Words of Wisdom

Youth is wasted on the young.

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

A Play and Some Flaming Sword in the Classroom

That last post took two sittings to finish and, re-reading it, you can tell. But I've decided not to be too hard on myself re the quality of my writing but instead to just get stuff down.

So far I haven't been doing too well :-)

The follow-up to the plate smashing episode was seeing the Year12's actual performance last week. The play was entitled 'The Nerd' and it was a hoot. The main character was brilliantly played by a lad I had taught way back when he was in year 5. In those days he was a quiet and conscientious boy with a nervous laugh and an air of insecurity. On Tuesday night he was a fully fledged clown with multiple 'voices' and not a shred of self consciousness to be seen! He wasn't the only surprise. The son of our PE teacher had been a little more lively in his primary school days but known more for his musicianship than anything else. He strode onto the stage as a 6 foot tall 'business man' who 'hadn't laughed since 1974'. He was hysterical. I still smile thinking about it. Sadly, the two girls still hadn't really got the plate scene working, although I could see where they'd incorporated things we'd done into their performance. Oh well, the boys more than made up for them.

ETBED boy has been giving us hell again, of late.  The Friday before last saw him removed from his classroom, by the Head of School, and deposited in my care. He proceeded to try and trash the place although, compared to Slugger last year, he is really a bit of a light weight.

Firstly, he turfed all the furniture out of the doll's house and proceeded to throw it over the wall into my office where I was sitting, trying to ignore him. Seeing that this wasn't working, I came out and tried to engage him, to no avail. He overturned a chair and moved on to the whiteboard full of magnetic letters. Scraping them off in handfuls, he scooped them up and began hurling them at the wall. My good humour and professionalism was beginning to wear off. I grabbed both his hands and held them in his lap.
"You will NOT throw things around my room, I don't care how angry you are!" I seethed at him.
"What gives you the right to come in here and throw my things around? I don't care what you do with your own things, but you are NOT going to throw mine around. And if I have to sit here for the rest of the afternoon holding your hands...SO BE IT! It's going to be a pretty boring afternoon!!!!"
We eyeballed each other for a few moments and I let him go. He belted over to the opposite side of the room and picked up a rubber ball (don't ask me why we have these sorts of things lying around the room, it's a pretty multi-purpose room) and stood there holding it and looking at me. I decided to switch tack and spoke nonchalantly to another teacher in the room who was quietly trying to do some marking and ignore the ruckus. He walked past us with the ball and began to deliberately bounce it.
"I don't mind if you hold the ball, it's good for squeezing, but please don't bounce it in the classroom," I said, in what was a pretty good rendition of a calm voice. He immediately bounced it all the more. As he saw me get up and come towards him, he flung himself over the ball and curled up so that it was trapped underneath him. Fortunately he is Extremely Tiny, so it was no problem for me to flip him over like a turtle and wrench the ball from out of his grasp. He glared at me in fury and lashed out with his foot. I side stepped and in a mammoth show of self restraint, just stopped myself from kicking him back. "Don't test me," I spat at him," I will always win." And I strode away to secure the ball elsewhere. Something clicked within him and he rolled over, located a toy on a low shelf and began to play quietly with it. He did this happily for the next 20 minutes.
"By the way folks," I announced, rather breathlessly, to the other teacher and SSO present, "that was not how the text book tells you to do it!" They grinned.

By the time his mother arrived, he had cleared up the mess he'd made, with only one prompt, and was standing next to me at a table, completing his maths worksheet. He leaned into me as we read the words and glued them under the appropriate shape pictures. We were friends again.

Last week he had a relatively good week and I was only called down to the classroom once. We're all praying it can be sustained this week. His teacher is in a better 'place' with him and I'm hoping we don't need to repeat the power struggle of a week ago.

Keep us in your prayers if that's your thing :-)


Anonymous said...

those kind of situations are always difficult. sometimes I think I should go into teaching, but then I wonder just how I'd react in that sort of enviroment if a child started acting up like that.

Arizaphale said...

It's always a tricky call and we sometimes get it wrong but....when you have a win and see them 'turn it around'...it's very rewarding.

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