Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Children and control

Not mine this time. There's a little girl in my class whom I absolutely adore. She is ornery, rotten, stubborn, loving, a perfectionist, very smart - both street and book - and such a control freak! It's amazing she can survive given the sometimes chaotic and out of control life she has been given to live.

She has 6 brothers and sisters, she's the second to youngest and daddy is usally not around. Mom tries her best but with 7 kiddos ranging from high school to kindergarten, she definitely has her hands full. The elementary kids are usually running to the bus, coats half on, backpacks sometimes closed, breakfast half chewed and half in their hands and someone usually yelling and/or crying. Not a great start to a day.

So, then, we expect our kids to just pick up and start working on math?

This little girl's a remarkably resiliant child. She is usually able to come in with a smile on her face.

Then there are days like today. She kept trying to find control over something and ended up making a poor behavioral choice and getting written up on the bus.

And so the day begins. I know it's coming. She's hanging out in the hallway instead of coming into the room bossing her tablemate around. Face screwed into the most puckered up, frustrated, I've given up look. Our behavior coach has suggested finding something she can do that is instant gratification and control. So - guess who's room is next to mine? The preschool! My little mama is great with little kids! The teacher and I now have an agreement where on "those days" my little one can go and help her little ones!

I told my little mini-teacher this morning that becuase breakfast was just sooooo messy, Ms. Ware had requested a helper and of course the first person that came to mind was her! She almost instantly disolved her face and agreed to help. When I went to get her later when it was time to begin academics, she was beaming!

The preschool breakfast tables were spotless and she was like the pied piper with the smaller children following her around like she was amazing!

I'm hoping this works again. As much as I hope for something different for my little warrior, I know we will once again need to help her regain a sense of control in her most times chaotic life.

As long as it helps her stay in the classroom and learn all she can, I think we can accomodate a little bit of this. All my years teaching preschool, I know school's not just about the academics. It's about the whole child.

I believe my students are worth it.

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