Beat up by a nine year old

It took seven years to happen, but it finally did: I was hit by a student. Repeatedly.

It was last week and Marta was not paying attention to social studies. I was in there for forty five minutes to help with inclusion and my little friend refused to follow even the simplest directions (sit on the carpet). When it was time to lead my group of six students out to my classroom for language arts, she hit me on the butt on her way out the door. Hard.

I said "OH!" in surprise and then took a few deep breaths. I got down to her level as she got her backpack out of her locker: "You may NOT hit a teacher. That is not okay."

I made a calculated decision not to dole out any consequences just then. I knew enough about her to know that if I gave her several sad face tally marks right away, she would just escalate and I wouldn't be able to teach anything that afternoon.

So I put on my happy face and taught my little heart out. Marta behaved herself pretty well. But at the end of the day, when it was time to tally our happy faces versus sad faces and earn a penny for the store, things went sour FAST.

I gave everyone a penny except Marta. "I'm sorry Marta, you cannot get a penny today because you hit a teacher."

A dark cloud passed over her face as this sunk in. She took her "bank" (container with 2 pennies in there already) and chucked it across the room. She grabbed her folder and her backpack and made for the door!

I had to go chasing after her and corralled her back in. I got the other students out into the hallway as fast  as I could and got down to Marta's level. This she did not like.

Cue the kicking. The hitting. The scratching (she drew blood on my arm through my sweater, and in two small spots on my leg). She was so frustrated she also chucked her hearing aid out of the room.

Eventually she burst into tears, sat on my lap, and cried on my shoulder.

We had both been angry that afternoon, but at that moment in time, I was sorely tempted to cry with her.

Instead I just stroked her hair and told her that it was okay, that I still loved her, that we would try again tomorrow to earn a penny. After a few minutes of repeating this, she wiped her eyes, nodded her head, and joined the line to get on the bus to go home.


If you're wondering, I had to fill in an incident report and call her mother. We were both baffled as to what could have triggered this kind of behavior. She's always been a bit defiant, but never like this. I talked with our behavior specialist and we now have a plan in place where she can earn something rewarding for following directions.

The only part of this whole incident that I regret is getting into Marta's face right away after I had corralled her back into the classroom. She clearly needed some time to calm down and I could have saved myself some scratches! Otherwise, I think I did right - especially in restoring our relationship at the end there.


I'm so curious: have you ever been hit by a student?


Megan said...

Oh, wow! Crazy day! Sorry to hear about it.

Ginger Snaps said...

Oh my goodness, no! I can't even imagine! I would have probably flipped out! You are amazing for being so calm and so forgiving!

Bellismom said...

I have never been hit but while I was doing some observation hours last year a student in the room I was in broke the teachers arm! I wasn't there that day so I didn't see it happen, but man that's scary!

Jenny said...

I've been kicked by a kid (one I really came to adore) in about the second week of school. She had a history of significant anger issues though.

I'm amazed at your ability to handle the situation with such love. I can't always manage that with my own daughters!

Miss Kat's Parents said...

At least once a month....but I'm in preschool :) It is more appropriate for 3's.

Anonymous said...

Maybe she doesn't want to be in a speaking class.Maybe she want to be proud deaf?

or does not want to be in anything that have to do with being deaf as you know how people think of deafness (so she is ashame of it ...some people embrace it and say "proud deaf" and others don't and avoid it they can)

the way she treated her hearing aids is a sign how she is feeling.

Angela said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rachel said...

I'm sorry.

That is traumatic!

When I was in a deaf preschool program, they actually had a cage because one of the students routinely became violent and kicked the pregnant teacher in her stomach.

Obviously... times have changed.

Hate to say it... but sometimes, it simply is a bad choice. A combination of stressors that NO ONE can predict or identify, but ultimately a child can choose to simply meltdown while knowing it is inappropriate.

And I'm sorry about the Anonymous comment. I have heard stuff like that for 30 years. It really doesn't matter whether someone is deaf, Deaf, hearing impaired, hearing, or purple. She is simply herself.

Anonymous said...

I knew someone would say that. How can we tell someone passionately don't want to be there, and someone just have behavior problems? Like someone hates piano lesson but forced there. or someone who think he is a girl and fight anyone who tell him to stop wearing a dress?

Anonymous said...

Just wanted to add, a deaf or hard-of-hearing will not break or throw out their hearing aids as they know they depend on and attach to it. Either she is angry about being deaf and wishing she is normal, Or She want to be deaf and use sign language.

Elissa said...

Oh how I wish you were my son's teacher for Kindergarten. Right after his Autism Diagnosis he had a melt down & hit a teacher (he was 4 years old). Not saying it was right or that he shouldn't have consequences but she HATED him after that & he knew it. Getting him to school in the morning was a nightmare until he changed to another class. He actually said "She doesn't want me there." Good job at mending the relationship.

Mariposita Obsidiana said...

Yes, actually. A child in my threes and fours class; he was actually supposed to be in Kindergarten already since he was five, but his mother was reluctant to do so, because of his behavioral problems. I recognized those behavioral problems as some form of autism, and even though I wasn't allowed to say this to his mother (the school I worked for was lacking in a big way), I had to find ways to work with him. Otherwise, I'd get hit, kicked, and bitten. He was really sweet when he wasn't in trouble (which was all the time).

Other than that, I've never been deliberately struck by a child. A few accidental headbutts, yes.

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