...twenty four conferences and a fabulous Thanksgiving dinner shared with our friends the Kornowskes. This year I fixed a Moroccan inspired turkey that was roasted with a cilantro/lemon/paprika sauce that kept it moist and gave it a little tang. I also riced the potatoes into a crock pot along with some cream cheese and that freed up the stove top and was done a couple days ahead. We drank a few bottles of wine from our summer visit to wineries in Walla Walla . My personal favorite was the Riesling from Dunham Cellars. We played a LONG and very enjoyable game of dominoes won by Lindsey, much to her surprise and Galens' dismay.
So much ground has been covered in the classroom since September and a lot of it was rugged terrain. One child has been reassigned to another school after copious amounts of documentation by me, several meetings with the Student Intervention Team and the implementation of interventions that went nowhere. One intervention was to place a small tent in a corner of our classroom and I was to say "Tent" in a calm, neutral voice to the child when I thought he might be close to 'going off'. That certainly bombed. He would get inside and roll the tent into things or haul items from around the classroom; small toys, blocks, pencils, etc. into the tent. He became more unpredictable by the day; poking classmates with pencils, punching on the playground, kicking teachers and saying "Kill, die die." spitting at people, (me included), sometimes walking out of the room when he got agitated, other times overturning tables and chairs and tossing pencils, crayons and whatever else was within his reach. There was a very sweet side to this child too, and a real desire to learn, but both those qualities got more and more difficult to find as his destructive and bullying behavior intensified. Hours of communication between myself, his mother (who REALLY seemed to be doing her 'single parent best'), his counselor, the school's Special Ed. teacher, the consulting teacher for special ed., a behaviorist with our district, the school psychologist, the principal and after 45 days of school he was granted a placement in another school. In his new classroom there is one teacher, 10 students, and two Instructional Assistants. I am hoping that the system has worked in his favor because many interested parties spent a lot of time and careful thought to get him a more suitable placement. In my 27 years as a teacher I have never had a student removed from my classroom. It is a lengthy, arduous process that wracked me with anxiety. It is painful to see a young child so far out of control. This child was always the last one I thought of before I fell asleep and the first one on my mind in the morning. In fact, I began this post on Thanksgiving weekend and it was just too painful to write. I thought about just not writing about it at all, but that would be like leaving an important chapter out of a book. So now, Christmas Break is beginning, 66 days of school have passed and I am moving on. The remaining 24 students deserve and need 100% of my care and classroom expertise. They missed out on my attention for the first 25% of the school year so I am scrambling fast to give them their 'dues'.