Today in one of my younger music classes, I witnessed what can only be classified as the best tantrum ever. If they gave awards for tantrums, this guy would have no competition. It went something like this.
**Before reading further, and before getting too sympathethic, please be aware that this guy a). has done this before, b). I and other teachers have tried to handle it in various ways (being nice, being tough, everything in between), and c). I’m pretty sick today so I wasn’t in the mood for his crap.
1. The kid got mad at me, because I wouldn’t give him his little recorder–playing award, because after five chances he still couldn’t play the thing even close to right.
2. I told him he could try again tomorrow.
3. He started screaming and crying, and saying he “never gets anything.” This is, of course, not true – but it’s part of his usual tantrum pattern.
4. I told him to knock it off, and try again tomorrow.
5. He threw himself down onto the floor, face down, and began to scream. I made him get up.
6. He threw himself down on the floor again, this time near the classroom door. It happened to be time to end, so I said to the class, “We’re done for today, so you guys can go. Try not to step on ______ on the way out.” The 20 or so kids got up and left, trying to ignore the kid on the floor as they walked out.
7. The kid, frustrated that he was being ignored, got up and came over to where I was and threw himself down again, this time in front of me.
8. I said – “Look, I’ve had it with you. I’m not putting up with this stuff today. I told you you can try again tomorrow, and you keep doing this. So now you’re going to have to wait two weeks.”
9. He said – NO NO!!! I’ll stop!!! Let me try it tomorrow. But I held my ground, and he started screaming again, and I told him to go back to his room. This served two purposes – it gave me control, plus it got him out of my room so I could get on with other stuff.
10. He ran screaming out of the room, toward his classroom. I watched him through my window, which enabled me to see him quiet down to normal just in time to calmly walk back into his room as though nothing had happened.
A masterful, classic tantrum indeed.