Laura's last blog, the one just below, reminded me of an ongoing tough time I am having with a boy in my fifth grade class. I am glad she wrote that blog. It has me reflecting on all that has transpired lately concerning the boy, and I want to share it with you.
Last year I took this boy into my fourth grade class from another teacher's class on his mother's premise that he needed a male teacher because his father had recently died. I'm not so sure that the boy needed a father figure as much as he needed reassurance from his mother that all would be well, but, hey, she obviously had her mind made up so the school administration abided by her strong wishes. All seemed to go well last year.
As my readers may know, I "looped" with this class, which means I am teaching the same group of students who are now fifth graders. This year started off reasonably well, but by September I saw a tendency on this boy's part to argue with me. By October he started displaying anger towards his classmates. His arguing and anger increased, so I called his mother. I tried on several occasions to talk to her on the phone, but she was always asleep and did not return my calls. Alarm bells went off inside my head, and sure enough, he came to school a week later and informed me that his mother was going into rehab for a month. I asked him why, and he told me it was for drinking. I asked him who he would be staying with, and he replied that he would be living with his aunt and uncle until his mother's return.
Then, three days later, all hell broke loose. He was arguing with me relentlessly, almost suicidally. Worst of all, he was losing his friends. If he had been given a BB gun, I am sure he would have tried to shoot both eyes out.
I promptly sent him to the principal for a strong conversation, and to our wonderful school counselor for emotional healing. Moving the problem up to the administration and to a professional counselor raised the stakes, and I saw immediate results.
I am hoping and praying for this boy. I am also doing all that I can to help him, including but not limited to avoiding confrontation. That may mean sidestepping a desire on his part to "rumble" with his teacher. I'll also hope that his mother's rehabilitation includes the ability to let him be a little boy rather than a spousal substitute, which I felt at times may have been taking place.
I could go into all kinds of heavy duty, professional reflection, and thought provoking gobbledy-gook about this boy, but to tell you the truth, I am not sure I know what in the hell is going on. I find myself mystified and amazed at human beings. I don't consider myself an expert on them, and I am one, for cryin' out loud.
I know that progress reports (report cards) are coming up, yet this boy's grades are of little importance in his life compared to other priorities at this time.