A Letter to the Teacher of “That Kid” with the Difficult Behaviors

(Inside: To the Teacher of “That Kid” I see how exhausted you are as you walk out at the end of day. Take a breath and read this. That kid wants to tell you a few things today.)

I see you struggling with that kid.  I see how exhausted you are as  you walk out of the building at the end of the day, completely depleted. You wave that kid goodbye and let out a sigh of relief, even if its just for a brief moment of peace.

It’s okay, let it out, it was a hard day.

I hear your words. I hear you telling the teachers in the break room about how that kid is going to get the best of you. In fact, I heard that kid’s teacher last year say all the same things, and I am sure you remember hearing all about it too. In some ways, it brings a bit of relief to know it isn’t just you, right?

I want you know that I know exactly how you feel. I do, I promise. I am not here to judge you or to shame you . It is actually the complete opposite.

I know you are trying. I see it in your face, I see it in your posture. I know you are doing everything you know how to do, but some days it just doesn’t feel like it’s enough, right? Somedays, that kid is just too much for you to handle and I can tell its wearing you down. Believe me, I understand.

Take a breath, sit for a minute and read this. I have something you need to see. That kid wants to tell you a few things today.

A Letter to the Teacher of “That Kid” with the Difficult Behaviors

A Letter to the Teacher of "That Kid" with the Difficult Behaviors
*This post may contain affiliate links. Please see disclosure for details.

“ Teacher, I need you!

I know I am hard to handle, and I take everything you have. I know I push your buttons in all the right ways that make you second guess what you are doing. But I need you. I need you to keep pushing me. I need you to set limits and help me understand them.

I know you don’t know me. I know if you did, we would get a long a lot better. But, please, teacher, I need you to fight to get to know me. I can’t tell you with my words what I need you to know, so I might act out instead. Take that as my sign that I need you. You might be all I have.

I know you have 30 other kids in class. I know they need you too. But, teacher, I need you. I need you to find my good qualities because those other kids don’t see them. My teacher last year didn’t see them, and most days, if not all, I don’t even see them.

I know I throw fits. I know I disrupt your class and what you had on your agenda for the day. But teacher, I need you to believe in me. I need you to believe that my actions are a cry for help, not an act against you. Please don’t take it personally. I need you to believe that I want to fit in, but just don’t know how.

I know I make it hard, but please, I need you. I need you to see me. I need you to see beyond that behavior, that meltdown, that action and I need you to see the kid behind all the “thats”. You might be the only one that can get to the real me. It might take time, It might take patience. You know, it might even take learning about something you know nothing about. But, teacher, I need you! I need you to give it your all to see me.

I know you went into teaching to make a difference. I am here to tell you, I am that difference. I am the one that needs you! I promise, if you reach me, you will change my life. You will make a difference like no test can measure.

You might not see the difference today or tomorrow, but I promise, if you see that I need you, you will make a difference.


~ signed “That Kid

A letter to the teacher from the difficult child

The truth is…

Kids are constantly being told they aren’t good enough, not smart enough, not calm enough, just plain and simple…

not enough.

What would happen if instead of telling kids they are not enough, we changed the way we saw our children and we changed their inner language?

My new book, The Superkids Activity Guide, is aimed to empower ALL kids to speak up, share their superpowers and learn why they do the things they do so they can advocate for themselves!!

The book has a manifesto that I stand behind 100%. I believe all children should believe these things about themselves and often wish I had believed these things to be true as a child myself.

Superkids Manifesto

This is a small excerpt:

“Go ahead and say it, so you believe it: “I am a SUPERKID.”

There, didn’t that feel good? Go ahead and say it one more time, just to make sure it sinks in: “I am a SUPERKID.”

Before you start to think of all the reasons you can’t possibly be a superkid, I want to stop you. You see, even the most famous rock stars have doubt and don’t believe in themselves every day. This doesn’t mean they are any less super. And even superheroes have struggles and pitfalls. That doesn’t make them any less super, either. The truth is, despite your struggles, your mistakes, or your bad days…YOU ARE A SUPERKID. The Superkids Manifesto is yours. I want you to own it.

You are unique.
You are adventurous.
You are spirited.
You are creative.
You are fierce.

