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    new student who can't get along with others
    By Carolyn

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    I teach fifth grade. I had a student who arrived in my class in April of last year. NOBODY liked her at all. Every child in my room immediately decided, for some reason, from day one, that they just WEREN'T going to like her. The child's defense (and defense) mechanism, of course, turned on right away. She fought with everybody. I treaded lightly, treating her very sweetly in front of everybody so that she would relate well to SOMEBODY in the room, at least, and so that the kids could see a role model who knew how to treat her with respect. When the kids continued to mistreat her, and she them, I referred her to the guidance counselor, who talked with her.

    The guidance counselor helped us, but the really important thing I did that I believe helped stop the situation was to have a class meeting at the beginning of the day one day. I asked the first grade teacher across the hall if she would allow the child to come to her room to read to another child while we had our meeting. While we had our meeting, and the child was not in the room, I learned about the many things that were going on between this child and her classmates. We talked about how we could stop doing this, and by the end of the meeting, the kids were actually regretful of the way they had behaved towards this new girl. One of my students actually wrote a letter of apology to the girl, and everybody signed it and offered it to her when she returned to the classroom. I had no more problems for the rest of the year.

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