So, today I hadn't planned on coming in for observations today because I had a top 75 breakfast with all three schools, but I am glad I did! I had such an interesting day working with two students who have some obvious issues, one who's in Mrs. Hart's classroom and the other has consistent home troubles, so I worked with them to make sure they were focused on their work. They did well and achieved success in most of their work, but one of my other students, who is constantly whining and is being tested for underlying behavior issues asked me for help. So, I sat with her and worked with her on an opinion piece on why she preferred flip flops to tennis shoes, but she didn't know why she liked it better, so for the reason part of the paragraph she refused to do it. She started whining and laying down in her chair, refusing to look at me in the face. Mrs. Sutliff asked me to video tape the incident and she refused to listen to me, and refused to behave like a normal student. It was so sad to see her crumpled up this way and so distressed without anyone to give her the extra support that she obviously needs to succeed. So, Mrs. Sutliff asked me if I wanted to stay because an employee from central office was coming to evaluate this girl for to determine if she needed extra help. And from the way she was acting today, it was very evident that this evaluator needed to see what was going on and needed to do something. While this girl continued to whine, Mrs. Sutliff had me walk away and get snacks for everyone and while I was doing this, this girl got out her DEAR book and began to read, but Mrs. Sutliff quickly took it away from her, saying that if she didn't finish the opinion writing piece, then she doesn't get to read her DEAR book. And, that's when everything changed, she was frustrated and upset crying loudly, and it was awful. But, after I had called everyone and the last few people got in line for snacks, this girl thought that she deserved a snack even though she hadn't finished her work, and she started crying like crazy, sitting down and whining in her arms. It was very sad. Mrs. Sutliff called her over and she sat on the floor, until Mrs. Sutliff allowed her to go get a drink and freshen up. When she returned, she was just as distraught, as she began crawling around on the floor and wandering, but because the evaluator was supposed to come in, Mrs. Sutliff let her wander so that way the evaluator could visualize the problems this child was having. But, the evaluator never came, and this girl crawled over to a book shelf and read a magic school bus book even though she should've been researching an animal. This girl sat in the corner and read her book and didn't receive any punishment. So, I know that Mrs. Sutliff was waiting for the evaluator, but I wonder how we could've given her punishment to show that she still needs help. Hopefully, the evaluator can visit the classroom another time to demonstrate her lack of focus on the classroom, and this evaluator can get her the extra help, because what I see in this girl is what I see in the students in Mrs. Hart's class. Although the evaluator didn't come in, I had the opportunity to learn so much about working with students with behavior problems.
Goodbye to days of research projects and telling time. Goodbye to big hugs and giggles. Goodbye to children's books and pajama days. Goodbye to Mrs. Sutliff's class. For now. I may have to say goodbye to my first real class, where I spent hours with these students, but I am not leaving the world of education. My world is going to revolve around research projects and telling time. My life will be full of pajama days and big hugs, and for that I can't wait. I can't wait to be a teacher. Because it was my last day, I brought brownies and bubbles for all the students and a gift card for Mrs. Sutliff and they were so grateful! It was so nice to give them a little treat because they certainly deserve it for being such a great class! But, what was even sweeter was that my class got me a little present too! They made me a huge card with all of their best wishes on it, and they also got me a wind chime. How sweet! It's for my own classroom, and it makes me want to go home and play teacher, and I cannot wait until I have my own classroom where I can ring the wind chime to get my students' attention!! Then, the students gave me something more special than any gift or card, they gave me a wishing rock, where each of the students held the pebble and made a wish for me. I got wishes ranging from "I hope you like your roommate" to "I hope you come back and teach at Britton!" (While we were thinking about that we realized that they would be in 8th grade during my first year of teaching and I can't even imagine these kids all grown up like that! But, I know they will do great things!)
After the adorable celebration, we went back to work, and Mrs. Sutliff showed the students how to write a post card to a character in one of the books! I really like the idea of making a post card because it involves letter format, writing and drawing (on the back) all in one! It was such a cute idea, and I think it would be very fun if we could have some teachers who would write back! How fun! But, that would be a great idea to use in my classroom! Then, the students transitioned into actually writing the post cards, well, all except the student that is currently being evaluated. This girl was simply reading a book not actually accomplishing the activity, so Mrs. Sutliff asked me to push her buttons to get a bigger reaction. Now, when I say "push her buttons" I really only mean to make her write and to actually do her work. But, that gets a reaction, so by the time the evaluator showed up it represented how asking her to do work resulted in disaster. This girl was crumpled up in her chair, refusing to talk to anyone. But, it was time for specials, so I got up to give hugs to the rest of the class that was going to specials. When this girl saw me up there, she ran up and gave me a huge hug! That was what got a response from her, and I was so happy that I was the one who could help her even if it was just a small thing, but it made a difference to her. And, that's why I want to teach. But, then we sat down and started to work on some of our feelings using the movie inside out. Like I had done in Mrs. Hart's class before, we talked about the different zones that the characters of inside out used. At first, she wouldn't talk, and she would write down her answers to her questions on paper, but eventually that transformed to her actually talking. So that when the evaluator asked her questions she answered with rambling answers that significantly drifted from the topic. She talked about gymnastics and how she was sad when she didn't get to move up to the next level, but she also brought up how she often becomes over focused on a project she may not supposed to be focused on. For example, she shared that when she is watching T.V. at home she can get so focused on the show that she doesn't realize that she has to go to the bathroom and she has accidents. At school, Mrs. Sutliff has a timer for her to remind her that she needs to go to the bathroom. To me, that shows that there is a very serious problem that needs to be addressed in this situation, whether it be physical, mental or both. A lot of times this girl pointed to the word depressed, worried and confused while talking about school and her life. And to me, that seems like she has a major anxiety disorder and she's so nervous about not being able to do something correctly that she doesn't do it at all. And, it's a coping mechanism for her to deal with it, but the more she acts like that the more depressed she becomes because she is constantly nagged by teachers and other students see her as a baby. I would not be surprised if there is a sliver of autism in her too, and maybe even OCD. Whatever it is, I am hoping she can get the help she deserves. For a long time, her parents didn't believe that she had anything wrong with her, no matter how much Mrs. Sutliff tried. But, when Mrs. Sutliff told her that this girl doesn't have any friends, that's when everything changed and she started to get the help that she deserves. So, in a way I get to be part of a difference in this girl's life. And, that's why I want to be a teacher, and for that she will be one of the most impactful students I know throughout my teaching career.