Chief meerkat broke me today.

He was bubbling all day yesterday but managed to pull himself together before lunch, to avoid a detention. In the afternoon, he continued his reign of terror by messing around, disturbing other children and bossing them about. He had no idea what we were doing, yet seemed to have an undying urge to reveal his psychic inabilities, by telling children what they needed to do, before I’d even got to that stage of the instructions. 

We were making switches and testing them during a science lesson. He decided to tell children to get more batteries to see what happened. So I ended up with 6 children running backwards and forwards to try out different batteries. “We’re testing them to see which ones work,” he explained. So I followed him and found his table had seven batteries on it all lined up in a little row, ready to blow the bulb he was using. That was the nail on the head yesterday afternoon. I told him he needed to buck his ideas up today and even encouraged him by giving him a very important job to do, if he behaved.

All morning, he has carried on being disruptive. He talked during the register, even after I stopped twice to remind him to be quiet. He already knows why he needs to be quiet, he can explain very clearly why he can’t talk during the register, yet he still did it. 

He didn’t practise his spellings at home, this week, so his score was lower than it’s ever been before. In his defence, many children got low scores today. To say I was baffled by this, would be lying. I know why they didn’t do as well, because so many of them kept leaving their home spelling books on the tables at the end of the day. This evening, I made sure that every child had their home spelling book in their book bag, before they walked out of the door. Honestly, I can’t do that every week, it just took too long. Is it too much to ask 27, 7-8 year olds to remember to take their book from their tray, when I remind them 5 times every day at 3pm anyway?? I tell each table once. There’s five tables in the class. That’s 5x each evening. What more can I do? Physically put the book inside their book bag for them? How about I staple each child’s book to their forehead?

During English, he abandoned his group and started disrupting the other groups. He crawled underneath tables, threw pencils and pens across the room when I wasn’t looking. Neither my TA or I saw him physically throw pencils and pens, but many children reported it and they were getting rather annoyed by him too. He ended up with a detention by this point so I just added it to his list from yesterday. When I caught him crawling from underneath his table after a child in his group yelled his name, I’d reached my limit. I orange carded him and sent him to the phase leader. He came back, apologised, then as soon s she’d left the room, he started messing around again. 

In guided reading, he messed around and completed his independent task too quickly. He’d rushed it, and had scribbled his picture when colouring it in. He was rubbing out the whiteboard instructions for his group. He was generally annoying all 5 girls in his group. Which was, in turn, annoying me. As each girl took a turn to come and disturb me and my focus group, to tell me what what was (or wasn’t) doing. He went to detention, and then after lunch, he went to use the toilet. So much noise was coming from the boys toilets whilst I was doing the afternoon register, my TA went to check on the situation. She found him standing on the toilet itself, peering over the partition separating the cubicles. 

That was it. I broke. My patient, Mary Poppins demeanour crashed down like a tower of Jenga bricks. I sent him back to detention to explain himself to someone higher up. For once, this week, I managed to finish the register in a silent classroom. He came back with an a apology, a warning and a requested update after every lesson this afternoon. He was on a behaviour report for the rest of the day. He was given a detention for the entire lunch break tomorrow and I needed to have the awkward conversation with his mum after school. 

The meerkat broke me. He actually broke me and the class knew it. They all kept a very close eye on him, all afternoon. If he stepped even a millimetre out of line, they were on him like a tonne of Jenga bricks. It’s amazing to see how a class of children can recognise when the teacher has reached her limit, and rally together to back her up. Ultimately, my class of darlings, performed my behaviour management routines for me this afternoon. It made me realise that they do, truly, listen to me. Even when I think they haven’t, they’ve heard me repeat my cautions and encouragements so often, they can literally say them for me now. (Even with the sarcastic tone for the smarty pants I have.) Maybe I am doing a better job than I give myself credit for. Maybe my words don’t fall on deaf ears, like they appear to, most of the time. Maybe I can make it until July. Just maybe. 

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