I got a new student about a week ago. Getting a new kid just when you have everything up and running is hard. He doesn’t have a Homework Folder, a Homework Journal, a Monday Journal, a Poetry Journal, a Writing Workshop Folder, a Book Baggie. He doesn’t understand how we do homework in our class. To which literacy center team am I going to assign him? And you know he has no idea how to do our centers. What is his ‘just right’ reading level? It’s always a pain.
Enhancing the situation, our new friend is clearly accustomed to being coddled and spoiled. He spent his first fifteen minutes in our classroom wailing like a banshee. I’m not a callous hard-ass. I get that it’s scary to be the new kid in a new place. It’s not uncommon for kids to take a little time to warm up. But wailing takes it to a whole new level.
After he calmed down, for his next magical trick he began to accuse other kids of being mean to him. Trouble is, he hadn’t been there long enough to choose kids who belong to the “Most Likely To Pick on Somebody” club so he fingered some long shots.
My personal favorite moment of his very first day was when he waved his paper at me during Writing Workshop.
“What’s wrong?” I asked Pampered & Spoiled.
“I scribbled on my paper,” he replied.
“Well, I guess your new piece has scribble on it,” I calmly commented.
He proceeded to come over to my small group table and whine about the scribble. That he’d put on his page.
Don’t you just love the $1 bins in the front of Target? I always find treasures there. There might be stickers, pencils, puzzles, little toys for the Treasure Box…all kinds of things. Once a few years ago, I found this sign. No whining. It pretty much says it all.
I said to the petit prince, “I don’t know where you were, but you’re in real school now. Do you see that sign?”
If one can whine while one nods, young sir did so.
“It says ‘No Whining’,” I informed him. “You are in an official ‘no whining’ zone. If you want to whine, you have to go somewhere else. That sign says so.”
Sir Pampered & Spoiled regarded me solemnly.
I sent him back to his seat with one parting thought: “I don’t make the law. I just enforce it.”