I know for sure that many teachers are now struggling with at least one wild child, a child whose behavior is disruptive and annoying and perplexing. They had hoped by now to have wrestled, coaxed, or shaped this nuisance into compliance. They are now also aware of the complexity involved: perhaps a chaotic home life, serious learning challenges, habitual defiance, and more. To make matters worse, these wild kids are hardly ever absent, because no one wants them at home, either. And when they are absent? The classroom breathes a collective sigh of relief.
WHAT TO DO?
- Remember that you are not in control of ANY child. You only control your reactions. Do what you can to manage your fear, because walking on eggshells is not going to improve anything. Breathe….
- Use videotaping to capture everything. Look for ways that you can once again modify the environment and your responses.
- Get help. Recruit volunteers. Ask for a mentor. Get specialists involved.
MOST OF ALL:
- Love this child. No, you’re not the parent and you’re not paid and you’re not hopeful and you’re sick of the whole thing. But love this child.
- Find ways to spend quality time with the student. I did a lot of after school volunteering with my hardest kiddos. I also attending sporting events, made myself at home with the unwilling family, helped them financially, etc. Make so many home visits that everyone thinks you live there. Take goodies, cool teaching stuff. It’s worth the investment.
When the wild child becomes jealous of your attention in the classroom, you’ll know you have their heart. And when you smile from your heart as the wild child walks in the door each day, that kiddo knows you love them. Love trumps all.