What an extraordinary day! (Correct use of an exclamation mark – yay me!)
His lordship had an OK morning yesterday. He had a few little fizzles but nothing majorly explosive that required me to evacuate most of the class into the cloakroom for safety. He spent the morning with his 1:1 and managed to complete some maths before he had a slight moment, where following a simple instruction, was more than he could manage. He went for a short break after completing his reading test. Walking back into the classroom, he questioned what the children were doing. He plopped himself at his work station because we ignored him and carried on with our interactive learning. His 1:1 explained what he needed to do but he refused to do it. It was too hard for him. The interactive task timer ended and the children stopped to find out what their main task was for the lesson. He listened fairly well with only a few questions shouted out. The main task required the children to watch a fable on the board before writing. He raced to the front to watch the board closely, before they discussed in pairs how the characters were feeling. Soon, he was more than ready and willing to start his writing task, a thank you letter to the mouse for his brave rescue. At which point I had to sit down. He doesn’t enjoy writing. He’ll usually try anything and everything to get out of it, but yesterday, he had his pencil poised, ready to start. I couldn’t believe it until a member of staff arrived to escort him to his afternoon learning at a different location. His carriage awaited and he’d had a lucky escape. I, however, was cursing the moment that had just anialated the chances of me possibly, maybe, potentially getting a small amount of independent writing from him, written freely and without a battle to death of one of us. (Usually me.)
This morning has been even more unbelievable though. I don’t know who his mum dropped off at school this morning but it wasn’t him. No, this child was different. He has seemed calmer, happier, present and engaged all morning. He actually listened to me today. He followed instructions from all 3 adults in the room. He completed 4 worksheets in maths and glued his work into his book. By. Him. Self. ??? He went on the iPad as a reward for working so hard and when the time was up, he put the iPad away, without having to be asked, instructed, told, bribed or given an ultimatum. “Time’s up!” He announced, as he walked across the room.
After playtime, he came back into the classroom and wrote his letter from yesterday’s English lesson without even the slightest hesitation. When he’d finished and asked me what to do next, I offered him a short break and he said “yes, please.” – He used manners!!?? On his return, he looked around at what the other children were doing, asked me nicely for a paragraph to edit and went to his table independently. He corrected the spellings, punctuation and grammar, then started writing it out on his whiteboard in full with his corrections. I couldn’t believe my eyes until…
He wrote the first word and stopped. My heart sank. I thought, this is it. He doesn’t want to write, I’m going to have to bargain my entire house point collection or all 6 iPads for him to do this. “Can I add an adjective to the first sentence? It’s a bit boring isn’t it!?” Now my ears seemed to be failing me as well. I think I passed out for a few seconds. I definitely slumped onto the nearest table for support. I stammered a quick reply “Of course you can!” Whilst trying not to sound too shocked or too excited. He was doing extra work!! I put my hand out for a high five and he smacked it before returning to his table. The adults and I, in the room, looked at each other in utter disbelief all morning. Who was he? What had he done with his lordship? Was I dreaming or was it a trick?
I reminded myself it was too early for Halloween tricks or April fools, as he finished his edits and called me over to photograph his work on my iPad. Listening to my instructions on how to pack his learning away and be ready for topic, he completed each task sensibly, before he tidied his work station. What was happening? This wasn’t normal…
The children sat at their tables and recapped their learning from yesterday afternoon. A few children explained to him, what we had done whilst he was absent from our class. He listened to them and then read the LQ. “What?! I can’t do this. It’s too hard. I’ll be rubbish. I did it last year my learning mentor and it was too tricky.” He started to sound familiar to me again. This was the child that I remembered. I tried to remind him that his 1:1 would support him and help him if he got stuck. Originally, he wasn’t too keen on the idea of still having to do it. “You’re making me want to hurt myself again.” He told me. We all looked at each other and started to imagine the worst. His 1:1 gently guided him back to his work station and managed to calm him down, whilst I carried on teaching. Eventually, he did complete the task. (Granted with some difficulty, but with heavy encouragement and help now and then, he managed to weave his colours and create a Celtic woven pattern.) He was proud of his efforts and started helping other children.
Lunchtime rolled around and the children all went to lunch. I had survived another morning. All I had to do, was make it through the afternoon without him until home time. Expecting his Mum to be waiting for him after lunch, I got him ready. He sounded confused so I said I would check and see if he was staying the afternoon. We found out that mum was supposed to collect him, but she thought he was staying at school all day. For a change, I was almost happy for him to stay the afternoon, almost, but decided to stick to his new routine, as he might begin to flounder and then all hell could break loose. Whilst Mum was on her way, he completed another topic activity without a 1:1. He cut out his timeline tiles and ordered them with the class. He had just stuck his last tile down and was showing the other children what he noticed about the dates in the timeline, when the classroom phone rang to say his mum was here. I told him to get his coat so he could go home but he insisted on putting his scrap paper in the bin first… !?!
I managed to catch him right before he flew out the door. “Can we have this new you next week please?” I asked. “I’ll see if I can still find him.” He replied. God I blooming hope he does stick around. It would make my first working (teaching) birthday in my entire 6-7 year career go a lot smoother, if the new lordship does come back next week.
Wish me luck…I’m going to need as much of it as I can get.