You are a SUPERKID.

You are going to conquer the world and I am going to help you every step of the way… ”

In order to make this movement touch every corner of the globe, we need YOU!!! To thank you for joining this movement, I have some fun gifts just for you if you pre-order before August 15th and join the Superkid movement!!!

Click Here to Join the Superkids Movement Today!

Need Your Own Letter to the Teacher?

This post comes with a free printable to help with you in a bind.

I have made a simple printable for you that has this entire post in a simple and easy to display format. Place it on the fridge, in a frame or even make copies and hand out to everyone you think should read this!

This printable helps remind everyone they are needed!

Here is a sneak preview…

Letter to the Teacher of That Kid

Download Your Free Printable

      1. Download the checklist. You’ll get the printable, plus join my weekly newsletter! Click here to print your own Letter to the Teacher.
      2. Print. Any paper will do the trick, but card stock would be ideal.
      3. Plaster it in every teacher’s lounge and hand out at orientation. 

More Resources to Help That Kid

What You Don’t Know About That Kid

15 Tips for Calming an Angry Child

Teaching Social Skills When It Doesn’t Come Easy

5 Ways to Teach a Fidgety Kid

Decoding Every Day Behaviors

Join 10,000+ parents for this Masterclass: 5 Little-Known Mistakes Parents Make When Handling Meltdowns (and what to do instead)

Here’s what you’ll discover:
➡️  5 Myths for handling meltdowns -- See why common advice like “be consistent,” “set firm boundaries,” “use consequences,” and “connect more” can make the meltdowns worse -- and what to do instead
➡️  How to eliminate meltdowns, tantrums, and outbursts using the YOU-CUE (you’ll raise a happy, confident child with the skills to self-regulate and solve problems)
➡️  How to create a calm, peaceful home where everyone enjoys being together using the Magic Reset Button (if you’ve tried “connecting more” yet your family still can’t stand being around each other, you’ll love this)

Screen Shot 2020-04-03 at 6.19.51 PM

What you learn is proven over 8 years with 3,000+ parents -- including those whose kids have ADHD, ASD, ODD, SPD, and every other label under the sun.

68 thoughts on “A Letter to the Teacher of “That Kid” with the Difficult Behaviors”

  1. I love the THAT kid series. When I was working as a school psych, I always loved THAT kid. Granted, I got him in a 1:1 session and not with 29 other kids, too, but I loved working with him. And now, I’m a parent to THAT kid 🙂

    1. Lemon Lime Adventures

      That just made my heart smile!

  2. Cara

    THIS teacher says thank you. We know how much that kid needs us and how they tell us that in the most tiresome ways. It’s nice to hear it spoken aloud, to hear that we are needed through words.

    Thank you for THIS post.

    1. Lemon Lime Adventures

      You are very welcome! And thank you for being a teacher that cares enough to know that kid needs you!

  3. Sheere

    Thanks. I needed that & I will be sharing it w my coworkers. Big smile.

    1. Lemon Lime Adventures

      Thank you for sharing!

  4. Wren

    I have a special needs daycare. I have 2 of those kids. With one of them, I can see that I’m making a difference. With the other, I think, sometimes, that maybe I’m making a teensy bit of difference. The hard part is that I’ll never know for sure with him.

    That one is heading off to school in a few days. He will leave my care and go off to strangers. With luck and work, he will grow and thrive. Or maybe he won’t. What breaks my heart is that I will never know.

    1. Lemon Lime Adventures

      You have such a big heart! Is there a way to keep in touch with the family?

  5. Annamarie

    Wow this is so uplifting. I have been teaching for Gr 1,2 and 3 for 38 years. I would love to believe that I made a difference in some children’s lives, but I also think I made some mistakes in other’s like “The Kid”. Now I have a most gorgeous little grand child to look after and other grandchildren that I can help with schooling. Thank you for this wonderful piece.

  6. So heartfelt and touching. You amaze me with putting everything into words so beautifully. I know this will empower so many teachers to help THAT kid.

  7. Savannah

    As a 1st grade teacher, I thank you for posting this. Yes, “that kid” can be EXHAUSTING. Thank you for reminding me that he/she is part of the reason I chose to do this. We never know what a child struggles with, and this a beautiful reminder that they truly NEED us. LOVED this!

