He is also very bright.
J is in my reading group every morning and every afternoon. I have been working with him and his father to help get his behavior under control so he can focus on learning.
Yesterday, out of nowhere, he leaped into my arms, nearly knocking me down and exclaiming, "Ms. Hertz, I love you!" To which I replied with a smile, "If you loved me, you wouldn't try to knock me down!"
Today, he got angry. He kicked the lunch basket, which I quietly told him to fix. Which he did. He got angry at the computer and walked up to me, stamping his feet and yelling, to which I calmly replied, "Please stop stamping your feet and change your tone of voice. You're yelling. That tone of voice will not make people listen to you." After a few times of repeating this, he finally calmed down. "The stupid computer won't work," he said. "Well, I can help you with it, but how do you tell me that you need help?" "Put my flag up?" "Yes." He walked quietly over to his computer, put his flag up and sat down. (I have laminated tags that attach to the computers with velcro.) I went over and helped him and he continued to work quietly.
Later, while I was working with a student sitting next to J, he began yelling in the same tone of voice as before. I shot him a look. He put his hand over his mouth and responded, "Sorry Ms. Hertz, I'll never use that tone of voice again." I gave him a high five.
I could have yelled at him when he kicked the basket. I could have yelled and reprimanded him when he was stamping his feet.
This would not have helped.
As I ran on the treadmill at the gym later in the evening, it came to me. J needs patience. He needs someone who will care about him and work with him despite his flaws. Maybe I won't teach him higher order thinking skills or reading strategies (though he already has a very inquisitive mind), but I can give him patience. Right now, that's what he needs. And love.