Tuesday, March 15, 2011

I Believe You Have My Stapler

J is a student who has had some behavioral difficulties this year. J's home life is pretty tough and a lot of those troubles come to school with him. He also, like many pre-teen boys, has some hygiene issues, which are exacerbated by problems at home. He isn't well-liked by his peers or teacher, sadly.

In J's case, an inch of attention and positive reinforcement goes a mile. J has been coming to visit my office for about a week now at the end of the day for good behavior. Normally, I'll play games with kids or let them color to reward a good day. But J isn't all that interested in games. Instead, he wants to run errands and help out around the office.

So far, he's stuffed envelopes, put folders together, organized contact logs and put telephone number cards in alphabetical order, stapled packets, and delivered papers to teachers. And J has done it with such excitement and happiness! Who knew that a child would find such enjoyment in doing tasks that waste so much of my day! (although I have to admit, I would've delighted in getting to help someone at school in their office as a kid. Still a nerd.)

But the real plus side is that J is getting the positive adult attention he needs. So many of the kids in my building need just a little TLC from someone to let them know that they matter. The fact that J will behave all day long just to come down and do 15 minutes of office work amazes and saddens me. I'll kill 80 trees and make purposeful messes if it means that J can have fun putting it all back together again.

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