Thursday, December 18, 2014

Meltdown


I was surprised to see John arrive for the computer animation class. I met him previously in various special ed classes, and this class seemed to me to be a little more advanced than that. Apparently I was wrong.

But, when John reacted to the rest of the class talking, I knew where it was coming from. They were distracting him, and he wanted it to be quiet.

I was kind of stuck. On the one hand, I understood John's frustration. But on the other, the rest of the class wasn't doing anything that they shouldn't. Sure, they probably didn't need to talk, but it was the sort of assignment where I usually permit the level of talking they were doing. In fact, they were quieter than what I would normally get in that situation. And more on task.

But it was too much for John. He finally lept out of his seat, pretended to flip a book shut, growled, and ran out of class.

If I hadn't met John before, I would have reacted completely differently. Because I knew him, I let him go.

A few minutes later I went to check on him. He was outside, fuming. (At least he took it outside rather than taking it out on a student. For that I applaud him.)

I let him vent at me. He told me of his frustrations with the class. I understood. Eventually he calmed enough to return to class.

It's an interesting situation. The class has excluded John, and he feels it. Which is too bad.

I, of course, left this incident in the note. Not for John to be punished. The teacher is probably already aware of the dynamic, but he should know about it anyway.

(The next day, the first thing John did on entering class was to apologize to everyone for his behavior the previous day.)

12 comments:

  1. That was nice of him to apologize. Sad the others exclude him. Does he bring it on himself?

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  2. It was nice of you to listen to John and understand him.

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    1. Thanks. I just wish I could do more.

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  3. Poor kid. School can be a tough environment for some kids to learn in (or just be in at all).

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  4. I'm so glad I read your blog--I write about students in a school environment and it's been so long since I was a kid, I forget what it was really like until I read stories like this one.

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    1. It's easy to forget. We have to block it all out...

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  5. That was good thinking on John's part to apologize the next day. I hope he gets included in the class sometime down the road.

    betty

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  6. It's good he came back and apologised. It would be nice if the others could be tolerant and accept him. I've had a few students with Autism who've had a low tolerance for noise. It's just too much stimulation for them. Good job the way you handled it Liz.

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    1. Yeah, I get how the noise might bother him. Which is why I totally understood his frustration.

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  7. I commend you for understanding and letting John vent. We all need to release our frustrations sometimes. That he returned the next day and apologized to the class, says a lot about him and about you as a teacher.

    VR Barkowski

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  8. I think you handled the situation perfectly, Liz. That is so sad that the other kids exclude John. It definitely shows the type of person he is by the sheer fact that he apologized the next day. I hope things get easier for him...

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    1. I do too. It's hard being the "weird" kid.

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