“Don’t Pay Attention to the Attention Seeker” Thursday December 1, 2016

It’s as if my students knew that I was weak and wanted to take advantage of my illness-ridden state.

Tyrese was in rare form today but he didn’t hit the high notes until my mentor showed up to observe me.

Tyrese’s problem today was his new shoes. Apparently these shoes were too small and were given him problems. Which means all day he was taking off his shoes, then putting his shoes back on and complaining, then taking them off and playing with them.

tumblr_nys84me7F51v0fpvco1_250At one point he just starting kicking the floor with his feet saying, “I! Hate! These! Shoes!” I was tempted to take his shoes away from him completely. For the most part I chose to ignore him. Oh, every now and then I would redirect him by reminding him what he’s supposed to be doing and then taking points away from him on his clip chart for not doing what I asked, but most of the time I ignored him.

Then my mentor showed up (which I had forgotten about) to observe my classroom and provide feedback. Of course, on the day I’m sick and have my worst kid acting out. Once she arrived then Tyrese increased his negative behavior by just leaning back and making making noises with his mouth.

I had talked to my mentor about ignoring him so fortunately she followed my lead. But then Tyrese got up and left the room. He just walked right out, no, actually I’d say he strutted on out of the room. He made it very obvious that he wanted my attention so I continued to ignore him.

And now that he was purposely trying to get my attention it became a battle between his attention-seeking behavior and my powers of ignoring those behaviors. My counter move to him leaving the room was to immediately praise everyone who was working for doing a great job of ignoring distractions.

Tyrese saw this and then poked his head back into the classroom and made faces until he eventually got the attention of another student. The girl looked at Tyrese for a second, and then raised her hand to tell me that he was in the hallway, as if I wasn’t aware.

I ignored her question and asked her how her assignment was going. I kept on ignoring Tyrese because I knew the second I engaged him he would bolt down the hallway or do something to keep my attention. I also knew that I couldn’t acknowledge that he was in the hallway because I only want to acknowledge him when he’s doing something appropriate.

After the entire lesson goes by of him hanging on the outside of my door, Mrs. Baker walked by and saw what was happening.

Mrs. Baker: “Hi, Tyrese. What are you doing in the hallway?”

Tyrese: “I have to get a drink of water, but the Vanilla Bean won’t let me.”

(At some point over break I must have been given the nickname “Vanilla Bean”—this is the second time I’ve heard it used to refer to me)

Mrs. Baker: “You can’t earn your points if you’re not in your seat. Com’n, show me what you’re working on.”

Now, Mrs. Baker is the special education teacher who designed Tyrese’s behavioral plan. And doesn’t she realize that she just reinforced Tyrese by giving him attention and bribed him with points to get him to comply?!

His behavior didn’t improve after that. I did eventually let him get a drink of water and he had to be brought back by another teacher after 10 minutes because he was just wandering the hallways.

Needless to say, I’m not feeling much better.



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