  8. Jim

    I have 28 students and 11 are “that kid”! Patience goes without saying, however, I still keep encouraging them. If the public had any idea what happens in today’s classrooms they would be very surprised. Teachers try their best every day, with very little support from families and administrators.

  9. I must say that this letter represents my ADHD son. With your permission, I would like to translate this letter into Malay language and send to my son’s class teacher and headmaster.

    P/S: im sobbing

    1. Lemon Lime Adventures

      I would love for this to be shared with your son’s teachers. Please just do not republish this anywhere. Thank you and hugs to you!

      1. I handed over the translated version to my son’s class teacher and the assistant headmaster since they both work closely with my son. I see extra effort and great improvement in my son. Our relationship with the teachers are great too.

        Thank you so much!

        Hugs n kisses from Malaysia

  10. Vikki

    i am a mother of That Kid. Please! How do I get a copy of this poam? A big thank you to the teachers and other caregivers of our “not so perfect” children.

    1. Lemon Lime Adventures

      Thank you Vikki! This is actually an original piece written by me. You are welcome to share the link with anyone you think should read it! And hugs to you, being a momma to that kid is not easy!

      1. Vikki

        You are talented! It goes without saying that I cried while reading it. I felt like you were talking about my sons, more so our oldest. If he had the words to speak it, I think he would say what you have written. Thank you. I will be sharing this with thier teachers. If it’s okey with you I would like to type it up to place in my I.E.P. Binder as a reminder to me that schools are trying their best, even if it doesn’t always feel like it. If not I respect that too. Thank you so much for the wonderful poam.

  11. Krysten T

    I love your support of teachers. I think the problem in our schools is that there are more and more of “That Kid.” It used to be that you had one “That Kid” in your classroom but anymore teachers are overwhelmed with those kids and their other responsibilities. We are asking teachers to “fix” students who are often the result of our broken society.

  12. nsc334

    This letter is just heartbraking! I am a mother to ‘that kid’ and I can see how much his teacher is just exhausted and at a lost sometimes. I know my child is difficult but am do very grateful to all the teachers who work with him everyday!

  13. Darla M.

    So true! However…what about the other 30 kids in the classroom? Don’t they need the teacher as well? Don’t they also deserve the time, the attention, the education? There are SO many cuts to our schools and so many school administrators that are either unwilling or unable to allot aide time to teachers. No teacher can give all that to a student yet educate all the other 30 students in a classroom by herself (himself). Every teacher wants to be the one to make a difference, but many classrooms are dealing with several special needs children, not just one, and as this continues the aide time is lessened in many schools year by year. As parents, pay attention to how much aide time your child’s teacher is getting, ask questions about that, and then advocate for more aides and aide time in your child’s classroom if you feel it’s not enough. Realize this one teacher is no more a super hero than you are, even if she wants to be.

    1. rmck

      This is absolutely what I feel as a teacher. There are too many of those kids in our classrooms who DEMAND focused attention. What about those other kids who are doing what they need to do? We need more support in classrooms to provide attention to “those kids” so that ALL KIDS get the attention the deserve.

  14. Thank you for sharing this! As a teacher who has struggled with a few of these types of kids, I now have “That Kid” as my own child. We are adopting our little boy and I am very thankful for his wonderful teachers who have accepted and embraced him for who he is. It’s amazing what love and patience can do for a child.

  15. lt923

    Thank you for this. I am grandmother to a precious 3 yr old who is That Kid. My tears are running. I just hope I can express to his future teachers how much we appreciate all their efforts.

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  17. Jnb

    We had an entire private school, from lead teacher to administration, give up on our “that kid”. Two days ago, we withdrew him and he’s so much happier – like there’s a weight lifted off his shoulders. He is a wonderful, smart, caring, amazing child and he’s not even 5. This experience is troubling to me. I keep thinking how he’s not even in the elementary school yet and been let down by the system. Thank you for this post. I may have to send it over to the school!

    1. Lemon Lime Adventures

      We had the exact same thing happen to us. That is why I stay home now and no longer teach in the classroom. I would love this to be shared with as many schools as possible!

