On Monday I blogged about discipline issues in kindergarten. Anne from Life Is Good left a comment about a child that injured my foot and asked me how children get that way. I gave that some thought the last two days. I tried to think of what, from my experience, causes a child to misbehave in school in a disruptive and at times dangerous way. Was the child I blogged about born angry or did that behavior develop over time? I am no mental health professional so I can only answer from a kindergarten teacher's perspective.
Some of the reasons I feel that children misbehave in school are due to:
- A lack of sleep: A sleepy child who hasn't had enough sleep can be cranky and irritable. I have had children come in and ask if they can take a nap first thing in the morning because a parent kept them out too late.
- Lack of parental involvement: The child I blogged about on Monday came from a foster home. It was not the first one he had been in. Children need consistency and stability. Many children with a learning disability have supportive nurturing parents to serve as an advocate. It is the child who has an absentee or disinterested parent who I found often developed behavior problems if they had a learning disability.
- Low self-esteem: The child mentioned above was covered with eczema. He did not feel good about himself.
- Coming to school hungry: I have had children misbehave because they were hungry and had not eaten since lunch the day before. It is very hard to concentrate when your stomach aches from hunger.
- High absenteeism: Children who miss a lot of days may often misbehave because they have gotten so far behind in their work.
- Inappropriate curriculum: I blogged about this before. Too often school systems try to turn children into little robots, squeezing them into a cookie cutter curriculum. As a leftie, I remember what it was like in first grade to be in a classroom where everything was designed for a right handed person. My first grade teacher, Mrs. Smiley, used to pull my ear if I did not write with my right hand. Imagine how a child feels when he or she is not getting the curriculum fit that is needed.
- Lack of a comprehensive evaluation: The bottom line is that kids like the one I blogged about on Monday need a comprehensive evaluation. Often, children come into Kindergarten never having been to a therapist if they need therapy or having diagnostic testing and data completed. You can't tackle severe problems successfully without a comprehensive evaluation and good data.
- Ineffective school administration or teaching: I guess it sound like the pot calling the kettle black but in all honesty, over the years, I attribute some of the blame to ineffective teaching or administration. I have blogged about it before and I will blog about it again. You can't fit children to the curriculum. You must fit the curriculum to children!
I haven't had a behavior problem in the three years I have been in my current school. When I was in the public schools, I did not have many children like the child I blogged about on Monday. Just one child with severe problems can wreak havoc until he or she gets therapy and an individual education plan.
For most children, I have found that if a child is interested in what he or she is learning, there will be a motivation and excitement to learn! My goal as a teacher is to ensure that no child gets left behind...for any reason! Do I always accomplish that goal? I give it my best effort!