Last week, a student ended up in my office. He was having trouble controlling himself and was bothering other kids to the point that they couldn't learn. When I got him into my office, he was all over the place, barely able to sit still. We talked while he bounced. It didn't take long to find out the circumstances that brought on this behavior. For one, the adult he normally works with in the class was out. Plus, he had been brought to school late by a family member who didn't know his morning routine. Everything was off. It was now 9:00 in the morning. Normally, this child can be calmed by looking at some calming sticks I have in my office. These are tubes filled with colored liquid and glitter that slowly move when turned. Not this morning. They quickly turned to drumsticks and were taken away. It was now 9:15. I knew he liked to read, so we got some books out and I told him I had to finish what I was working on at my desk. He could sit in the chair or on the floor and read. That lasted all of 5 minutes. I then sat on the floor with him and we read together until he could no longer focus. Having an errand to run in the building, I took him with me and let him help me carry a few things back to my office. Deciding that I would likely get no work done, we sat at my desk and tested out apps I had recently downloaded. We would do them together and he would rate them for them. Most were not any good in his eyes because they weren't games. We did have some fun with Sock Puppets as I tried to get him to explain some things to me using his puppets. However, he could only focus for a short time. It was now 9:45. I had to make another quick trip to a class and saw a teacher waiting for an appointment. I asked her if she would sit with him for a minute. She agreed and I went into the building. When I returned 10 minutes later, they were sitting on the office floor making funny faces into an app. It was now close to 10:00. I knew that he would have some extra support arrive in his class at 10:30, so I made the decision to keep him until that time. We went back to my office, read some more, explored a few more apps, and then it was 10:20. I took him back to class.
Walking back to my office, I asked myself three questions:
1) Was that time good for the student? I would have to say yes. He got positive one-on-one time with an adult, wasn't getting into trouble in class, and did learn a bit in the process.
2) Was it good for the kids in his class? Again, I would have to say yes. They were able to work for over an hour with the teacher focusing on them and not on this one student and his constant movement.
3) Was it good for me? Yes and No. While I built a stronger relationship with this child, I had really needed to use this time to visit classes and finish an appraisal I was working on.
As a reflected on these three questions, I was reminded that, as an educator, I come to work each day to do what is best for kids, not necessarily what is comfortable for adults. Yes, I could have taken this child back to class but would that have been in his best interest? What about the best interest of his classmates? At the end of each day, I want to look back and be able to say that I have done what is best for kids, no matter how it affects me. That is why I come to work each day and why I am educator. It's not for my own well-being and comfort. I do what I do for children.