Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Teacher Tom: It's the Thinking

Teacher Tom: It's the Thinking
It's the Thinking

Nearly twenty years ago, there was a two-year-old in my class named Melissa who would regularly hit the other kids. Not when she was mad or when she wanted something they had, but only when they cried. The moment she heard a classmate cry, she made a beeline for them, then proceeded to methodically pummel them about the head and shoulders, which of course made things worse. She always seemed confused when we pulled her away from her victims.

My first concern was that this was somehow learned behavior, that this was how she, her siblings, or someone else in her life were treated when they became emotional. I imagined a putative parental figure, even as her actual parents struck me as kind and loving. I dug around there, talking with her mother and a few of their family friends. If there was anything to my theory, it was very well hidden. I studied the girl's behavior, looking for clues that might indicate abuse or trauma, but saw an otherwise robust, cheerful, curious little girl. 

We ruled out the possible influence of violence she had seen CONTINUE READING:  Teacher Tom: It's the Thinking