I find Bitchy Girls to be the absolute hardest to handle. I’ll take Angry Boys any day. I’ll take Loud and Obnoxious. I’ll take Bullies and Violent Kids. I’ll take Emotionally Disturbed. I’ll take I-Can’t-Add-With-My-Fingers-And-Hate-You-For-Making-Me-Try. I’ll take the gangter who wrapped a wire around a kid’s neck in class my first year. I’ll take the kid who intentionally stapled his arm and ran screaming out of my room. I’ll take the ones who flip furniture and the ones who scream curse words. I’ll take those Terrible Ones that no one else wants to take. The famously bad kids, I can handle. But the Bitchy Girls are going to be the end of me.
When one of those girls decides to have it out for you, it is disastrous. They can give you the type of vicious attitude that leaves you at a loss for words. They can undermine an entire class without being overtly disruptive. They can make you feel useless and make your consequences feel irrelevant. They can manipulate you back into liking them and then turn on you in a second. They are the girls that become the Mean Girls in teen social-scene dramas. They are the nightmares that mothers have about their daughters’ teen years. They are defiant and sneaky and rude and exhausting and awful.
Somehow, I got myself onto one of these girls’ Shit List a couple of months ago. We were great for the first half of the year (unlike other Mean Girls I’ve had, who smelled weakness when I was new and went for the kill early), and everything should have been fine. But over the last few months, our relationship has deteriorated dramatically. She has started being an enormous bitch to me, and I don’t know why. Maybe I did something wrong. Maybe I’m not consistent enough. Maybe it’s her hormones. Maybe it’s her recent breakup with a boy she only sees in math class. Maybe it’s her new resentment toward her mother and the fact that she sees me as a mother figure (according to our psychologist… I don’t do psychoanalysis). Maybe it’s just funny to see me angry.
Regardless, nothing I can do will make her stop. I’ve given firm consequences. I’ve bribed her for good behavior. I’ve called home a million times. I’ve put her on a contract. I’ve gone over to her house. I’ve moved her seat everywhere. I’ve used heavy praise. I’ve used heavy scolding. I’ve hung out with her at lunch. I’ve involved my administration, her homeroom teacher, and the social worker. I know she’s capable of being great, because one-on-one she’s lovely to me, she’s good in her other classes, and she’s good if someone sits in my class to watch her. But on a normal day in my classroom, she is terrible to me and I’m sick of dealing with it.
Does anyone have suggestions? I am completely out of ideas.