Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Slap Happy

This is another story of me intervening as a counselor. My last one pertained to having two students negotiate for the playground space. This one is really straight forward. But, I was kind of confused as I observed the situation. The last and only thing that I saw was a female 2nd grade student slapping a 2nd grade male student like crazy on his arm. By his face, he looked pretty hurt by it. Right away, I sent her off the playground and into the auditorium. Just for reference, where we were, the auditorium is adjacent to this playground. So, I headed inside to talk to her.

Me: M. Come here please.

(M walks over)

Me: Why did you slap that boy a bunch of times?

(M has this guilt ridden "please don't scold me" look)

M: I didn't mean to hurt him. I was trying to play with him.

Me: Ok. Did you see his face?

M: (nods)

Me: Did he look like he was having fun?

M: (Slowly shakes head)

Me: Yea... actually, he looked like he was in pain. I know that you were just trying to have fun, but that's why we tell everyone to keep their hands to themselves. Sometimes, kids will play harder than they supposed to and then something like this will happen. Someone will get hurt. You need to keep your hands to yourself from now ok. Ok?

M: Ok...

Me: Alright. Go back outside, but you need to apologize to him. Before you apologize to him, let me just talk to him really quick.

M: I already apologized to him.

Me: Ok. Let me ask him to make sure. 

(We both walk outside. I keep M about 15 meters away)

Me: Hey. Are you ok?

Boy: Yea, I'm fine.

Me: So, M was telling me that she didn't mean to hurt you. She said that she was just trying to have fun and she accidentally went too far. Did she already apologize to you.

Boy: Yea, she did.

Me: Ok.Thanks.

And yea, that's that. My general principle as far as counseling students goes is to always talk to them separately. I bet other teachers do that as well. I do that so that they don't interrupt each other whenever they disagree with each other. Also, it makes it easier to put their stories together when they aren't always talking over each other. I don't think that would've happened in this case, but don't want to take any chances with, for example, averse reactions like vengeance. Who knows what the boy was thinking? (until someone actually talks to him)

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