Wow! Was my class naughty today!
Not all of them, but a lot of them.
I had focusing issues and chatty issues and getting work done issues and niceness issues and anger issues. Yup, anger. And I teach third grade.
This year’s third graders have been one of “those classes” since Kindergarten. You know, the class people refer to with the whole eye roll thing,
“Oh, he’s in Kindergarten?” (insert eye roll) and, “You have lunch duty with the Kindergarten?” (yup, insert eye roll again).
I have some first hand knowledge regarding their reputation; I had them for lunch duty when they were in first grade. To keep them from messing with each other the whole period I taught one table of primarily boys finger puzzle games. This worked really well because it took them all year to figure out how to manipulate their fingers the way I was; they were so busy they forgot to poke and shove each other. But I kid you not when I tell you that some of the behavior issues I dealt with absolutely stopped me in my tracks. I had children making up stories to get other children in trouble; actually lying just to see what would happen. And I don’t think they really understood what was wrong with that behavior.
So this group is now in third grade. And they are still running rings around the adults in the building. They are just “one of those classes”. What causes it? Is it something in the water? Why is it that certain years we get large groups of really challenging children?
Fortunately, my class is quite bright. They are also very much on the young side. A lot of them have focusing issues. And then there is the elephant in the room; behavior. So my emphasis this year has been focused on getting them to recognize how their strengths (intelligent, funny, artistic, caring) are undermined by their weaknesses (anger, intolerance, impulsiveness, lack of focus). And what is pretty cool is that they get it. That is a testament to how smart they are. They actually understand how their behavior affects the learning in our room, but that hasn’t yet changed the fact that
they can be really naughty.
And today was one of those days. But tomorrow is another day and I begin each day with the highest of hopes! My cup is still half full!!!