J would not take out his notebook. He needed to finish his narrative writing. We had talked about what he needed to do last week in class. It didn’t get done. Today, he clearly did not want to tackle the problem so claimed again and again that he did not know what to do. “But J, please go get your notebook and I will talk to you about what you need to do. It’s not much, you already started the work; you already have a great idea.”
He did not get the notebook. He sat idle at his desk.
Finally, I got the notebook.
I reviewed the page we had discussed last week to remind him what needed to be done. Almost nothing, really. He had a few sentences to write, and this is a kid who can write.
He did nothing.
His name had already been moved to the “red zone” so he would have no recess. There was only a slight chance that he would do the writing at recess, but there was a chance.
He didn’t make it to recess.
He refused to go to the quiet table in lunch.
He refused to walk up to the office with the Vice Principal.
He refused to talk with his Mom when she came to pick him up.
I keep trying to figure out what I could have done differently. The biggest mistake I feel I made was asking him to sit at the Quiet Table at lunch. If I had not added that stipulation, he may have come around and been ready to work at recess.
It is a tricky balancing act to work with the emotions of a 9 year old. or, a 43 year old, for that matter. In the end, both J and I are human. Neither of us handled yesterday’s problems with perfection, but both of us handled them as best we could in the moment. And, being human, we can look at yesterday’s mistakes to improve today’s choices.
This is a slice of annoyances from life this week. Check here for happier slices from teacher writers around the country.