This one is going to shorter and less dramatic than the last hopefully…
We got a new student! So far she won’t speak, only taps me, knows how to figure out which group of objects has “more” and is stubborn as all get out. Today was a big moment for me. I knew my class was special in the beginning of the year when everyone else was complaining at our Management Leadership Team meetings about tantrums, chair throwing, rolling around on the carpet, etc while I just sat in my chair thinking how awesome it was that my kids let me get through a lesson. AND they raise their hands. Well, the beauty of my situation has worn off as I’ve become more comfortable with them. As I mentioned before, I feel frustrated a lot and I don’t know if I’m being too nit-picky. They’ve also become more comfortable, so I find myself repeating directions, rules and moving clips more often. Today was a wake-up call though.
What I thought of as initial shyness by the new student turned into a strong sense of fear when I asked her, toward the end of the day, to come down to the carpet and she flatly refused. I mean, my kids were nervous the first few days, but they followed directions. We also had a new student join the class about 2 months ago. She also quickly got into our routine, and, at the very least, followed transitions from carpet to table. Not so with the newest one. When I took her hand to take her to the carpet she gave me the “stiff as a board” act. Later, when my aide made her come to the carpet she started screaming and crying. I think the most telling part of this was that I wasn’t even the least shocked person in the room… the other students were. They have NEVER acted anywhere near that. They just stared. And, in my eyes, they seemed so old and wise. It definitely made me look at my class in new eyes. They are so smart! They have never given me half the trouble the new student amounted to in the first day.
My concern now is getting her behavior on track. She seems to know a lot already, which is great since it won’t be a hurdle. But I don’t want her behavior to turn into an obstacle, or, even more frightening, to be a distraction or provocation for the rest of the class. I’m hoping that it’s just the first few days. If not, I’m going to be calling my fellow TFAers.
Another quick moment of pride (and something they don’t test for but definitely shows my students’ growth): they are giving compliments like “I like how you share in centers” and “I like that you take care of the toys in centers” and “I like how you walked to your seat.” These are AMAZING considering they didn’t know what a compliment was coming into class. We pick a kid of the day each day (as part of the PATHS to Pax behavior program my school has adopted) and then compliment them at the end. It’s a great opportunity for lessons on being nice (and I should actually take more advantage of this time). The compliments had to be modeled first, and then they were the typical “I like your shirt” (we all wear the same yellow shirts as part of our uniform). But they think about it now. And they notice each other’s actions. And they understand complimenting someone on something they do well or are supposed to do well, rather than the superficial. I’m so proud.
To end: yesterday I heard two girls humming Beyonce’s Single Ladies. I assume it’s because it was a part of the new chipmunks movie that EVERYONE is obsessed with. Well, I asked if that was what they were singing and they looked afraid, like I caught them drawing on the table or something. So, to fix it, I started singing a few lines (mostly just the “All the single ladies” part) and they flipped. Soon half the class was listening and clapping. At least some of my work gets applause?