  18. Pingback: What You DON'T Know About THAT Kid - Lemon Lime Adventures

  19. Angelia

    I just cried my eyes out. My brother was that kid. The one all the teachers dreaded. My brother is gone from this earth because he was that kid. I teach that kid every year. I only hope each year that I can get through to that kid.

  20. Pingback: Loving an Explosive Child | When Things Go Really Wrong - Lemon Lime Adventures

  21. This is true to some extent but the problems some kids face and bring with them to the classroom today are too big for the classroom teacher to handle. I work in an elementary school, K-4. Just last week a first grade teacher had to deal with a student who threatened to cut the neck of another student’s grandfather. Then he threatened several students. Then he threatened to punch the teacher in the face. Finally on a different day he ran and then became very violent with several members of the faculty and administration. He talks about ghost, demons and scary movies all the time and he has his own real guns at home. He is seven. Although we want to make a difference, we have to draw the line somewhere when the safety of the other students are concerned. Also “that kid” more often than not does not come with super supportive parents. The parents often do not want to believe there is a problem at all.

    1. Stephanie N.

      That is the biggest problem right there in my opinion..”The parents often do not want to believe there is a problem at all”…it is always said, “he/she does not act like this at home.” This is my second year as a Pre-K 3 teacher and I have heard that so much in my two years when we talk to parents about their disruptive behavior. We are blamed for having no patience or love for the child; Therefore, we are to blame for their child’s behavior. Reading these comments have been encouraging.

  22. pepesme

    As the parent of three kids who fall in the category of “that kid”, I have always been thankful for the teachers who loved them anyways. I would add that “that kid” doesn’t refuse to do work just to be difficult. They refuse to do it because they don’t think they can. Or they HAVE tried and they can’t do it. My oldest was just diagnosed with dyslexia this year in fifth grade. All but one of his teachers during his schooling before this year categorized him as a lazy learner because of his high CogAT scores. The one who got him was his fourth grade teacher, and even though she didn’t understand what was causing his issues with writing, she put every accommodation in place she was allowed (and some she wasn’t she allowed anyways) to help him succeed. She emailed me to check on his progress when I pulled our kids out to try charter school. And when I let her know about his diagnosis, she cried because she was so relieved he was finally getting the help he needed. I will be forever grateful for her care for my son even though he was “that kid”.

  23. Omma

    “Wake up call”,Eureka moments call it whatever!I just had mine. I teach toddlers……..words fail me right now but Thanks a bunch for this post….my job has just begun!

