physical with his classmates. Always with his hands on them while we are in line. His implusivity is through the roof.

    Yesterday was a real struggle with him. He kicked a classmate in the groin while in line in the hallway. he must have known that he had crossed the line, because he immediately started to say he was sorry and then he started to try to kick himself in the groin, saying he was "making up for it". At the end of the day he refused to get ready for the bus and even though I was on bus duty outside, I ended up needing to pack his back pack for him. I open up the back pack and there are some things from my desk he had taken. Nothing big: a plastic piece from a printer a kiddo had found in the hallway and brought to me and the last few post-it notes from a pack. But regardless, he stole them.

    I already had to call his Mom because of the kick. I don't like dealing with Mom because she always spends more time telling me how she isn't the type of parent that will "put up" with bad behavior from her children (older son who lives with Dad was diagnosed with Oppositional Defiant Disorder). Homework is never ever turned in, but there are always a thousand excuses for why. You get the picture. I called her and had the typical conversation with her.

    I went to the school counselor with my concerns when this student told me about the police and the fight between his Mom and Grandma. Nothing came of that conversation past the counselor telling me it sounded like a rough home and maybe a behavior contract would be helpful. One of my grade level partners is on the RTI team, and I went to her and asked how does this school start the process for a student to be looked at by the team. She said to start collecting data on him, documenting his behavior. Which I have done. I make a note of everything:
    8:35 a.m.-student is singing about beer, refuses to redirect and will only say, "Why do I need to stop? I LIKE BEER"
    8:48 a.m.- student under his desk, kicking his chair leg
    9:05 a.m. - student running into wall, falling down and then getting up and doing it again.

    My day looks like the above. And his behavior is having an impact on instruction because I spend so much of my time dealing with his disruptions. When I ignore it, he escalates. He goes from making fart noises at his desk to walking up to a classmate and making fart noises in their face. I am not the only teacher who struggles with this guy. But the specials teachers don't have him for the majority of the day, every day.

    In addition to all of the above, he won't keep his hands off me. And it is beginning to creep me out. These are little kids and I get that their hands wander. No big deal, I just reposition them and never make an issue of it. But this kiddo is different. The intent feels different to me. And specific. I have gotten to the point where I don't like him. And that bothers me almost as much as his disruptive behavior bothers me.

    The informal behavior contract I put together did not work very well. He pulls it together for brief periods when he wants something, but if he doesn't get an immediate reward all the time, for everything ("Look, teacher! I picked up my pencil! I want..."), his behavior deteriorates almost immediately.

    Any words of wisdom for me? I love this school, and I want to stay here. I just feel that I have hit a wall with him and nothing is working. His behavior is reflecting poorly on me and I worry about being non-renewed because of it.
    Sheilah
     
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  3. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    Sep 27, 2014

    No suggestions from me, just sympathies. This is behavior that I would not tolerate. Which is soooo easy to say when I teach children 10 years older than you.

    I do know that as a parent I would be furious to know that a student was causing such a distraction in my child's classroom. I would scream and pitch major fits until something was done so that MY child received the education that she deserves. So...maybe you can start inviting some involved parents into the classroom and get them to volunteer? In my district the concerns of a single parent hold so much more weight than that of the professional leading the class. @@
     
  4. princessbloom

    princessbloom Comrade

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    Sep 27, 2014

    This is a great idea. There is a point when you hope other parents will complain because sometimes admin listens to parents more than teachers. (Not always, but I've known it to be true.)

    Also, it sounds like there's suspicious activity going on at home. If he's hitting himself in the groin thinking that is punishment then it makes me wonder what punishment he receives at home.
     
  5. DressageLady

    DressageLady Comrade

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    Sep 27, 2014

    This guy's home life stinks. No doubt about it. And I am sure that much of his behavior is stress related. I alerted the school counselor to my concerns and had hopes that we could start to really take a look at what he needs in order to have even a little success in the classroom. But the truth is that this child has not been a priority in the building because there was a huge crisis with another first grade student in another class that was acting out in such a way that he required a 1:1 adult every second of the day. Which had every available resource directed at him. The counselor was the go to guy for this and has been basically unavailable for anything else. I thought I had hit the lottery when I was able to get the counselor to spend five minutes with my student discussing the violence at home.

    It is my understanding that the other first grade student has been pulled by the district, and won't be back after yesterday. If that is the case I am hoping that I can utilize the child study team for my guy, now that they aren't so wrapped up in dealing with the other student.

    Thank you for the input! I feel so lost with this one right now. Nothing I have tried has worked for any length of time. It helps just to hear from other teachers!
    Sheilah
     
  6. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    Sep 27, 2014

    Just in case you aren't aware, most states (if not all, I don't know) require teachers themselves report suspicious activities at home. You do not have to go through the counselor or administration. If you suspect there is neglect or abuse, you MUST report it to CPS yourself. Immediately.
     
  7. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

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    Sep 27, 2014

    :thumb: With your suspicions and documentation, a call to CPS truly is in order, both legally and morally. You are the first line of defense for this child.
     
  8. Leatherette

    Leatherette Comrade

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    Sep 28, 2014

    He sounds like kids I have worked with who have attachment disorders. It is very hard to get under control. Does your school have a child study team (or something like that with another name)? You are not solely responsible for this child's success, and you should not have to worry about losing your job over this. Ask for help, take suggestions, and document all of the behaviors (ask a school psych or sped teacher if you are not sure of the best way to do this).

    Best wishes to you and your student.

    Find out the school's protocol for CPS referrals. You can make the call yourself, but you could also do it with someone present who is more experienced, like your principal or counselor/psychologist.
     
  9. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Sep 28, 2014

    It's this student's sexualized contact (kicking the student, touching you) that raises the majority of my concerns. Talk with your administration about this in particular.
     
  10. DressageLady

    DressageLady Comrade

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    Sep 28, 2014

    I have already brought him to the attention of the child study team and I was told to document his behavior in the classroom. I brought my concerns to the school counselor, and he spoke with the student and then came back and told me it sounded like the police had dealt with the situation and that I should put the kiddo on an informal behavior contract to address my concerns with his disruptive behavior in my room.

    I have no problem at all with making a report to CPS, and have a great deal of experience doing so from my previous professional life. There are so many red flags with his behavior and some of the things he says. To be honest, I was surprised that the counselor wasn't more concerned.
    Sheilah
     
  11. bros

    bros Phenom

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    Sep 29, 2014

    They probably don't want to be the one to make the call.

    You need to make the call. There's too many red flags.
     
  12. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Sep 29, 2014

    Idaho mandated reporting:
    http://www.211.idaho.gov/elibrary/childabuse.html

    From what you've said here: inappropriate touching, beer comments, fighting in home to point of police intervention, I'd say you've got enough concern for a phone call to CPS.
     

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