Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Maybe It's Just ME!

Have you been following my teacher stories? Well, I never intended for 'this' blog to be a teaching forum. That's what this place is for. However, I can't really express my feelings "over there". I must do so here! Copy?

Back to the title of this post..."Maybe It's Just Me". Something is going on in my classroom. It's BIG! Just when I thought I had Miss Cybil figured out, another child steps up to take her place. I have several students who are completely baffling me. Here are a couple of examples of the random behavior today in Room 6:

Cybil had a slight breakdown while we were practicing addition flashcards. She spent the ENTIRE time whining: "I HATE flashcards. Why can't I just put a 6 in my head and then put up five fingers and count them?" Five weeks ago, I would have gone to battle with that six year old. Now that I "understand" which buttons to push and which ones to lay off of, I knew that I needed to let her sit in her chair, crying, mumbling, and fuming. It worked. I left her alone for five minutes. As a result, I got a HUGE hug from her at the end of the day.

We made our March calendars today. We make one every month and put important dates
like SPRING and Day Light Savings Time change and (of course) birthdays. One student asked if we could put her dad's birthday on March 19th! We get a lot of that. The one that made me pretty much giggle myself silly was this one:

Miss A: Ummm...I think you forgot a birthday.
Me: (frantically checking over notes for the one I missed) No, I don't think I did.
Miss A: HELLO??? It's Justin Beiber's birthday, TODAY!
Me: Sorry, no!

I caught one little girl stealing...STEALING...my tickets! I use little tickets for my behavior management. They earn them and then have the chance to pick a prize at the end of the day if their tickets are picked. Each child usually earns 1-2 tickets per day and there are NEVER more than 5 per day (unless they bring a boxtop and then they get a ticket for each boxtop). I am not exaggerating when I say that this little girl had about 75!! I asked her about it and she denied, denied, denied.

Now, for the real kicker of a statement. This is what made me think that maybe, just maybe, it's MY fault and not the students' when things go down the toilet. I have a little male counterpart to balance my little Cybil. We'll call him "Chucky".

So, Chucky came to school mad. From the second he walked in, I could tell that things weren't going so well. I can always tell by the color under a child's eyes. His color looked awful and I immediately began to worry. During the first hour. Children work independently while I work with small Reading groups. Chucky used to be quite the pill but, of late, has been awesome. Today was different. He started running around the room and throwing paper all over. I made him come and sit by me to "cool down". I also had him write in his journal.
I got a lot of shrugs, fist waving, eye-rolling (not as good as Cybil's), and "GOSH!!!" es. I just tried to ignore the behavior. He finally switched over to his learning/nice boy self. However, when he wrote "i hate my lif. i am not hapi" it pretty much melted my heart.
On with the day. I thought he had hit the bottom for the day but he hadn't. He got right in one of my girl's face and screamed "GIRLS SUCK!!" and acted like he was going to punch her. I kept him behind while the rest went to music. Chucky started sobbing. I sat with him and tried to get to the bottom of it all.

Me: Chucky, I care about you and love you but you can not continue behaving like you have been today. Wah...Wah...Wahhhh (cue Charlie Brown's teacher voice) I can't allow it. (mind you, I was being very, very stern so read that last part with the right expression)

Chucky: I don't care. I don't want you to be my teacher any more. I want to have Miss Bush (my current student teacher from BYU) be my teacher. You're mean!

Me: I'm sorry you feel that way. I'd just like to know what happened. You came into the classroom this morning all ready to learn and to have fun with your friends and then you started misbehaving.

Chucky: Ya, but then YOU showed up!!

I swear he said that to me!

Well, we chatted a while longer and ended with a big hug. Turns out, his home life isn't stellar right now, even worse than usual (I'll post his story another time) and his entire mood changed. We got back to the classroom and I put him to work handing out papers and cleaning the floor. His whole countenance changed. He was a little ball of oozing love.

It worries me that a little first grader can change so suddenly from one second to the next. I am stunned by these children. They are quick to forgive. They just want to be loved. I can do that. Also, I was reminded of my new goal...to speak softer and be a little more gentle with these six year old feelings.

I love these little human beans!
(misspelling IS intentional)


Rachel said...

Yie yie yie!! You have way more patience than me which is why you are the teacher and not me.

It is hard though when things aren't so fabulous at home and these kids are so young and little and yet, it will affect them for the rest of their lives!!

You're doing a fantastic job. They are acting out because they know they are in a safe environment to do so. It may be the only place they can safely purge their feelings and frustrations right now. Because they know they are loved and safe.

Everyone should have a room full of punching bags and a place for throwing glass that automatically cleans itself up. Gosh I love the sound of breaking glass on days when I am frustrated! :D

emlizalmo said...

The thing is...they CAN switch moods so fast. I'm convinced it's because they don't WANT to be mean and grouchy. They WANT to be happy. Bless you for being kind and patient and talking them through it.

Tami Anderson said...

I can always count on you two to buoy me up when I'm at the end of my long, long rope. I do love those little dolls. Today I asked them, "Who do you think decided on what to call a foot or an inch?"

My little Cybil raised her hand (one of those rare times!) and said "Heavenly Father?"

I love those moments!

Teachinfourth said...

You're doing the right thing by sticking to your guns, T! I'll really benefit from that in another 3 years...

Jackie Stuver said...

Please tell me it wasn't my lovely child that stole the tickets??? Just so you know she comes home raving about how much she loves you every day! You are an amazing teacher, I could never do your job.

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