Teacher described a child's difficult behavior and the parent's uncooperative reaction to the information that the child had some problems in school situations. The teacher questioned her role and style. The group then asked the teacher if she had made some attempt to contact the parents, use aide time, parents on field trips, tried behavior modification resources, suggested social group work. Does child have friends, how is the child at recess or physical education? It was asked if the teacher liked the child? Has she used a video as a means of self and child evaluation. The group then took some time to reflect on the situation and feel the frustration of the teacher. It is interesting to note that the teacher who had the child last year was in the group and could enhance and substantiate the behavior of student and parents.
A teacher in such a situation might feel frustrated because of the non-cooperation of child and parent. You might be frustrated because this student is taking up your energy and class energy. You are frustrated because the parents deny the extent of the behavior; and the child is taking away time from the other children; and the parents refuse any intervention. You must develop solid non-debatable facts about the student’s behavior. Make sure you have physical proof (grades, videotape, etc.), as well as verbal proof, (such as other teacher’s testimonies about the student) that you can show or give to the parents. You will have to FORCE the parents to see that the child is responsible for his actions and then develop further strategies. Try your best to keep your composure when talking with/about the child. You will get frustrated, but you don’t need to blame yourself for whatever happens. Reward the student for his positive accomplishments verbally or physically. I would use the video idea to keep track of all students and compare them to this kid. I would also get the paraprofessional involved with this kid. I think the video taping may be a good idea. Some computer ideas with him might work. These teachers have an extremely high level of efficacy and caring as well as professional skills. The teacher feels frustrated with that child cannot learn- is impeded in learning by the very parents who are to love, protect and educate him. In like manner those teachers cannot teach him ways in which he can learn best like trying to swim the crawl with one’s hands cuffed behind his back. Teacher in the life of a child ready to learn. Diversity. How are we are alike and different? A teacher in such a situation might be frustrated because: Can you get another person to be his unofficial shadow? Maybe a paraprofessional who isn't really needed in another area? She/he could volunteer in your room and simply spend a lot of time with any kid needing extra help, or not settling down. Your student wouldn’t really be singled out; he’ll single himself out. Does he sit still for stories? Are there ANY times other than computer when he’ll sit still? Can more be done with books, or straight storytelling, with help from a paraprofessional, to get him into an activity following? Can the whole class be put on a behavior program? Earning points as a class for 15 minutes of free choice time or prizes or a quiet snack party with story. Or maybe each student could earn stickers or fake $ to be used to buy things from a class store once a month? They could earn and lose $, stickers etc, and the whole class would be involved. Even though the teacher may be frustrated because of the energy drain on teacher and class, it would be good to use the video idea to keep track of the student and compare. I would get the paraprofessional involved with the student. There is non-support from parents due to their perceptions of the child’s behavior. A variety of intervention strategies have been tried and will continue to be tried. The teacher is extremely patient and is sincerely interested in the child’s welfare, not in the workload. I support the teacher on continuing to teach to the needs of all your children, making some special adaptations, documenting and having others observe. Explore resources to help the parents begin to see that the child needs some interventions.
Theories behind practice:
Be attentive to individual differences by designing a program for this child. Use technology for a bright hard-to-focus child. Teacher is extremely professional in her attitude and behavior toward the student. Collaborate with other staff members. Being frustrated with this situation is understandable and healthy to acknowledge. You need parent involvement and a paradigm shift in their perception and behavior toward their child.
Impact on others:
Many of the solutions are embedded in the hypothesis explanations and include: capitalize on his strengths with computer; make him a leader of small group activity with clear expectations; use the video to record his behavior and the groups; document and get others to observe and document behaviors in the room; use the paraprofessionals; use of school social worker; and use books and storytelling.
This was the first meeting of the group and we struggled with the process and the steps. It was not so difficult to generate issues and to select one but we wanted to move too quickly into solutions. It is difficult to draw on research to support the hypothesis and connect the resolutions to theory. I think we could use some modeling of this step.