L is a child that needs consistency. I’m sure most kids are, but I find it to be a lot more noticeable in him than in his brother. Disruptions of set routines or changes in the way things are done always upset him and cause negative changes in his mood and behaviors. Lately his attitude has been, frankly, shi**y.
Part of our weekly routine seems to have been changed to include Tuesday meetings with the principal. He has had arguments with classmates, children in other classes (both older and younger), his teacher and even the principal herself. He has refused to listen to any adult present (myself included) when he is asked to do something. He has yelled at others and even had some “hands on” incidents. Our school is hands off and this is strictly enforced…last week he was under threat of suspension, which would also have resulted in the school losing me for the time he was off.
L is a generally behaved child. Yes, he has anger management issues, but the outbursts are generally well spaced and confined to home. This has DEFINITELY not been the case lately. He has actually been mostly himself at home, his actions seem to start whenever there is something to do with school is involved.
Now, don’t worry, I’m sure your first thought is that he is being bullied. He’s not. His classmates are great, they usually irk him by trying to help. His point of view, especially when already agitated, has just been slightly skewed. Our school staff has been really good about getting to the bottom of these situations and helping him see the whole picture though.
So why the anger flare up? About two weeks ago his class changed teachers. L is in grade 3 and this is his eighth teacher. We did not move out of the school, he was not transferred from one class to another, he has not changed programs, yet he has had teacher changes EVERY YEAR.
In previous years, his teachers had changed due to their own growing families. Two of the years, his teacher had left for maternity leave and the other he started out the year with a temporary teacher until his “real” teacher returned from leave. This year, we (the parents) all anxiously watched our (newlywed) third grade teacher for a “baby bump” right up until February. A collective sigh of relief was felt when one didn’t appear. We were safe! We would make it this year!
Two weeks ago (today), the kids came out of school and announced that they didn’t have any homework. They had a substitute that day because their teacher was sick. L was fine with this, teachers are people, people get sick, Mme would be back soon. On Tuesday they had a substitute too. Then on Wednesday the kids told us they would probably keep their substitute until the end of the year, their teacher was REALLY sick.
We were all crestfallen. Not only did we lose our first hope at a year-long teacher, the reason was because she was seriously ill. While I wish her to get well soon, I am saddened by the lack of luck this group of kids has had.
L has accepted that he has a new teacher, in theory anyways. He realizes the grade 3 routine he is used to will change slightly. He knows that a different teacher will have slightly different expectations and a different way of doing things. He expects his new teacher to speak with different inflections and different tones. Intellectually recognizing these differences and emotionally accepting them are two different things though.
My hopes for tomorrow are that we don’t have to meet with the principal over L’s behavior issues, his start of term teacher begins to feel better, he starts to TRULY accept his new teacher, and that everyone has a happy, productive day. Am I hoping for a little too much?
No matter how dark the day, the sun is always shining somewhere!