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A Very Challenging Student

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Tiamat Tiamat is offline
 
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Tiamat
 
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A Very Challenging Student
Old 08-17-2018, 02:40 PM
 
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I teach Year 3/4 in an Australian rural school, so we are halfway through the year. I have a little boy in my class (he turns 9 this coming Tuesday) who is a handful in many ways.

1. Movement. He can't sit still. He will wrap himself in his jumper (sensory?) and then roll around on the floor in a "cocoon" until somebody rescues him. I don't do that any more and he can extricate himself quickly when the attention is removed.
2. Noise. He calls out. He calls out random stuff (everybody will be working quietly and suddenly "macaroni and cheese!" or "Peppa Pig is ugly!") or makes random squealing or clicking noises.
3. Defiance. "H, we're inside, please take your beanie off." "It's not a beanie, it's a hat." "Please take your hat off" "It's not a hat, it's a head covering". School rule is no hats, beanies, headcoverings, or anything else in the classroom, so when I enforced the rule yesterday I got "Fine! You always get your stinking way!" I've also heard "I hope you die."
4. Rudeness. Aside from the last incident, he is very rude to all adults in his environment (should hear him talk to his mother!) including the Principal. This isn't just his way with me; it's everyone.

What I've tried:

1. Weighted lap cover. Won't use it.
2. Normal consequences. Mean nothing to him. He does the consequence and doesn't modify his behaviour. I only continue with this because of classroom expectations.
3. One on one relationship building time or quiet talks about how his actions affect others. He outright says he doesn't care about other people. If I ask him to stop something in the moment, the best I get is "maaaybe" or a flat "No. I want to".
4. Removal from the room. He sits in the Kindy room or the Principal's office happily and returns unchanged.
5. More challenging work. He's pretty bright and gets through the classwork easily when he's in the mood. He refuses to do anything extra, or anything different from the rest of the class.
6. Setting up a separate reward deal just for him. Nope. Non-cooperative. Told me he was going to see how quickly he could ruin it.

At this point, I don't know if I'm looking at some sort of disorder, or naughty entitled little boy, or a combination thereof.

My teacher's diagnosis (worth what you paid for it) is revolving around autism, ODD and even Tourette's. Mum is very resistant to any sort of diagnosis for her Precious and, as we live remotely, getting one would involve some major effort on both our and the family's part. Not going to happen without their support. To be clear: I haven't suggested any diagnosis to her (not allowed to) but the Principal has recommended assessment on several occasions with a definite "no" as the answer.

The rest of the class is completely fed up with him (and they've had 3 1/2 years of him, I've only had six months) and he has only one friend. His one remaining friend is my little rule-follower, and H is driving him crazy by not following the rules. I'm trying to get them to ignore as much as possible but, when it comes down to it, they're 8 and 9 years old. I find him irritating at 59; it isn't reasonable to expect them to effectively ignore everything.

Staffroom (6 people; very small school) is also stumped. the ones that have had him are sympathetic but out of ideas, the ones that haven't are dreading the prospect.

Does anyone have any clues on working with this kid? He is a spoiling influence in my otherwise great room.


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Support?
Old 08-19-2018, 05:27 AM
 
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It seems like you have tried a lot to help this kid. What does your principal or the head of the school say? I always find that when the student starts getting suspended or called in to a lot of meeting THEN they are willing to have the kid tested. It is sad that you have to inconvenience the parent enough to encourage them to get help for their own child but it seems like this goes beyond the norm.

We also have parents who can deny testing or not sign off on special education paperwork. Really, the only way that things change is when the school won't deal with the behavior of the student or the parents ignoring it. It is not fair that you and the other students have to try to ignore this kid. It might escalate as the year goes on

If you get no support, I would put the kid outside in the hallway or near the door where you can see him but he's not as disruptive. Not sure if you can do that or not but you have already put up with so much.
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I feel for you
Old 08-20-2018, 10:51 AM
 
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I also teach 3rd grade (8-9 years old). I had a student a few years ago that reminds me of yours. My student exhibited similar behaviors... however, this was when he was “off his meds” or during a very challenging period of time when his doctor was adjusting his dosages.

You’ve really done everything that I would do. The best thing that helped me during the challenging time was going back to the relationship that had been built. The last 2-3 months of our school year was really rough due to the medication situation.

It’s tough, I really feel for you - I’ve been in your shoes. That time period was simply to survive everyday.
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Tiamat Tiamat is offline
 
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Old 08-20-2018, 01:39 PM
 
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Sigh ... I wish I could get this one on meds. Maybe it would help?

Today is his birthday and he is always worse when things are out of routine or exciting. Today should be fun.

Or not.

The Principal is supportive in that he will take the kid for half an hour to give the rest of us a break (Kindy teacher is good that way, too) but has told me not to approach the mother about this "as she has enough on her plate". He is a lovely man, but pretty much controlled by the parents (who are mostly reasonable).

Putting him outside the room is a non-starter. Outside my room is the playground (no corridor or anything) with nothing but a low wire fence between him and a thousand acres of grape vines and orange orchards. We'd never see him again; he does try to run when he's crossed.

I guess it's time to start countdown. 15 more weeks. Although in a school this small, it's quite possible I'll get him again next year.
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