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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