The biggest problems I've had with him are defiance, work avoidance, disrespectful attitude toward authority, and very heated temper tantrums when he is corrected or disciplined. When Space Cadet is corrected, he starts shouting things like, "It's not fair!" or "You ALWAYS get me in trouble" or "They don't let you do ANYTHING at this school!" Never mind that he was talking instead of working, or sliding across the floor on his knees, or pushing kids in the coat closet. It's always my fault, not his. Sometimes these tantrums are accompanied by crying fits, during which his face turns bright red and he screams and pounds his fists on the nearest surface. Twice he had nosebleeds during a tantrum. That was a real hoot.
Yesterday he decided to lose his hearing. It was math time, and I had asked all the students to take out their books. He was, as usual, the only one not doing what I asked.
"Space Cadet, take out your math book," I said, trying to be patient.
(Continues coloring/drawing/staring into space.)
"What?" he answers.
"TAKE OUT YOUR MATH BOOK!"
He stared at me. "Geez, you don't have to yell at me!" he said.
And that went on all day.
This morning I was at my desk, finishing attendance and lunch count, and sending kids to the rug to get ready for literacy centers. I heard Space Cadet chattering away to his on-again, off-again buddy. I let it go for a minute, but then their discussion started to get heated. I gave a general verbal warning first: "Okay, ladies and gentlemen... this isn't the time to talk." He continued with the conversation.
I stepped it up a notch. "Space Cadet - that's enough."
SC: "I have to tell Buddy something."
Me: "No you don't."
SC: "Yes I do!" Continues talking to his buddy.
Me: "Space Cadet! This is NOT the time to talk!"
SC: "I just gotta tell him something! Man, you're ALWAYS interrupting me!"
Wait a second... how exactly did this become my fault?
I just want to know when it became the norm for 7-year-olds to speak to adults like they were their peers. Not only speak to them, but argue with them and contradict their authority. It's frustrating. And it's so very, very difficult not to stoop right down to their level and argue back. (This year I've come to realize the value in taking a deep breath and counting to ten before speaking...)
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