One Sunflower

tap dance

on September 20, 2010

It drives me bananas when kids tap me – you know, that incessant and insistent tapping that children do on your arm to get your attention!  Every year I have a “tapper,” and this year it is Lady L.  She is a tall Native American girl who loves adult attention and I am currently her primary source at school.

My mom told me about observing in a classroom once and witnessing how the children were taught to touch a teacher on the shoulder when they wanted his attention.  I’ve been teaching that to my students ever since but it is difficult to break the tapping habit.

On Tuesday, I gently explained to Lady L. that I don’t like to be tapped and that if she wants my attention I would prefer that she say my name and then I showed her how she could put her hand on my arm instead of tapping it.  I know that school has only been in session a few days but a tapping student will zap all my reserves of patience in no time. Each time, several times a day, when Lady L. came up to me, I gently put my hand over her hand to calm the tapping and respond to her.

Finally, on Friday, Lady L. and I had a break through!  She came up to me, started to tap and then looked at my face with this look of remembering and stopped.  She lay her hand gently on my fore arm, checking my face to see if this was what I meant.  I smiled at her and answered with my full attention.

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5 responses to “tap dance

  1. Stacey says:

    It’s funny because I think I would’ve preferred to have been tapped in the classroom. For some reason my students preferred to say my name incessantly when they needed me.

    I’m glad you had a breakthrough with her. After all, we teach people how we want to be treated.

  2. jenb says:

    I love that you know yourself well enough to tackle a “problem” before it sucks the life out of you and takes away from the relationship you deserve to have with this student! I can see that tapper in every one of the classrooms I support, but it also amazes me how often adults forget to simple be honest and straightforward with students about their behaviors. I have mastered the phrase, “What I really need from you is…. is there something you need from me for us to work well together?” It has worked for me almost every time. :) Congrats on the breakthrough!

  3. mag says:

    It reminds me of being at the beach or pool…. “mom” “mom” “mom” “Mom” chorus a hundred voices!

    Good luck! Love the shoes.

  4. Tara says:

    They’ll tap you, say your name over and over again, or “UMMM…””” – but what always gets my immediate attention is when one of my sixth graders slips and calls out: “Mom?!” Which pretty much sums it all up – attend to me, now!

  5. Wanda Brown says:

    I try to eliminate the tapping too. It is tough. I don’t have one this year. Worse than tapping is whining for me. I have no tolorance for it. I usually tell the whiner…I need to hear a first grade voice before I respond. It is amazing how quickly it all disappears. I pity the poor parents who don’t make it go away.

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