Halloween Week with Tom

First week of teaching everyday for practicum and it fell on the week of Halloween. Each and everyone of my students were excited every minute of every day. I asked my sponsor teacher how he controls the craziness of Halloween and his response was to just breath and accept that it will be a crazy week. Now this being said it was a crazy week for a student without ADHD, now to put Tom into a position where he must focus and learn on one of the busiest weeks of the year… I thought might be impossible.

Monday: Today was my first lesson of an ongoing science lesson, Tom goes home at lunch on Mondays and does not return therefore I did not have the experience of teaching him.  However the morning of observing and circulating gave me a lot of information on him. Math had just started when he had a small melt down about how stupid math is. He could not understand the need for math when he could find the answer on a calculator. This argument went on for about half an hour until finally my teacher explained to him that he was not ready to focus and allowed him to go to the lunch room to help put together lunches for the lunch program. After this he went home for the afternoon.

Tuesday: Halloween has arrived and the students are buzzing. There are witches, cats, cowboys, and farm animals all full of excitement and awaiting 2:37 to come so that they can start to celebrate. Tom walks in ten minutes after the bell (which is now a routine, starting at 8:55), he is wearing a black sweater, baggie jeans, necklaces, rings, and sun glasses. My sponsor teacher asks “who are you for Halloween”, Tom responded with holding up a necklace that read “GANGSTER”. My sponsor teacher responds appropriately and asks him to take a seat and get his silent reading book out. Once he has sat down his EA realizes he is wearing his sunglasses at his desk (the school rule on Halloween is no masks and because we cannot see his eyes they were consider a mask). Once asked to take them off it ticked him and there was no returning. He now believed we had ruined his costume and he struggled to realize that we only took away a small part of a costume. He soon came to the conclusion (after a lot of convincing) that he could wear them on his head and he would be just as cool. Once lunch recess came he went home for his regular lunch block and did not return back to school because he wanted to stay home.

Wednesday: Tom was absence from school today.

Thursday: The morning I spent with my sponsor teacher running the cross country event therefore I did not see how he interacted in class this morning. On arrival back to the school I had two lessons to teach and then they went to Fine Arts. The first lesson he was absent for because he was spending time with a support worker and counsellor. When he returned he was asked to join his science group to observe the changes that occurred to their bread mould. When asked to do this he looked at me and yelled “nope, I have better things to do” and ran out the door. I walked out the door to follow him and explain this is not the right thing to be doing. At this point he had already ran into the library and disturbed not only my class’ learning but now the students in the library’s learning as well. My sponsor teacher had now come to support me on bringing him back to class. I went back to the class and he brought him back into the room. On arrival Tom gave me an apology and told me he was ready to work. He observed the bread with a magnify glass but once asked to draw what he saw he looked at me and exclaimed ” that is so stupid I am not doing that”. At this point I told him that he needed to participate otherwise I would not be able to give him participation marks, this did not phase him. He then walked around the class disturbing other students working. I quickly stopped him and told him to sit at his desk and gave him a dot to dot work sheet to calm his body down. This worked for about five minutes and then he was up again disturbing groups. At this point my sponsor teacher asked him to take a walk to the office and return when he felt ready to come back (this was a daily occurrence for Tom if he could not handle the classroom). He left and did not return.

Friday: The end of a crazy week became crazier when a miscommunication lead to me teaching fifty students in a gym block. I was already nervous about teaching Tom in a gym setting and now I had to do it teaching fifty other students! I took a deep breath and told myself to look around at all the support I had in the room and decided to face my fear. Tom had two reminders the whole class to be respectful! Some of you may read that and say “wow he had to be reminded twice… why didn’t he understand right away”. Well I can tell you from my month of knowing Tom, he cannot stop himself from blurting and he cannot filter what he says. That being said two reminders was a big win! On arrival back to the class he had a pretty calm day, again reminders were given often but he always fell back to where he needed to be.

This week was a huge learning experience, although I feel that I was unsuccessful at getting Tom to complete his work I did however capture his attention in PE and my final science lesson and for me that was a huge win for the week! As I get to know Tom more and more I hope to learn different ways to communicate and teach him.

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