Thursday, December 5, 2013

What do you do?

I cannot believe it is finally late Thursday afternoon. With all the things going on here at school, home, shopping, etc. I have lost track of time. I had a "What Works Wednesday" post ready to go, but after my day yesterday, I didn't get it posted. I will set it to post next Wednesday instead.

With the holidays, we all get busy and things get stressful. Every year I have a student or two that struggles with the coming holidays. Often it is that money doesn't go very far, and they are looking at a bleak Christmas. Sometimes students are anxious over the prospect of being home for two weeks, or out of a routine.

This year's challenge came from a little one that has lots of baggage she carries with her. School isn't easy, and the parents struggle to help with homework. Yesterday, the last straw, a failing grade on an assignment, broke her. She had a royal fit. I didn't engage her in battle, which surprised her. The outburst and other fallout caused my girls to cry. The boys withdrew. Everyone, including me was shaken by the incident. We had to cancel math, because it really wasn't a priority. (Thank goodness they could run, and scream, and work out frustrations in physical education.) We went to read with our kinder buddies, and finished our day with a walk with our Walking Classroom podcast, my kids favorite stress reliever, by the way.

It spite of all I did, several students were "sick" as they left. Surely, stress was the cause. I didn't even touch school work, or my ipad last night. A rare occurrence indeed! We started this morning with a class meeting. The child returned, calm and ready to learn.

Today was uneventful. Tomorrow is a payday, jeans and sneakers day! Yippee!

My question is, "How do you handle those situations, when a child (Fifth Grader for me) throws themselves into a major temper tantrum, spewing hate and anger?"

Do you keep plodding along with the curriculum, or do you stop, regroup, and find a soothing alternative?

1 comment:

  1. Hi Marcia,
    What a tough situation! It's always hard to know what to do and it's easy to second-guess ourselves with our kids. Each kid is different, and sometimes even with the same kid, the anger and frustration is different. Depending on the kid, I encourage them to take a walk down to the water fountain to cool off and to come back when they think they're able to handle it. Sometimes I just stop and say to the other kids, "how do you think we can help ____?" They often have good ideas, but the hurting kid also needs to be receptive to it, and they aren't always.
    So I guess I don't have any easy answers except to say that for some kids, you're the most consistent person in their lives, and the thought of two weeks without your structure, your compassion, your smile, well that's just too hard to bear. These are the tough moments in teaching! I think having a class meeting the next morning did a lot to affirm your classroom community and I'm glad that child was able to join you.


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