  24. Iris

    I am a Speech Langage Pathologist and I have worked as such in education for 20+ years. I want you parents and teachers to know that I love “that kid”, I appreciate “that kid” and I give as much of my time and resources as I can to help that kid. I will give up my ‘duty-free’ lunch and my planning time (ha.. Like I ever get that anyway) to eat with that kid in my office, play music, draw, nap, let him/her run in the gym, move, swing, etc. I will give that kid jobs to do, helping younger kids, cleaning up, recycling, sorting, helping me color pictures, organizing, whatever soothes that kid’s need for movement, order, structure, attention, praise and or purpose. I will feed them snacks, figure out sensory breaks, make a schedule, use visual cues, etc. I will think outside the box, change it if it doesn’t work, problem solve, ask my colleagues. I will go to bat for them, ask for resources, for training, technology, help. I will teach that kid life skills such as: use a tissue, wash your hands, eat only their own food, social skills: greet someone, say thank you, say I’m sorry, give a compliment, lose a game, take a turn, problem solving skills: ask for a break, ask for help, make a plan. I will buy them clothing, shampoo, or shoes if they need them. If I can’t afford it I will beg from family and friends. I model and teach these kids to use words..talk, tell me..speak up.. find your voice…tell me what you need, how you feel, what works for you.. If words fail we use PECS, gestures, technology, draw, write, color show me…. Then most importantly I listen, I take notes, I smile, I give real compliments (this is not hard, besides, these kids spot bs in a minute) praise efforts as well as success, I pay attention, I ask questions, I draw on interests. Mostly it works, not always of course, some kids are very hurt and need more than I can give them, but it’s rare that it doesn’t help somewhat, and when it makes school more successful or happier for that child, it is truly magical, I have seen amazing things happen, sometimes rather quickly and with small changes that altered that child’s world or his/her perception just enough or taught skills that it makes sense and he/she can thrive and learn. I don’t need to hear thank you, I do it because I want to, because it’s the right thing to do, because I can. Some people can’t do it and I get that, it’s okay, they are not wired that way. Those kids have taught me that life is quirky, funny, unexpected, beautiful and strange. In teaching them, over the years, I found my own voice, learned to speak up, shout, if needed, stand up, ask questions, show up, try again, look at it another way. You see, I mean it when I say I love that kid. I love the weird kids, the ones who talk to themselves, stand too close, the nose pickers, the ones with poor hygiene, the socially awkward, the ones who are loud, who break crayons and make messes, and can’t follow directions. The kickers and the cursers, the sore losers, the name callers, the back talkers and the kids that never get picked to help the teacher. The ones who can’t speak clearly, or at all, who misunderstand directions, lose their belongings, have messy handwriting, have to miss recess, forgot their homework, made bad choices. The ones who have tantrums, curse, rip their paper, get kicked off the bus, sent home, have never been invited to a friend’s house. The kids from any and all walks of life. The kids with every acronym and diagnosis: ADD, ADHD, OCD, ODD, PTSD, anxiety, sensory processing disorder, developmental delay, learning disability, dyslexia, selective mutism, autism, Aspergers, PDD. Kids with cleft palate, allergies, hearing loss, low blood sugar, visual perceptual problems, cerebral Pasley, kids who have seizures, take meds, who are sleep deprived, depressed, worried, grieving. The kids who don’t feel comfortable in their own skin, process information in a different way or don’t understand social expectations. I love them because I have yet to meet one who wasn’t wonderful and beautiful in a way that you just don’t see every day. I love them because they made me look at beauty and wealth and a life well lived a different way. These kids are my people, and I have yet to meet one who hasn’t surprised me in some way with his/her gifts or talents. .. ..Be it art, music, kindness, friendship, work ethic, special knowledge, animal skills, humor, healing, poetry, cartooning, drama, writing/telling stories, athletics, dance, compassion, responsibility, community service, forgiveness, flexibility, loyalty, hope, spirituality, common sense, appreciation, resilience.

    Many keep in touch over the years, they must have sensed a kindred spirit, because I still get Christmas cards and entertaining emails, sometimes a drop in visit. Some have said I was the only one who loved them, or listened to them, thought they were smart or made them feel special. They still make me laugh and cry. “That kid” is now a graphic artist, an oncology nurse, a published author (technical manuals), an engineer, an NFL football player, a martial arts teacher (married last year, baby on the way), there are college students, a volunteer at nursing homes, a sign language teacher who is also a juggler, an artist who works with blown glass who is raising his little brother.
    I know this is long, but if you will read a little farther, the rest is about my family.

    My son is another version of “that kid”…. Needy, anxious, worried, impulsive, sensory challenges, OCD, perfectionist, with extreme phobias, requiring frequent reassurance and attention… Overall exhausting. He is also very social, funny, entertaining, polite, kind, witty, bright, compassionate, competitive, a gifted athlete, I love him fiercely and just how he is and I knew simple strategies that worked for him. He is a natural with special needs students, treats them like peers, and shares my ability to appreciate their gifts. He is now 18. Over the years, he had significant challenges in school off and on due to his quirky behavior and all the things I listed above. Many teachers did not understand him, saw his behavior as attention seeking and purposefully disruptive, and were unwilling to make accommodations. Some liked him okay, but didn’t not understand him. He did not have an IEP. His father and I attended meetings, made suggestions, eventually switched schools. We tried to enroll him in alternative school and they would not take him. Last year my son dropped out of high school his junior year. The anxiety had escalated to panic attacks, the medication we tried and counseling were not helping and it seemed like overnight he slipped into a deep depression. He lost contact with his friends and quit playing sports, rarely left the house. I was heartbroken and felt I failed this wonderful young man. After working with his doctor, we finally found the right medication and he is planning on getting his high school degree at a local community college, then has dreams to attend college and follow in my footsteps.
    *sorry for any errors, I typed this in the middle of the night

