Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Deja Vu All Over Again

Ironically enough, this has nothing to do with the latest sci-fi show's obligatory Groundhog day episode (which, yes, I did watch...it was rather good at that).

In my first two years of teaching, I had an aide we shall call ME. ME was...well, to put it nicely, she was not the brightest candle in the inn. But she was well-meaning and generally nice, and a very good match with the student with whom she was paired.

Around spring break of my first year of teaching, I received two new students: a fourth grader named Girl C and a fifth grader named Boy T. Girl C, despite her emotional issues, was a very nice girl and I enjoyed her a lot. Boy T...well, Boy T just didn't understand why the rest of the world didn't understand that he was the boss.

It was not all Boy T's fault. Though he had, officially, borderline intelligence scores, he also had severe ADHD as well as seizures. He took medication for both, but the medications interacted such that neither was ever completely controlled.

Boy T wasn't a bad kid, mind you -- he was just bossy, impulsive, and whiny. God, could that kid whine.

ME hated him.

They butted heads constantly. It was always, "Well...I'll just see what Miss Spoowriter says about that!" Seriously.

Enter PH (Boy J). In many ways, PH reminds me of T. He's got the same sense of entitlement -- but where they're both entirely externally motivated, there was a big difference.

T thought that if he did good things or if you praised him you liked him; if he did bad things and if you scolded him, you were trying to "break [his] heart."

PH does good things so that good things will happen to him. He couldn't care less what people think of him, as near as I can tell. When bad things happen to him, they simply happen -- they have little or no correlation with his own actions -- again, as near as I can tell.

And, of course, there's the voice. There's just something about that wheedling, whiny voice they both have that just drives me up the frelling wall.

But, I am aware of the fact that I, sadly, just don't like PH that much, and am constantly on my guard to make sure that I am treating him fairly and not showing how I feel about him.

You may have guessed that, like with ME, this is not the case with one of my aides.

Now that things have settled into a sort of routine, with Aide T able to take some of the weight off my shoulders (I have, in fact, probably been relying on her too much, but it's been so nice to have Bulldozer and/or Superhero be someone else's problem for a while that I've enjoyed the chance to breathe), I am noticing some things that I was simply too swamped -- tsunamid, really -- to see.

Aide J does not like PH.

(Again, not that I blame her, but it's obvious.)

He was very, very bad yesterday and was one ticket short of principal's recess tomorrow. Today was his last chance to earn it (technically, I suppose tomorrow is, as I give tickets for homework too, but the day PH returns homework is the day Vulcans land and make first contact).

So, today, Aide J gets all up and down his case about everything. It was like she wanted to make sure he didn't get principal's recess. At one point, she was actively arguing with me over the fact that he should lose a card because he didn't use the prefix "Miss" for a teacher, because they'd Talked About It Yesterday.

Yesterday is a long time ago, I pointed out. That also assumes he (1) knows what "disrespectful" is, (2) was dropping the prefix specifically to be disrespectful, (3) remembered being told not to do so yesterday, and (4) decided that the best was to be disrespectful was to say "Aide B" instead of "Aide Mrs. B" or "Teacher C" instead of "Teacher Mrs. C."

'Cause, you know, a kid who thinks it's funny to yell "poopy head!" for an hour straight will be so amused by calling Mrs. Smith "Smith!"

Ironically, Patrick had a summer school teacher once who got all up in arms over the same thing -- except this was a severely delayed 7-year-old with a horrible stutter who had a vocabulary of maybe 20 words. The fact that he knew her name was "Butler" was a minor miracle in and of itself.

The moral of this story: pick your frelling battles, people. The kid made a ginormous mess yesterday and spent half an hour yelling obscentities (F you, s**t) and cackling in glee when M repeated them. Dropping the Mrs?



Amie said...

I think we should make this a universal rule...not just in your classroom!

SpooWriter said...

Yeah, probably, but for right now, I'd settle for just one day when I'm not looking at somebody and wondering, "What on Earth do you care about that for???"

Case in point. Superhero spits and licks for attention, but when he tapped Elastigirl on the shoulder to say hi (a drastic improvement from attempting to kiss and/or lick her) he got in trouble.

I suppose I should feel grateful that I no longer worry about missing children -- so these worries are small in comparison, but still....