Friday, November 07, 2008

Stream and Spaniel

Last term I had a horrible experience with a psycho student. She was surly. She was bitchy. She was uncooperative. She was irrational. She was hostile. She was volatile. I actually had her last year and she was pretty good for me, then deteriorated towards the end of the year. I got her back this year for Spanish 2. Yay! She walked in the door with an attitude. Her mother must have anticipated that her lovely daughters were going to be trouble, because she emailed all their teachers before school even started to let them all know we could call her if the girls caused them any problems at all. I called her the first day to let her know what was going on, then followed up the next week with an update on her behavior. This is how the conversation went:

Me: "I'm having some trouble with Stream. She's not participating, she's not bringing her book, she's putting her head down and disengaging herself from what's happening in class. When her behavior is corrected, she becomes extremely angry and rude and disrespectful."

Mom: "Oh, I know. I'm having the same problem with her at home. Just ignore her when she acts like that. (at this point, I can actually hear the girl screaming in the background..) Can you hear her? I know it doesn't excuse her behavior, but she is on meds for her ADHD. Sometimes she don't take them."

Me: "Well, I don't think I'll be able to ignore her behavior, but thank you for sharing that with me. It's helpful to know about my students."

Ok, so the girl was completely dysfunctional in the classroom, so ended up spending the class period elsewhere. Eventually, she got placed in an alternative setting.

Fast forward to this term.

I've got the sister, Spaniel, on my roster.

And she is hell on wheels. I've never seen a kid soooo angry from the get go. In 9 class periods, she's gotten an office referral 4 times. 3 of those times, she has walked out. Here are some reasons for her tantrums:

1. I calmly and politely- actually almost apologetically told her that students weren't allowed to eat in my classroom as she was eating a pkg. of Smarties. "WHAT?!!" I repeated what I had just said, at which point she told me I didn't need to get an attitude with her and walked out.

2. After waltzing in 5 minutes late (um, we have an 8 minute passing time and her previous class is on the same floor) with no pass, I asked her for one. She didn't have one and just expected to be allowed to come in late.

3. I didn't allow her to sit and not participate.

4. I took her phone and had one of the hall monitors take it upstairs to the Dean's office. "ARE YOU SERIOUS??!!" she asked me. "Uh, yes." "WELL, THEN I'M GOING UP THERE, TOO!" "Really?", I asked. "YES!". I shrugged. "Okay. See ya."

What the hell am I supposed to do with this girl? I don't even get angry with her. I'm actually quite fascinated by how much of a psycho freak she is. Like, what makes her fly off the handle at nothing? And why should anyone have to put up with her mouth? I shouldn't say I don't get angry, because I do get angry with the fact that I even entertain the thought that it's just easier to let her sleep and not participate, and walk in late, and eat candy, and use her damn phone and act like a royal bitch than it is to insist that she follow the rules and straighten up and act like a civilized human being. I also get angry with the fact that while she's being an asshole, there are 28 other students in the room (29 students in a Spanish class- very effective.) who are worth my time.


Blogger HappyChyck said...

Better just one psycho freak. I have a class this year that has a whole group of them. It's them against me in a war I don't even want to be in. The thing is with students like this--and doesn't it seem that it's mostly girls--you can't do much because they cannot be reasoned with because the rules just do not apply to them. Common sense doesn't even apply. How do you deal with PEOPLE like that? Ignore them or continually nail their asses to the wall. Either way, they ruin an otherwise perfectly-functioning classroom.

11/08/2008 6:04 AM  
Blogger Mrs. Chili said...

I know I'm probably going to make you laugh so hard that coffee comes out your nose, but do you have any support from the administration on this? Can you mandate the girl to in-school counseling?

11/08/2008 6:41 AM  
Blogger NYC Educator said...

It's very good that you don't get angry, or that you at least keep your anger to yourself. Nothing makes me angrier, or more upset with myself, than when I lose my temper with a kid. I actually did that the other day, but managed to hold it in.

As for this kid, it sounds like she does not belong with the rest of your students. I would definitely explore special ed, or alternative placement, or whatever they have in your neck of the woods.

You're absolutely right that 29 is too many. Here the limit is 34, which is the highest in the state, and with a kid like the one you describe, can be very tough.

11/08/2008 8:05 PM  
Blogger Sra. Profe said...

Because it's your classroom and not mine, I can roll my eyes (at the girl) and laugh.

I had a student like that last year - she could be perfectly fine and normal, but if you looked at her funny she wold explode. Then I got her again this year. We had a few altercations early in the year, but she's been fine so far.

I don't let them eat or use their phones in clas, but if they sleep in class, I let them. They're not worth my time - I know I shouldn't, but I'd rather spend my time focused on the other 25+ kids in my class (or 32+, in my level III classes).

11/26/2008 10:00 AM  

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