Principal Belstead decided to drop in on my class today during reading groups. When she walked in I had just completed modeling a Venn diagram on how to compare two similar stories and sent the class to independent work while I pulled the low group to practice reading Dr. Seuss.
That’s right, Dr. Seuss. Specifically Go, Dog, Go. Not a folktale. Not a fable. Just a book filled with one or two syllable words that follow a rhyming pattern.
It has nothing to do with my lesson plan. I’m making that group read it because I feel it’s the best way to make them read aloud. The activity is something I pulled off of the internet about opposites.
I was worried that Connie would see that I was going off script, but there was little chance of that since Tyrese decided to take the opportunity of another adult in the room by gaining more attention.
I had him read first and we worked on this same book yesterday. He got some of the words, but on others I would tell he wasn’t even looking the the letters, his eyes kept moving to the pictures and then he started to randomly guess the words. Very loudly.
So I told Tyrese to please use a quieter voice and to sound out the words that are on the page.
He grunted and sighed loudly again and then leaned so far back in his chair that he tipped it backwards and fell to the ground.
I’ll admit it was kinda funny. Like a car slowly falling off of a cliff. And I probably reinforced him by giggling.
But then he just laid there. I told him to come back to the table and he ignored me and chose to stay on the floor. So I moved on and had another person in the group read.
After a minute or two, I gave Tyrese the direction again. He didn’t move so I gave him a strike. This was strike two. He earned a strike during group instruction when he broke his pencil and then flicked the tip at the girl next to him.
At this point I’m feeling all hot and nervous because I’m being observed. And if Tyrese gets a third strike then he would have absolutely no motivation to come back to group.
Then Tyrese started to crawl away towards the door. I was about to strike him out when one of the resource teachers walked by. It looked like she was on her way to make copies. She saw Tyrese and engaged him.
I know she was trying to help, but engaging a student who is seeking attention is just like giving into a bratty child. This is not the proper way to get attention.
“Whatcha doing on the floor Tyrese? Why don’t you get up and show me what you’re going with Miss Sinclair, huh?”
“Uhhhhhh, it’s too hard.”
“How ’bout I help you. You can work with me in my office.”
What was I supposed to do? Tell the experienced teacher to back off. Let him flop on the floor. The direction was to come to the table. But, I just hand her the opposites worksheet and a photocopy of the book and Tyrese gets reinforced for being a total ass.
After that Connie leaves without saying anything and I get an email later with the subject: “Let’s talk after school about ways to make Tyrese successful in class”
When I met with her she said that I need to be reinforcing Tyrese more. She’s worried that I just wait until he’s misbehaving to use his clipboard. Fine, except he’s always being obnoxious. I couldn’t even reinforce him for how he walked to the group table because on the way he knocked the paper off of another kid’s desk.
So I’m very upset about it. I’m mad that the resource teacher pulled him because he got special attention and he got out of work.
He has too much power and I honestly don’t think there’s much I can do when I’m surrounded by people who want to reinforce kids constantly. How the hell are these kids ever going to do something when there isn’t an incentive or a reward at the end?