A student who is usually quite pleasant and polite has seemed a little out of sorts this week. All the sighing, eye-rolling, and teeth sucking came to a boiling point today when in response to my gentle redirection she shrugged and walked away with an exasperated, "Whatever!"
I called her to the doorway to address the issue privately, and as I spoke, she literally craned her neck to turn her head as far from me as possible, refusing to respond to any of my questions. At last I was able to break through her silence, but only after I asked her what I had done to make her behave this way.
Nothing!" she said dismissively. "This is not about you!"
Once that figurative two by four made contact, I asked her what was bothering her. She turned away again. "Is it at school?" I asked.
She shook her head, but then changed her mind. "Kind of," she said.
"Do you want to talk to the counselor?" I suggested, but when she paused, I asked if she wanted to tell me what it was.
It turns out that she is having trouble with her former best friend. Their relationship is changing in middle school, and they have been arguing a lot. There was an incident on the bus recently that she found very upsetting, so much so, that she was having a hard time focusing on her class work.
I listened, and then I told her I was sorry she was going through all that, and I promised I would set up an appointment for her with the counselor. She smiled sadly and went back into the room to finish her assignment.