Thursday, September 29, 2011

looking beyond behaviors

When I was doing preschool transition IEPs last spring the preschool teachers warned me that one little girl I'd be getting had a bit of a stubborn streak in her behavior. They said that she seemed cute and sweet but that she would use that to not be independent, avoid adult requests, and just generally ignore adults. They warned us that her developmental difficulties were from this behavior, and once her behavior was in check her academics would follow.

The speech language pathologist and I thought this seemed odd after meeting the girl because what we saw in her behavior did not line up with what the preschool teachers told us. Still, we'd only met her a few times and they were with her everyday- so what did we know? We promised ourselves that we'd keep an open mind when the year started.

She didn't come to our summer program so I was not able to get to know her at all before I left on maternity leave. My co-workers have kept me informed of what's been happening in my classroom and it turns out that her developmental difficulties were not from behavior at all, but in fact from a medical reason. The amazing team that is working in my classroom right now quickly figured out that something was very wrong- this was not a stubborn little girl just refusing to do her work. They asked the right questions, got the right people involved, brought her parents in, and soon had it sorted out. This was a little girl who could not hear- it had nothing to do with her ignoring her teachers just to avoid work. She literally could not hear what they were saying- she wasn't pretending to try to get out of work.

Every time someone tells me another piece of this story to update me on what is happening with her case I am so thankful for the team at school.  This little one was so lucky to have a strong team who looked past what seemed to be non-compliant behavior and instead asked what was wrong. Without their questions and concern she could have had yet another year of teachers becoming frustrated because they misinterpreted her behaviors as intentional. 

How often do we see the behaviors in the classroom as though the child has a vendetta against us personally? How often do we as teachers get lost in the frustrating surface behavior and forget to look beyond to the true cause? 

6 comments:

jwg said...

Please tell me that someone is bringing this to the attention of the preschool so they don't repeat the mistake and delay help for another child.

kate said...

I was just thinking about this today. I'm assisting with a class of 3 year olds, and the teachers are quick to ascribe negative motives, "misbehaving" " no limits at home" "disobeying" etc. when I think often what it is is that the child needs to be taught what is not acceptable and what s/he can do instead, rather than just assuming that s/he already knows and is just choosing not to do the right thing...

magpie said...

Just another string to the bow of a teacher's job description. One fine book about this, "The race." http://www.librarything.com/work/598044☺☺☺

Suzanne said...

Congratulations!
You and your blog are nominated for the The Versatile Blogger Award. Please share seven things about yourself and pass the award along to the most versatile blogs you follow. Follow the link below for all the details.

Thank you so much for sharing what you do! It doesn’t just take a village to raise a child-it also takes a village to teach one. Thanks for being part of my village. I appreciate your willingness to share your time and talents!

Sincerely,
Suzanne

http://guidedmathstudygroup.blogspot.com/2011/10/versatile-blogger-award.html

Suzanne said...

Congratulations!
You and your blog are nominated for the The Versatile Blogger Award. Please share seven things about yourself and pass the award along to the most versatile blogs you follow. Follow the link below for all the details.

Thank you so much for sharing what you do! It doesn’t just take a village to raise a child-it also takes a village to teach one. Thanks for being part of my village. I appreciate your willingness to share your time and talents!

Sincerely,
Suzanne

http://guidedmathstudygroup.blogspot.com/2011/10/versatile-blogger-award.html

Suzanne said...

Congratulations!
You and your blog are nominated for the The Versatile Blogger Award. Please share seven things about yourself and pass the award along to the most versatile blogs you follow. Follow the link below for all the details.

Thank you so much for sharing what you do! It doesn’t just take a village to raise a child-it also takes a village to teach one. Thanks for being part of my village. I appreciate your willingness to share your time and talents!

Sincerely,
Suzanne

http://guidedmathstudygroup.blogspot.com/2011/10/versatile-blogger-award.html

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