Saturday, May 3, 2014

Am I Smarter Than a 1st Grader?

In February I began working at an elementary school as an assistant to a teacher who is called a Behavior Coach. She works in a program called PASS which stands for Positive Association for Student Success. We work with kids who have behavior issues to redirect their behaviors in a positive way. I tell people that every day my job is to be on a peace keeping mission. :)  

Last week the teacher I work with was not there. She had planned for a sub but the job was not picked up by anyone so I was on my own. It's usually a big job for both of us and now with her gone and no sub to help it was an even bigger job for just me. The day actually didn't go too badly. I did have one student who had to come into the PASS room to just chill for a while and get their behavior under control. 

When a student comes in for a negative reason it is typical that they stay in an area on their own to regroup and then when that is accomplished we talk with them about the behaviors that made it necessary for them to be in the PASS room and how they can make different choices next time. During their settling down time you have to be able to see them but you also don't want to just sit there looking at them and giving them attention as that usually just prolongs their negative behavior. So, it is important to have something to do so that you don't need to look directly at them or interact with them but they know that you are still sitting right there waiting for them to get it together.

The day I was handling PASS by myself and had a student in the room I had to find something to busy myself. I was sitting at the teacher's desk and looked around at what I might be able to do, avoiding eye contact with the student. Nothing was obvious to me but the computer. I thought, "Oh I'll just pull something up on the computer to keep my attention." Keep in mind that I don't use Apple computers except occasionally at school so it isn't second nature to me like it is at home. I looked at the computer and wondered if the teacher had left it on so I moved the mouse to see if it would wake it up. 



Not wanting to interact with the student but wanting to look busy, I didn't want to disclose the fact that computer was off and I didn't know how to turn the thing on. Remember, I have no real experience with Apple computers and this one was an all-in-one model so there is only a monitor and a key board. I casually felt around to see if there was a button somewhere but I didn't find anything. I thought I would just begin typing on the keyboard to make it look like I was doing something. I began to type just like I would if the computer was on. I felt silly but I didn't want the student in the room to know that I really had nothing to do. 

As my finger flitted over the keyboard in pretended accomplishment, a voice from across the room said, 

"Do you want me to help you turn that on?"

It was the voice of the very student who I was trying to seem occupied for! I had all I could do to not laugh out loud at his question and mustered a, "Nope, I am good."  

"But it's not on. Do you want to me turn it on?" he asked. 


"No, it's okay," I replied, "I've got other things I can do." 

Are you wondering what grade this student is in? 1st grade!

BWHAHAHAHAHA!  Even funnier, I know!

Artwork compliments of my father when he was a child.


Melinda Zabriskie said...

Your story made me laugh, Loretta.
My first graders remind me all the time of things I've forgotten...thanks for sharing :)
Still laughing, Melinda

Dotti said...

That is a riot, you should have let the kid turn it on, it would have made his day to have helped someone, maybe? Anyway, cute story, and where on earth did that picture from your Dad come from, and it was kept all these years?? WOW!

Loretta Valenta said...

Dotti, several years ago my father had given me some things that his mother had saved for him and among those things were pictures he had drawn when he was very young. I scanned all the artwork so it could easily be accessed. :)