Day 55 (of 185) Past Performance Does Not Guarantee Future Results (thankfully)
This was a hard week for one of my younger learners. Both Monday and Tuesday saw him visit me in my office far more frequently than any other time this year…..
So I did my usual: touch base with home. I’ve done this ever since (earlier in my career) I waited “too long” for a boy who was struggling in and out of the classroom. School was never a fun-and-easy experience for him, but we had been making very positive gains….until a lot of backward steps were being made – and I had to phone because we were getting close to needing a “break”. And then we learned: his grandfather had passed away on the weekend…they were close….mom just “didn’t want to bother the school”. I assured her we don’t mind being bothered with news like this as we would’ve been acting and reacting very differently…..
So I checked in and confirmed nothing “unusual” had happened.
So we continued with our plan (which includes a delayed entry into the classroom – from the outside lineup he pops into my office to play with lego while I do a “sweep” of the outside of the school. Then when I come in, we chat for a bit and then take him to his class – once we know that everyone has changed shoes and taken off coats (this happens close to him and he doesn’t like it…..really doesn’t like it). Then we check on the visual calendar to prep for what is next.
And it had been working. Until it didn’t (there are no guarantees in learning). Because Monday was tough, but Tuesday was worse. He wanted to be in class…but his negative self talk was getting harsher (yep, for those of you scoring at home, that’s something worth noting!) So another phone call and discussion over what we were seeing led to a quick plan:
Parents were going to come take him home (and those who know me know I do not like this to happen…..unless it’s part of a plan)
“We” were going to try getting some quick interventions ready for the next day – noting that both days we were able to identify the “noise” as a key issue….
So today we are ready with a Bluetooth headset linked to the teacher iPad that had a selection of “natural sounds” to act as a white noise buffer. We also extended the ‘delayed entry’ time by another minute-ish (with more talk time with lego)
And he had a great day. Noticed not only by his teacher but by others as well. There were even some complexities that if they happened earlier in the week……well, for various reasons, he was able to self regulate himself and get back on track for learning faster than ever before. I even tested karma by phoning home in the afternoon to let mom know about what we were seeing today <– when working as a team, we need to keep each other informed of the good as well as the bad and learn from those little observation that when put together have a sum greater than if they remain in isolation.
Even though we have taken a positive step forward, it’s not a guarantee that tomorrow won’t have its challenges….but he has a lot of evidence to see what a ‘good day’ can feel like and that he has a larger support team around him (and the family) than may have noticed at first. It’s why “we” roll with the tough days…..they aren’t a guarantee that things will stay tough….just because “things have always been _____ / this way” doesn’t mean the future can’t be different(iated) and more successful. The future is what we make of it….so why not chose to make it better!