There is a boy in my class — we’ll call him David, for reasons which should be clear to fans of David Shannon’s No, David! books — who is always getting into trouble.
He is a sweet boy, actually, and I’m always happy to see him, but he is impulsive and loud, and needs a lot of redirecting. I find myself saying “No, David!” to him almost every day, and it hurts me to hear the way I talk to him sometimes. It takes great effort to remember to praise him and smile at him and outnumber my negative remarks (“Please be quiet, David….Sit down, David!….Stop touching him, David….Finish your work, please, David”) with positive ones.
His mother, who is young and single and clearly loves him very much, told me when we met in August that David’s father is in jail, and David “has a lot of anger issues.”
I don’t see the anger much, mostly just boisterous noise and happy misbehavior, but every once in a while, I do see deep sadness. Today at story time I was being videotaped modeling a repeated interactive readaloud, so I was really concentrating on the story, but part of my brain registered that David, sitting right in front of me in his assigned spot, was not looking quite right.
By the time it was time to go, he was in tears. I scooped him up and sat him on my lap, on a bench in the hall, and we rocked while he cried on my shoulder and said, “I want my mama,” over and over. It was as much as I could get out of him, so I let him sob and be sad, and when he was ready, I took him by the hand to the after-school program.