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Really Sick or Work avoidance?

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Really Sick or Work avoidance?
Old 06-17-2019, 05:23 PM
 
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I am teaching 1st grade for summer school. It is my first time being full time in 1st grade so I don't want to be too tough on the kids. On Friday, I had my class and the other 1st grade class (the other teacher decided to take the day off without notice). I had a total of 17 kids. Around 10:30, one on my students was crying and saying that her stomach was really hurting her. I told her to wait a little bit (we had just had snack) to see if she felt better. She continued to complain (holding stomach, saying she felt queasy, crying). We don't have a nurse for the summer so I sent her to the office, she comes back and said they told her that she was fine. After lunch, 4 more students started complaining of the same symptoms (3 of the 5 really looked like they didn't feel well). We have a nasty stomach bug going around. I took all 5 to the office and explained to the ap that they were all complaining and I wanted to make sure that they were okay. Three of the five went home. I disinfected everything after school on Friday. Today all of them were present. About 9:15 this morning, one of the 3 that was sent home started complaining again. I told her that she was okay. She continued to mention it at least every 5 minutes for the rest of the day. She looked peaked in my opinion but wasn't running a fever. She is very smart and is attending summer school due to attendance issues. I don't want her to miss school (she won't be able to be promoted due to missing too many minutes if she misses any more summer school). I don't want her to be sick at school and she does all of her work. What should I tell her if she complains constantly?


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Old 06-17-2019, 07:52 PM
 
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Quote:
she won't be able to be promoted due to missing too many minutes if she misses any more summer school
Is she aware of this? Even if she knows that's why she's in summer school, a first grader is probably going to need a pretty specific explanation for her to understand that she needs to be there every day in order to move on to 2nd. I would have a very frank discussion with her about it, and give reminders if necessary. If she's not motivated by just hearing she can't go to 2nd, I'd get really specific about what that means with her- all of her friends moving on without her, everyone knowing she was retained, having to do all the same stuff over again, being older than everyone in her class for the rest of her schooling, etc.

Another strategy you can try is just passing the buck- "I'm sorry you're not feeling well, but I'm not allowed to send anyone home during summer school because the day is already shorter. You'll be home soon anyway." Or, "Sorry, there is no nurse here to help. You'll have to just let your mom know when you get home."

Our health office almost never sends anyone home anyway, so I don't bother to send kids unless they actually throw up or something, or if it's a kid that NEVER complains usually.
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Old 06-18-2019, 05:23 AM
 
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Do you really think she is sick? It is sounding like you are not so sure.

I would have a place in the classroom she could rest. I would also have the discussion mentioned by a previous poster.

Make sure to have some "craft" or playtime. If she is sick during those times, then it could be real. Wondering about anxiety?

You are in a hard spot. Good luck.
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Old 06-18-2019, 05:31 AM
 
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Is she still complaining during recess, or free time? Or does she stop mentioning it until it's time to do work again? Unless they have a fever or are sleeping through recess, I gently deflect all complaints ("let your parents know when you get home").
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First graders are good actors.
Old 06-18-2019, 05:41 AM
 
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It's called the Domino Effect. One person says they have a stomach ache, and gets to go to the nurse, and all of a sudden, everybody is holding their stomachs and complaining. When someone in my class says their stomach hurts, I give them a trash can to put by their desk. Of course, I feel their foreheads to see if they feel feverish, but if they don't, they stay in the room. I tell them they can't go to the nurse unless they are throwing up, have a fever, or their hair's on fire. That leaves the decision making to me instead of them. For the child who complained every five minutes, I would have her call her mom and tell her she feels sick. Most likely, Mom will tell her to suck it up. She knows it won't do any good to keep on complaining,


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What do her parents say?
Old 06-18-2019, 09:33 AM
 
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Parents have been for the most part very honest when I ask them about their child's complaints. They will share whether their child complains about every little thing or if they are "troopers" They often share that their child will get physical pains when they are upset emotionally or anxious. This might help you decide.
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Sick Bay
Old 06-18-2019, 12:18 PM
 
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We have a part-time nurse and the secretary takes over when she's not at school. Both ladies are extremely popular with the kids. The trips to the nurse/office were getting out of control, so we made this plan in grades 1-2...

"If you need to see the nurse/secretary then you must be very sick/hurt. At recess (after lunch), you will sit in our shady sick bay area. It's not a punishment. We just wouldn't want you to re-injure your 'broken' foot or take a chance on upsetting your tummy and throwing up. We hope you feel better tomorrow so you can participate in recess."

Kids who are really sick usually get sent home or are happy to sit quietly outside and not run around. This has decreased our medical emergencies by quite a bit.
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