Every teacher at some point has a student who is incredibly needy for every aspect of his school day. These needy students expect help from the moment they wake up each morning at home until their last wakeful moment of their day.
The difficult part of meeting the needs of a needy student is they are one of many who deserve and require your help and attention. These students rob you of precious time and energy needed for the other students in your classroom. Your job is then to wean that student of their dependence on others to make it through the day.
Here is the start of a list of the many needs one of these students may have at the beginning of the day:
- hanging up their belongings once at school
- putting on their shoes
- unpacking home and school communication folder
- following morning entry routine
- locating personal supplies-pencil, eraser
The unfortunate thing about this is that it is only 10 minutes into the school day.
Stop! A change needs to be made.
Tomorrow, upon entry at beginning of the day, circulate to praise students who are hanging up their belongings without making eye contact with your particularly needy student.
Talk about the morning routines that are established as you continue to circulate as students get themselves organized for the day.
This is the start of instilling independence in these needy students. Once they have done one small thing independently, praise with enthusiasm. Its all about breaking the cycle of dependency.
Throughout the day when they begin their daily rituals of demanding, interrupting, pouting or crying, make eye contact with them but do not say anything. Ignore the behavior for as long as you possibly can to give them the chance to correct themselves.
If they don’t stop, quickly remind them of the classroom behavior expectation they are not following and carry on with what you were doing.
While doing this be aware of your body language. Do not approach the student, or bend down to their level. This will only validate the behavior for the student in their own mind.
These students recognize that their behaviors are different from their peers. You must give them the tools and the belief in themselves that they can become more independent.
Once they begin to gain confidence in themselves, they will become more independent and will strive for more independence.
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