The first few weeks of having her in my after school class, she seemed very well-mannered and polite. So when one of my students said that she was being nasty towards them, I found it very hard to believe. She had me fooled.
As an after school teacher, I was supposed to check student homework to make sure their answers were correct, help reinforce anything that a student learned during the day, and provide enrichment activities for students when they completed their work. I had about 10-13 students from 4th through 7th grade from various schools.
As the school year proceeded, the after school director spoke to me about this student's homework. He told me that she had complained that I wasn't checking her homework. When he asked her how she knew, she admitted that she would purposely get answers wrong to catch if I was checking it. I understand myself missing a few math problems here or there because of how many there were, but why would a nine year old purposely try to catch me off guard. This left a foul taste in my mouth about this child.
I began to notice how she would act around her after school classmates and realized she wasn't as innocent as she tried to portray herself as. She was very quiet the first few weeks of after school, sitting in her seat listening and observing others. After a while, she saw "popular" kids in the after school and weaseled her way into their clique. They became very nasty towards other kids that were not in their circle of friends and would exclude them from their cliquey activities.
She was very two-faced, similar to Regina George of Mean Girls. She would put up a front and pretend to be "besties" with one of the other popular girls in the class. When the girl moved away, she would openly state that she always hated her. To avoid any pronoun confusions, from now, I will refer to this mean spirited child as H.S.
From that point on, I was extra careful when it came to checking H.S's homework because of her shenanigans. She eventually caught on and wouldn't pull that nonsense on me.
When the students were done with their homework, some would read books, others would bring their electronic devices to play with, and others would chat with their friends and find ways to engage themselves. I started to create packets to help them prepare for the standardized tests they would all eventually take. The kids hated them. I don't blame them.
There was work for each day of the week. The kids who legitimately took a long time to complete their homework would not be able to get to it that day. When they did complete their homework in a timely fashion, they would have to make up the work they missed.
H.S. had always completed her homework with a lot of time to spare before I implemented the packets. Her way of avoiding the extra work was to just take forever for all of her homework throughout the week. I wasn't stupid. I knew what she was doing. My counter to her devious plan was to allow those who finished their homework and packet to go outside to the playground to enjoy a little fresh air. When she realized that she wanted to go too, she began finishing her homework and packets much quicker.
There were times where she would not tell me all of the homework she had in an attempt to go outside quicker. Those days were times I wouldn't allow them to go out because of the weather. She would then report to me that she had other homework she conveniently "forgot about." I called her out on her lies one time and she went and told her mother that I "didn't like her" and I "wasn't fair to her and her sister." The mother called the after school director about this. He knew about her games and asked how I wanted to approach this. I was more than willing to set up a meeting with her mother to discuss this issue but she never got back to me.
Because of the amount of students of various grade levels I had, I eventually got a teacher's assistant in my class to help check homework. When I became extra careful with H.S's homework and found real mistakes I asked her to fix, she would feed me more lies about how her teacher didn't want me to correct it because the teacher wanted to go over it as a class. This continued with a lot of her other homework but I asked her to let me check it and made her fix her mistakes anyway. She would eventually bring her homework for my assistant to check.
When her friends moved the second year and no longer enrolled in our after school program, she turned to the classmates she rejected the previous year to form her new Plastic group. She was very manipulative and made them do things she wanted. If there was someone she didn't want them to talk to, they wouldn't take to them. I believe she told them to avoid talking to me beyond the necessary conversations. These were great kids that I had a great relationship/friendship with before, that suddenly stopped talking to me about books, life, and other interests we had in common.
Two could play that game. I know, I know. She's 9/10 years old and I was in my mid twenties. "She's just a child." But think about it, will she suddenly change into a nice person when she turns eighteen and enter adulthood? Most likely not. Some children are mean, jerks, and assholes and will grow up into becoming adults that are mean, jerks, and assholes. This girl learned to get her way by manipulating those who don't know any better at the age of nine. She's going to do that same nonsense when she's older and will become that person who treats waiters and waitresses like trash, cuts you off, talks during a movie, etc. The "they're just a child!" excuse will only work up to a certain age. If they are repeat offenders, they can no longer use that excuse. Let's not forget that there are and were a lot of terrible people in the world that was once "just a child" as well.
Anyway, I began to simply whisper anything I had to say to the students around me who were deemed not worthy by H.S.' standards. Whether it was "You need to fix number 9." to "can you get me a pencil?" or "What Pokemon are you using?" The group at around my area caught on and did the same. All we did was simply whisper our conversation and it stirred up H.S. She was getting furious because she thought we were talking about her. How paranoid and narcissistic! This continued for a couple of days and she finally snapped, yelling "STOP TALKING ABOUT US!"
Her reaction caused most of the students to laugh because of how self-centered, paranoid, and foolish H.S was. The students told her that we were simply whispering our conversations and that she was overreacting. She got a taste of her own medicine and didn't like it. I knew she hated me and I didn't think highly of her as a person either. I'm glad I didn't have to see her again after her second year. She was a plague that disrupted the spirit of the classroom.
It wasn't a surprise when I found her homework with a shout out to yours truly in it. It was a writing assignments about events in her life. She wrote about the after school…enjoy!