People are walking into my room to support behavior or just support academics and they are turning to me and mouthing the words, “how do you do this every day?” These are professional people. Special ed licensed people. I look at them and say, “I just do.” Sometimes I tell them I have hope.
Today my ears are ringing with “Fuck you, you bitch!” And “Bitch, bitch, what? What are you going to do? You don’t control me, bitch, you’re not my mother!” These are 6 year olds and, no, you are right, I’m not your mother. I’m just trying to help you learn.
But my classroom quickly devolves into a …what is that show called? That fighting one in a cage…? Whatever it is, that is my life. I’m pulling kids off of one another. I’m trying to find the moments to sit with them at their level and talk them through what is going on with them while chaos reigns around us.
I sat with one student today in the calming area holding her back from springing up to fight. I told her I knew she didn’t want to hurt people. (She had thrown 2 chairs in the last 5 minutes before I got her into that area) I told her she needs to remember that adults can take care of things in the classroom. As I’m telling her I just want her to learn and have fun at school another student comes up behind us. I tell him to go back to his cubby and he mimics me. The student I am sitting with lunges towards him with new anger and venom in her eyes. I hold her back. I end up telling her I am a grown woman and not to worry, I can take care of myself. I tell her she needs to ignore all the behavior happening around her and stay on task so she can earn choice time and the point store. As I am saying this another student is standing on the shelves above us throwing papers down on us. I look her in the eye and say, “See, I’m ignoring all of that and I believe you can do it too.” And, after that pep talk she was able to maintain for…15 minutes or so. But it was the end of the day and all we had left was to walk to the bus.
I took the suggestion I received yesterday about giving the kids headphones to see if that decreased the verbal attacks that typically lead to physical attacks. Of course I remembered too late and so this happened…