If you have worked in a classroom teaching little kids, you know that, sooner or later, you will have to face the challenge that represents engaging a particularly difficult student. Well, Jimmy was one of those students, one of those who do not react to private chats, sweetness, praise, serious talk. Nothing was effective to keep him at work.
I felt powerless
I was worried, because not only he was not doing well at school, but also because it was obvious that he was suffering, and I didn’t know how to help him. After talking with his parents, they asked a therapist for professional advice.
It was then, before the therapist could help us, that something happened. During a reading lesson, I promised a sticker for all those students who wanted to read aloud, for all of us to enjoy it. Four or five kids volunteered, and one of them was Jimmy. I was surprised and excited by his decision. He read pretty well. In fact, he was one of the best. After that, their classmates cheered Jimmy and all the volunteer readers, and they received the promised reward, a cute sticker. Looking at Jimmy, so excited, so happy about his sticker, made my day! And I could say, made my year!
I talked about the stickers with the therapist, and we started working with Jimmy with the help of a set of stickers and a sticker book. We agreed with him that each day, he would get a sticker in his sticker book for good behavior and another one for staying at work during the lessons. Only if he deserved them! Each week he could show his stickers to his therapist and have a chat with him about his achievements.
Fortunately, there were lots of stickers in Jimmy’s life. By the end of the year, Jimmy had a very nice sticker book full of his precious stickers. More importantly, he was much happier and enjoying his school life.