A student suspended in my office today was having a reeeeeaaallllly hard time sitting and completing his assignment. He was whining incessantly about the injustice of it all, tapping his pencil, asking a million questions, constantly having to go to the bathroom, and going through long stretches of refusing to work at all.
Finally, with my stress level about to hit the ceiling (of course, there’s never just one kid having trouble at a time, so there are about forty other things I’m also trying to manage), I stopped and just put my elbows on my desk and my face in my hands. I sat there and just breathed for a minute, trying to a) collect myself and stay calm, b) model good anger management strategies, and c) make it clear how incredibly annoying he was being.
This response was very confusing to him, and he quickly went quiet as he tried to evaluate the situation. I enjoyed a luxurious minute of silence as he puzzled through the appropriate course of action. Luckily, he could tell I seriously needed peace, and didn’t start up with the questions and the whining.
Instead, from some ridiculous part of his brain, he decided that a soothing lullaby was probably the best choice. Suddenly I was being softly serenaded with “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” so that I could relax. This continued until I picked my head up and we both went back to work.