    1. I wish, so much, that you were one of our kid’s teachers. He is in fifth grade, is socially awkward, hates sports, doesn’t like to play outside, doesn’t have play dates, and started complaining last year that when he talks, other people just ignore him and walk away. He does have a few friends, but most children seem to be repelled by his awkwardness and childish behavior. He is the smallest, shortest kid in the class. He floats through life in his own little world, and if he could just fast forward to adult life as a video game designer or artist, that’d be great – but we somehow have to get him through eight more years of school without him falling through the cracks or being bullied. He and his disabled mother live with me (a relative) in the rural Midwest with no after school transportation, and all those lovely services, programs and accommodations seem to be nonexistent here. No luck getting an IEP, either. He’s one of Those Kids, but he doesn’t really disrupt much, he just contentedly sits there, ignores everyone, and draws all day if he can get away with it. He’s failing things because he doesn’t remember to turn them in, or he doesn’t understand or follow the directions completely, or he doesn’t pay attention and realize he needs to do something. I see him falling through the cracks, and I apparently can do nothing to stop it. It breaks my heart.

  25. Tracey

    I have that kid at home thankfully he’s not like that at school. For 7 years I have been fighting the system to get someone to listen and understand what we both go through on a daily basis and still no one is listening. It’s sad to think the only time action will be taken is when he ends up in jail because at the moment that’s where he is heading. I will never give up on him even though there are many days when I have wanted to.
    As a teacher I have also had those children in my class and it is the best feeling in the world to make a breakthrough with them when every other teacher before you has written them off. Yes it may take time and effort to make a breakthrough but when you do it’s the best feeling in the world to know you have made a difference in their lives. Every child deserves that!

    1. Tracey,
      Do not give up! I am the Mom of that kid too. Everyone except me gave up on him. I knew what he was capable of. I knew how smart he was. I kept believing in him. When his teachers pushed him through to the next year, it broke my heart because I knew it was to give him to the next group. Then………..He graduated High School and it all changed. He enrolled in college. He got a job. He is taking 5 classes and has all A’s. He has control which is all he wanted. He told me he felt controlled and trapped in public school. He likes college because he is allowed to be himself and have control of his own life. I am glad I never gave up or stopped pushing him. I would do it all over again too.

  26. Daphne

    As I’ve fought “that kid” for the last hour over seemingly nothing, I needed this. I truly love these children and I need to show them that more instead of them always seeing the frustrated side.

  27. Lori

    I’ve been the mother of that kid for the last 30 years, unfortunately once they hit the age of 18-21 they outgrow the educational system and end up in the penal system, where my son has spent most of his 20 for the crime of statutory rape, although he was older physically the girl was more mature than he was, this was taken into consideration and he was put on probation, but trying to make that kid follow all the rules of probation now turned into parole, for a total of 2 years, and the rules for a registered sex offender is difficult the longest he has been able to go is 9 months, and if you think sociciety doesn’t understand that kid now, wait till they age out, it’s even harder. and more agonizing. as you no longer have the control you once did. and it’s even scaryier as I’m now a grandmother to an even worse that Kid, I fear for his future.

  28. Amber

    To that kid, the paraeducators that have been helping the teacher in your classroom, we want you to know that we love you for who you are. We have been hit and screamed at, but we love you just the same. We try to teach you that your words have power. We try to teach you that when you’re upset, take a deep breath and blow out the candles. We had found the little nugget inside you that makes you loveable. We spend the last few weeks of school, worrying about what kind of summer you will have. We pray and hope daily that next year will be better for you. We will spend the summer missing those random moments when we get to see you smile or the hugs we get. We will miss the little games we play at recess that always bring that smile we crave. We will miss you over the summer, but we know we will see you again soon and hope for another hug and smile.

    Your sped para,

    Ms. Amber

    1. Lemon Lime Adventures

      This brought tears to my eyes!!! I get a LOT of comments! This hit me hard! You are a gem my dear!

  29. Pingback: Keeping the fact that looking for the positive and praising that, will even help the more challenging child - Braithwaite

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  31. Bonfreecs

    I really loved this article! I have this “that” kid who always disrupts me! But because of him i learn to love my work!

