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Pink Sugar

The Boy Under the Desk

When I was a new 4th grade teacher, I had a student who often refused to talk & would hide under his desk. He was a twin and was the quieter of the two. He lived with his older brother, mom and grandparents. They were late for school almost everyday. Seriously everyday. When they came late, he would come running into the room and go straight under his desk. I would greet him and from there I really didn't know how to handle him. I would talk quietly to him, give him work under his desk and let him be. When triggered, he would run out of the school, so my thought was that if he was quiet and doing something, all was good.

One day, the security guard came to get him because DCFS was waiting in the office for him. I wasn't surprised and it made me feel worse for this kid. The security guard told him to get up and he refused. The security guard told him again louder to get up and the student just stared off. I tried to go over and ask him to come out and I was met with the same behavior. The security guard became frustrated and told him he was going to count to 5 and then go under the desk and get him. I didn't think that was a good idea, but I was new so what did I know? He counted and got to 5 and the guard bent down and tried to get him out. The boy started screaming and kicking and his desk moved three other desks. I told the class to get up and walk to the library and they did so quietly. They seemed scared. I was because I felt like I had no control. It was the first time I realized that words matter, tone matters and relationships matter even more. This student was in complete survival brain and honestly, the fact he came to school at all was a win.

Lessons Learned:

  • When THOSE KIDS, who are OUR Kids come to school, it's a win.

  • The only control you have is how you respond.

  • If the student does work under his desk, so what. Let him.

  • Feel sad for, not mad at.

  • Do what you can to make EVERY day the BEST day for EVERY child.

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Oct 20, 2023
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Great reminder!!

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