I think we have all had that one kid...the one that drives us crazy but we just love to death in spite of it. I have one of those kids this year. This little boy has been a challenge since day one. His go-to response for anything is a physical response. If he thinks he has been wronged, he has been known to hit and kick as his immediate reaction. This comes from having two very physical older brothers. We've worked incredibly hard to show him other ways of handling anger and frustration.
I have worked really hard with him to let him know that I WANT to hear his side of things. He is so used to people immediately assuming the worst and jumping to a punishment, that it took some time to get him to trust me and know that I am not going to believe everyone else before hearing from him. Now he does. He and I have built a special relationship this year. He comes to me and asks me questions and holds onto my hand to receive a reassuring squeeze that yes, I am listening and I value what he has to say. I have given him an individual behavior plan to help him see his daily progress and his biggest goal is to get all smiley faces so that he can have lunch with me. Who would have thought that lunch with me would be his biggest motivator?
In recent weeks, I have even seen him start to finally put effort into his work. For the first time, he is taking pride in his writing and asked three or four times today when he would be able to share his writing. This is one of those cases where progress cannot be measured in reading levels or test scores. We have laid so much foundation this year it's going to be really hard to give him up to a second grade teacher next year. If anyone had told me in September that I would be saying that about this boy in particular, I would have said they were nuts. But he is just one of those kids who has wormed his way into a special place in my heart.