I have a student that cries everyday. For real. Every. Day. Why? It's as simple as me telling her to do something. "Sweetie, it's 8:00 and your book bag is still in the middle of the floor. Please, follow directions quickly and put it away." "I WAS ABOUT TO! WAAAAAAAAAGGGGGGGHHHHHH!" That is how at least two out of the five mornings go in our room. The class knows she is a cry baby and I see 17 pairs of eyes roll at the sound of the familiar whining fit pitching. The thing that frustrates me the most is that this kid is one of the sweetest, most helpful, and smartest kids in my class. Yet, she can flip the switch and act like a, like a, well... do I need to say it? I better not... She never gets her way when she pitches these fits, so why it has NEVER gotten better throughout the year is still a mystery to me.
Today, she was told to stop being bossy to the other kids playing on our iPad. You can guess what happened.


What a beautiful sound. Exactly the sound I wanted to hear the last week of school. Lovely. N to the OT. Eeesh. I gave her some work and sent her kicking and screaming to our computer lab para who graciously told us to send her whatever kids were misbehaving for a period of torture. Isn't that nice!? So, here was my opportunity to take her up on her offer. (I also paid her off with Cheetos and brownies. Heh heh.) 

Before sending her off to meet her fate it dawned on me that maybe she just didn't actually know that she can control these fits. That even as an eight year old your temper CAN be tamed. I decided to take her in the hallway and let her in on a little secret...

"Can I tell you a secret?" *head nod, sniffle, lip quiver* "I used to have a really BED temper when I was a kid. It was so bad that I would scream and cry just like you and get a spanking almost everyday for it. I just wouldn't even care either. I just wanted to be mean and make my mama mad because I was mad. Do you do that sometimes?" *head nod* "Well, I finally got tired of getting in trouble so much for my temper. I had to make a choice to stop acting that way. It was SO HARD TO DO, too." *wide eyes* I had her attention. "BUT, you know what?" "What?" *she finally talked!* "When I made that choice, I was so much happier! It made me feel so much better and I didn't get in trouble anymore! Now, sometimes, I still lose my temper, but I don't EVER act like I used to. Can you promise me that you will work on your temper during the summer. You cannot act like this in third grade. Third graders are big kids and you have to start acting like it. Can you?" "Yes, ma'am. I am going to try." "Now, there still has to be a consequence for your behavior, so you are still going to go to the lab and do work." "Yes, ma'am." Well, part of her work was to write a letter to an incoming second grade student. I do this every year. The letters are so much fun to share at sneak a peek. It's a little insight from one kid to another about what my room is like. She took the letter template with her and headed down the hall.

A couple hours later she came back and said, "I wrote this from my heart and I am sorry for how I have acted." Holy. Moly. I took the paper from her and this is what I read:

"Dear Second Grader,
        Mrs. ---- is super. She will work out your problem and she is the best teacher in the hole world. And she will make you fill cozy and contherball (comfortable) at all times. I love her she is the best teacher. She is fun and she is going to love you a lot. She is the bomm if you are in her class. I wish you good luck to all. Mrs. ---- I love you and I spoke from my heart.

        Third Grader"

That's what it's all about. I only wish we had had that conversation sooner, but it's better late than never. Man, I need a tissue.

*if you want the Dear Second Grader letter template, you can find it in my TpT store - my end of year sale ends tomorrow