Personal Experiences

A personal experience that taught a lesson in communication:

Tonya's Story

According to Evertson, Poole and the IRIS Center, (2010) it is easier for a student to comply with a teachers expectations if they know what those expectations are. The expectations must be realistic, achievable and understandable. With children that have behavioral and emotional problems, they may not know the appropriate way to express their feelings. One of my students pointed at the clock in the middle of a lesson and everyone turned to look at the clock which interrupted the lesson. I asked him what that meant and he just pointed. So, I pointed at the clock and asked him what I was thinking. He replied “the clock”. I told him no and asked again. He again said something about the clock. I asked him why he couldn’t tell me what I was thinking and he said he couldn’t read my mind. I said, “exactly!”

I explained to him that I couldn’t read his mind either so instead of pointing, he could point and use words to express what he is thinking so we would be crystal clear on what he meant and he would be crystal clear on what I meant. We made a deal to always use words, no pointing, grunting, moaning, crying or throwing tantrums because all that did was confuse me and waste all of our time when he could use his words and we could figure it out together. Then I asked him why he was pointing at the clock and he said, “we are late for lunch.” It was perfect timing because I then explained if he would have used his words, I wouldn’t have been confused and we would already be eating by now.

Reference: Evertson, C., Poole, I., & the IRIS Center. (n.d.). (2010). Norms and expectations. Retrieved from

Katie's Story

I got a kick out of, one day, hearing one of our seventh grade teachers talk about a former student who gave her a particularly difficult time. She mentioned that he is probably the student she had the most difficult time warming up to at the time. What was funny about it, is that the student she was talking about was, at the time and still is, one of my favorite students I have ever had. He really knew how to push her buttons. (Katie)