There has been trouble percolating in my classroom. We're not talking big time trouble. But it is trouble. I have a sweet girl who is having a REALLY hard time finding her way socially. I don't see what goes on behind the scenes so the trouble could actually be a lot more concerning than I even know. What I do know is that I have a little girl in my room who tries to strongarm her friends into doing what she wants. She is demanding. She'll insist that friends play with her, that friends partner with her, that friends not play with other friends. When her friends protest, she threatens to tell on them. For some strange reason, her friends typically bend to her will.
This is not new behavior. In fact, it has been fairly well documented as early as kindergarten. She just isn't kind. It really makes me wonder why. This little lady has many strengths. Her academics are strong and she is adorable! Usually, when I've seen kids treat their peers poorly it is because they don't feel good about themselves. Sometimes kids who are mean struggle academically. Sometimes they come from broken homes. Sometimes, the adults at home are neglectful or unkind to them. None of this seems to be the case for this little girl.
Trust me when I tell you, I've addressed the little issues as they've come up. I've given her some tips to ensure that she's not accidentally offending her friends and I have given her some strategies for working through difficulties. Her mom has acknowledged that this is an area that needs some attention. She states that they've have been working on this at home too.
At least five students have personally come to me hurt by this classmate. It is getting to be a lot. I'd love for this drama to cease. Actually, it has come to a head. My student has really hurt a student in another classroom and now my principal is involved. She has launched a bullying investigation. It is warranted but it also makes my heart hurt.
I can't imagine what it will feel like to be my student, confronted by all the allegations. I can't imagine what it will feel like to be her mom either. While I know that neither should be blindsided, I can't help but feel terrible for the both of them. I'm not sure what I'll do to help this child move forward. I know there have been teachers who have come before me who have attempted to coach this kiddo toward positive peer relationships. No one wants to be a mean girl. I'm not sure exactly what I'll do to love this child up but I'll definitely need to start planning and strategizing. I'd love for these elementary struggles to be a small hiccup that she'll one day forget when she reflects on her childhood. I don't want these troubles to define this child moving forward. I'll do what I can to help her.