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The First Day All Over Again

As part of a child’s behavior modification plan, the student will be transferring to my classroom for the last quarter of the school year.  The student starts tomorrow.  Bringing a new student into the mix, especially, one with a history of behavior issues consistent with ADHD and Oppositional Defiant is going to be interesting.  But, I have to keep in mind that if I am nervous, the child must be feeling the same if not more uncertain about what it’s going to be like to be in a new class.

I’ve notified my class and we wrote her Welcome letters as part of our Writing unit on letter writing. I am going into this like it’s the first day of school.  We have to welcome this student, and I have to be clear about my expectations, management style, and what procedures are followed every day.  We will model appropriate and inappropriate behavior.  The goal is to get her on the same routine as the other kids and make her feel comfortable along the way.

I just hope and pray this doesn’t throw off my class dynamic and doesn’t undo all the progress I’ve made with my other children struggling with the same behaviorial issues. We’ve gotten into a good groove in my class.

Here’s to compassion, consistency, and patience.

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It’s interesting what works for one student in terms of behavior modification, doesn’t work for others.  It’s a balancing act.  I’ve tried several reward systems with my most challenging student.  First, it was getting a star for doing something good.  Well, that soon lost it’s impact because the student was oppositional and defiant ALL the time and when he didn’t get his stars, he would be embarrassed because the class would know about it.  Because I knew he got embarrassed easily and had low self-esteem academically, with the guidance of my social service network at school, I decided to reward the kids around him for modeling good behavior and ignore him for the bad behavior.  That worked for a short while.  But it wasn’t consistent due to absences, etc.  Then, I noticed how much he loves to help adults.  So, the Special Ed autistic classroom teacher agreed to support me in rewarding the student with time in her classroom to help her students.  My student loves this reward.  It was good for about a week and then my student just shut down this past Friday.  He was angry, and would be set off if someone touched him or even looked at him.  Unfortunately, he earned a suspension for acting out in school and won’t be in school tomorrow.  I’m thinking about him and hope that when he comes in on Tuesday, he realizes that I care and want to help him.

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My birthday was earlier this month and I got SHIT for my birthday.  Literally.  We’ve had the Poop Phantom visit our boy’s bathroom since November, leaving a piece behind in the urinal.  The fourth time was on my birthday and it was one of our first graders.  Fortunately, the Poop Phantom revealed himself quickly and honestly.  It’s a rather funny story, but not funny when you think about the reason this child defecated in a urinal.  If you know anything about child psychology and trauma, you may immediately associate this to some kind of acting out, or sexual abuse.  In this case, his cousin was found hung in a bathroom stall.  No wonder he doesn’t want to go into a stall!  Now, he goes to the bathroom supervised and, hopefully, the Poop Phantom will not strike again and the help that my student is getting for this trauma will allow him to not fear a bathroom stall.

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