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The Story of the Petulant Child and the Bee
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Old 07-26-2019, 01:54 PM
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Default The Story of the Petulant Child and the Bee

I teach remedial reading at a middle school level. There are a lot of challenges that present simply due to that sentence. One of the biggest is that students may start to avoid schoolwork that involves reading by performing bad behavior.

D was the epitome of this. When I talked to the Speech Language Pathologist, I was told "he can't read, but he's too disruptive for me to pull often." I felt bad for D, like I wasn't doing enough for him. I had been promised an extensive curriculum that had an online component, and that curriculum should have been at his level (or, at least, should have easily been scaled down to him.) I did not get that curriculum until December. It's November. I'd differentiated (changed the material or the presentation of it) for his entire class as much as I could, but that didn't stop the entire concept of my class from being triggering to him.

D kept interrupting the story to insult me. Hair, clothes, shoes, whatever. I ignored him. I could theoretically kick him out, but he'd just wander around, and that's what he wants. After a while of this, D gets up and goes to the windows. I tell him a few times to step away, but keep focused on the rest of the class.

I didn't even think about what came next. This class happens after lunch. Because children freak out over flying, stinging insects, I had killed multiple bees (maybe paper wasps) before class. The easiest method was to wait until they tried to escape via window and kill them. So they're on the windowsill. Where D is standing.

D cries out, yelps. I don't really remember this part.

The students exclaim "He got stung by a bee!"

Another adds "She told you not to mess with the windows."

Me: D, come over here. I've got some tweezers and we'll get that stinger out. No, I know it hurts but you gotta stay still.

Another student comes up. I get the stinger out and am about to send him to the office when that student insists he needs a band-aid for protection from infection.

Me: D, do you want a bandaid?

He nods, so he gets one.

Me: Alright, I'm going to send you to the office to get some ice. That's going to help with the pain.

From that moment on, D was fine with me. I suppose because I could have chosen to compound his humiliation, but just took care of him instead.

D sort of gets a happy ending. D had a problem with fighting. I knew this (he'd tried in class before.) But after this incident he didn't get into a fight for two weeks.

But one morning he was called down to the office before school even started. He'd hit a girl in the face and broken her glasses. He was in the office for a very long time--he actually escaped to come to my class!--and ended up getting a two-month suspension for it.

I didn't hear anything for about two months. Then he shows up at my door again. He looks more relaxed. (His body language was always wound up, angry.) He looks clean-cut, is wearing a nice jacket. He explains he's going to [other middle school which also has the program he was promised at the beginning of the year, which is set up now.]

I sent an email to their scheduler saying "Hey, D was in my [class], I know you have one there, he should be in that one too." He didn't get scheduled in this year, but apparently wasn't getting into fights and getting suspended all the time anymore. I talked with someone in-person to make sure he gets put in the program next year.

Last edited by Cooper; 07-26-2019 at 01:57 PM.
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  #2  
Old 07-26-2019, 04:13 PM
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I'm sure you did everything you could and possibly more than others were willing to. At the end of the day, D is an individual who has to decide for himself if he is willing overcome his own challenges.
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Old 07-26-2019, 04:42 PM
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Quote:
Quoth TheWolfEmperor View Post
I'm sure you did everything you could and possibly more than others were willing to. At the end of the day, D is an individual who has to decide for himself if he is willing overcome his own challenges.
Yes, and it paid off. It was frustrating that he got pulled from the school just as he and I had a breakthrough, but I'm not a miracle worker. I pulled off like, three of them, but not this.

D has a major, major anger issue. The teachers never really saw it aimed at us, he was smarter than that. But I knew he got into fights a lot, and one time a student showed me a video of him attacking another student. D got up from behind, leapt onto said student, and clung to the student's back before pummeling him.

D needs therapy, badly, is my point.

I don't feel guilty for how things went down, and count him as a success. I did what I could and he seems to have moved forward.

Last edited by Cooper; 07-26-2019 at 04:45 PM.
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Old 07-26-2019, 05:25 PM
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Heh. I had real anger issues in primary school. Like, first grade primary school. Probably because my parents' marriage was falling apart, and there was lots of anger at home.

I did go to therapy, though I didn't really have a clue what it was. Just some adult I talked to one-on-one. He tried to redirect me into other activities; I remember a "collect the shortest pencil" game at one point.

Unfortunately I wound up supressing the anger instead of dealing with it, and it later turned into clinical depression. Which makes life "fun" in all kinds of ways, lemme tell ya...
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Old 08-02-2019, 06:32 AM
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My father spent a few years teaching English in high schools in the midwest right after college. (He left one school for a better job at another one, then left that to work the Linen Department at Marshall Field's because that paid better, then got an offer to be an Associate Professor which paid better still.)

So there is this one kid in his class who ... his family was comparatively powerful, and it seemed for years teachers had been passing him rather than deal with the consequences of not passing him. Dad decides to take him on as a special project.
So when everybody is supposed to be writing a book report on A Tale Of Two Cities (or whatever), Dad helps this guy find a book that is at his reading level and has him write a report on that.
The opening sentence of that book report became a shorthand between my parents to describe a student so far out of their depth it was sad.
The book had been about a dog named Lady, and the report began, "Lady, she dog."
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