So it was my rotation this Sunday again to teach the little ones at Children’s Church. I’m now teaching 5 and 6 year olds, who are lot more aggressive and active. Undoubtably there is one child who is the instigator and the aggressor…Cameron. Every time I see him I groan internally.
When I was just a teacher’s aide, Cameron is the child I would sit next to in order to make sure he knew he couldn’t get away with bad behavior. He even threatened to bite a teacher one morning when I was helping. It was then that I picked a spot by him each morning.
Now that I teach, there aren’t many helpers to aide in class…and I have Cameron to deal with and the other kids he riles up. So far in the last few months, he’s either been tame or not attended. BUT Sunday was another story. There were 3 trouble makers at one table making the most irritating noises, which left it unable to get a teaching environment going.
I separated the problem children, but Cameron enlisted the boy next to him into his aggressive behavior. Most of the class, I got him involved so it wasn’t an issue…but after 35 minutes he got really anxious. He started jumping on his chair and flying off onto the ground. I put him in a ‘time-out’ in the corner. This is something I’ve never had to do in the year I’ve been volunteering, and I felt bad doing so…but his behavior wasn’t going to fly with me.
Cameron quietly read for a good 5 minutes. It seemed to be the only thing he did respond too, so I’m thinking I’ll put him there from now on! The only bad part is when I let him go back to his seat, he ended up hurting another child. The little boy that was sitting next to him tripped over Cameron, who stuck out his chair to jam into his friend. It hurt him bad enough that he cried. I was consoling this little boy, Tyler, when all the parents started lining up to come claim their children.
I told Tyler the only thing I could without crossing any lines. First I told him how sorry I was that he was hurt and upset. I put my arm around him to give him a small hug. The lesson this Sunday was over ‘peace’, so I asked him if he remembered how to keep peace in his life. He tearfully nodded…and I went on to tell him that another way to have peace in his life is to make wise choices about who our friends are in life. Some friends will bring us peace, and some will bring us stress. I told him next time to sit next to someone who wouldn’t hurt him.
Cameron was out in the hall. Tyler proceeded to march out side in the hall, leaving me and his dad in the class room. He stood there and stared angrily at Cameron. I did the only thing I could do without offending Cameron’s dad. I quietly walked outside in the hall, squatted in front of Cameron, and asked him if he thought he should apologize to Tyler. Cameron looked at his feet and nodded his head yes. He then walked across the hall and apologized. I was very proud of Cameron and Tyler for confronting how they felt.
I think all in all they both ended up okay, but Cameron’s dad was clueless to this whole situation which makes me wonder what kind of discipline he receives at home. I just pray that I’m able to come up with a positive way to handle this child in the future. Any teachers or counselors out there that have any pointers???