Monday, April 4, 2016

Brighter Days

There is a little girl in second grade who sometimes lashes out or just shuts down when she doesn't get her way. The kids at my school are given free breakfast everyday so while she was eating her breakfast the teacher noticed she was also eating other food that was intended for snack later in the day. She went over to her and asked her to put the extra food away for snack later and she flipped out. She clutched the food to her chest and said someone on the bus told her she could eat it for breakfast. (She said a name but I don't know if she was referring to an adult or a child or even an imaginary friend who knows??). Anyway the teacher had to move on to teaching the class. We ignored this student for a while, then she sat under a table nibbling the food and still clutching it. I tried to intervene to no avail. I later tried again. I've been working on the way that I address negative behavior and instead of getting angry and making threats to send them to the principal or the AP or lunch detention or whatever, I'm trying to turn a negative into a positive (I've been doing yoga). So I got down to her level and in a calm quiet voice I asked her to tell me what she was upset about. She repeated the story about someone on the bus telling her she could eat the food for breakfast. I reminded her that 'whoever' may have said that but at school her teacher is in charge and she had the choice to either throw her food away or put it away for snack. I reminded her that she could show me that she is ready for third grade and be a leader and make a better decision. She stayed stubborn for about another minute but then got up and let me help her clean up her snack and throw away her breakfast garbage. The main reason I'm telling this story is because later she held her hand out to me and I didn't know what she was doing. She said "It's a high five" I said ok and high fived her then she said "It's to thank you for helping me." My heart filled up with pride and joy in her and myself. For a child to let someone help them when they're upset and then acknowledge them for helping them overcome that challenge? That's a huge accomplishment for her as a person and me as a teacher.

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