  32. Joseph Morotti

    As an educator of 29 years, I believe that all teachers (hopefully) self-reflect as to the importance of their daily tasks. With that being said; it is imperative that those at the state and federal levels recognize that the focus should be on the students/teachers. Time must be allotted for those relationships to develop and flourish. In a book written by David Brooks called the Social Animal, the focus is on understanding the culture in which individuals are raised in. It is only in being to understand the culture in which an individual is reared…..can we truly understand the unconscious behaviors of individuals. Very nice articles to remind ourselves of the role that we play in a child’s life!!!!!

  33. Joseph Morotti

    meant to say “in being able to understand.”……in my previous comment regarding this article!!!!

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  36. Rebecca

    Let me say this made me so emotional because I was a parent of “that kid” I was that mom who dreaded every single parent teacher conference , who dreaded every time the phone rang praying it wasn’t the school again. Who cried a lot and prayed even more that he would just get it and at least pass.and I’m happy to say that because of a wonderful patient teacher who was ever so patient and caring and loving and took extra 2 mins with him after explaining it too the class and including him in extra duties in the class and praise so much praise !! My son not only passed but is thriving and doing well and she was able to pass on all the pointers to future teachers for the next few years !!! And now finally in his 6th grade year my son is now officially the former that kid and his now able to focus and function in the classroom like any other child ……thank u teachers thank u !

  37. Laura

    I am a teacher at a school for children with special needs, and though my class is small, they all are at times “that kid.” I feel so fortunate to have such a small class, to give each one the attention he deserves. Thank you for this post.

  38. Jocelyn

    This is the reason I decided to be a teacher. Despite all the negatives I have heard, despite others telling me how much I am going to regret it. I am determined to make a difference.

  39. Ann

    This isn’t what teachers or parents need to hear more of. This highlights the problem of entitlement. The teacher and the other children shouldn’t have to be stressed and depleted every day because of one child. Why does that kid take priority over all the others in the class? The others are most certainly missing out when the teacher can’t get through a lesson or an activity again because of that kid. I recently had to take over a pre K class after that kid has a violent outburst. The rest of the children were rattled, they were scared, asking why he gets so angry. One boy thought it was because that kid wanted his monkey and had taken on responsibility for the incident, which had nothing to do with his monkey. That kid had tipped a shelf missed falling on another’s head by a hair. That kid has no right to destroy the sense of security of the others in the classroom, no right to disrupt and interfere with their education, no right to hit , kick, choke, punch, taunt and otherwise make miserable. When I had to step into that room and see those scared and confused faces those are the ones I cry for. What we need more of is accountability for that kid and his or her actions.

  40. erica

    Thank you for this beauitful poem…I’m a mom to “that kid”. I feel we were recently let down by the school system. After several meetings, going through the whole chain of command at my son’s elementary school. I had to make clear, that I am my son’s advocate, I’m committed to his education to do everything possible so he can succeed. I had to asked the principal where is that “passion” because I did not see that among his staff.
    But, little by little , it’s getting better at my son’s school. Not only do I communicate with the teacher but also the counselor, school nurse, vice principal, principal, office staff etc…it’s a whole team involved which I appreciate because they all make a difference ?

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  42. gail

    Wow… This is so amazing. As a teacher to many of these That Kid, I want you parents to know they are my favorites. I love them and they are extremely special and rewarding to me. As a parent to two of these That Kids I want you to know I understand.

  43. I can relate to That Kid. When I was in 7th grade I was like him and my teachers name was Miss Marie Schuster. I needed her and I know at times I got her at wits end but she was always there to help me. She did more for me than any teacher I ever had and yet today I am so thankful to her. My regret was that I never got the chance to tell her. So Teachers, hang in there with That Kid.

  44. Mary

    I can’t stop crying.. these past few weeks have been so challenging for me with “that kid” and I always try to remember think about what he’s going through that is causing this. Thank you for reminding me that Im not alone!

  45. Pingback: I’ve learned a lesson | my life as a teacher

  46. kathy

    I have shared my teaching and life with many of ‘that kid’ who have touched my heart. They are the ones who lift you up the most and fill your soul with bubbles. Today, I received a phone call from the elder sister of my most recent ‘that kid’. She was phoning to let me know that he had been placed in a ‘special class’ in his new school and she wanted me to know as she knew I cared.

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