That Kid.

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Everyone knows That Kid.

The one who started causing havoc the minute he came into the world (odds are he slapped a nurse in the maternity ward).

His poor parents have convinced themselves there was some sort of mix up at the hospital, and they brought home the wrong child.

On several occasions they’ve even tried to give him away.

To no avail.

I shouldn’t say “him”, but let’s be honest.  99% of the time it’s a him.Dennis the Menance. (could be a girl… actually, no it couldn’t)

If you don’t know the student I’m talking about, you aren’t in education.

Or you’re a liar.

Every school district in the world has That Kid.

His parents couldn’t leave him with a babysitter because he always attacked them.  Or ran away (I mean the babysitter, not the kid).

He got kicked out of preschool.

On the first day.

He’s the one who caused untold emotional damage when he first stepped foot on school grounds.

Sadly, registration will never be the same.

After meeting him, the secretaries immediately called the kindergarten teacher and said… “Retire.  Retire now.  Before it’s too late.”

That Kid is the one who does exactly the opposite of what his teacher tells him (which makes me think you should just tell him to do the opposite of what you want).

He doesn’t follow directions, he can’t stand still or be quiet, and he touches everyone and everything.

He also cuts in line, gets in trouble in the bathroom, cafeteria, and on the playground. 

And can’t find his pencil.

Or pen, papers, book bag, coat, locker, or classroom.

He always needs a Kleenex or wants to go to the bathroom.

He consistently asks you a question about the exact thing you just explained.

He makes indescribable animal-like noises at the most inappropriate times.

Teachers cringe at the mere mention of him.

The pray years in advance they don’t see his name on their class list.

They are willing to promise the principal, superintendent, secretary, the custodian, and God they will do anything… anything at all if That Kid isn’t in their class.

And guess what happens.

That kid is always in their class.

And when he is in your class, everything you’ve heard about him isn’t true.

He’s much, much worse.

Now you pray harder then ever.  You pray he will be gone on Mondays.

And Fridays.

And field trip days.

And when you have a sub.

And every other day.

But he never misses school.

Unprepared, but he’s always there.

It’s like you’re being punished.

But you aren’t.

You see… every class has That Kid.

Just like every class has a Tall Kid, Smart Enough to Be a Doctor Kid, Athletic Kid, Mortal Lock to Be Prom Queen Kid, Thinks They’re Always Sick But They’re Not Kid, Only Child Kid, Cool But Doesn’t Know It Kid, Shy Girl Kid, and Funny Enough to One Day Be on Saturday Night Live Kid.

Classes are always different, yet they are always the same.

If That Kid happens to move out of your school district (he won’t, I’m just using this as an example), there is another That Kid waiting.

Impatiently, but he’s waiting.

You see, there has to be a That Kid in every class.

It’s the law.

If you don’t believe, ask any teacher if they have a That Kid.

Because they will all say yes.  Right after they stop twitching.

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17 Responses to “That Kid.”


  1. nblumengarten
    on Apr 24th, 2010
    @ 7:18 pm

    That Kid from 4 years ago just got arrested for assault. Hopefully That Kid from this year fairs better.

    Michael Smith Reply:

    @nblumengarten, Let’s hope you are retired before he reproduces and you get “That Kid’s Kid” in your class.


  2. Teach_J (Robert Courtemanche)
    on Apr 24th, 2010
    @ 7:24 pm

    Just try not to be too hard on “That Kid.” I was that kid, my ADHD son IS that kid, at least some of the time he is. I eventually fell in with the right crowd and ceased being that kid. And now I’m a teacher. And yes, I have that kid in my class too. A few of them have gone on to make me pretty proud. Don’t give up on that kid – he may surprise you. I know my son does.


  3. GasStationCappuccino
    on Apr 24th, 2010
    @ 7:25 pm

    And what is worse is when you are both a teacher, and the parent of That Kid!


  4. Renee
    on Apr 24th, 2010
    @ 9:11 pm

    That kid is THE KID who needs THAT teacher to put aside their judgement and be a friend because 9 times out of 10 THAT kid just needs someone to care.
    Although I did laugh the ENTIRE time I read your blog.
    I was THAT kid and now I am THAT teacher.


  5. Michelle Howell-Martin
    on Apr 25th, 2010
    @ 5:33 am

    I teach in a school full of That Kid. I have 8 in my room personally. When one transfers to another school, the other school invariably calls and says, “Aren’t you all glad that one is now here?” and our reply is always, “We have 10 more ready to fill the slot!”


  6. Sherry Crofut
    on Apr 25th, 2010
    @ 8:21 am

    My son was That Kid, so I try to be patient with each That Kid I get in class. I have to tell you though – this year’s is making me count down to the last day of classes. I am trying to love him and be patient, but maybe I am just getting too old for this. I pray he has young and loving teachers next year and that one of them can direct his energy in a positive way. I’ve tried…sigh!


  7. justwanttoteach
    on Apr 25th, 2010
    @ 10:40 am

    Unfortunately I am a teacher of more than one That Kid this year. I guess I won the lottery, so to speak. I can honestly say I believe I have made a difference with two of them…next years teachers can thank me later. But one still remains a thorn in my side. I cannot say where I find my energy to deal with him every day…sometimes I feel like I am on autopilot. I never know what side of That Kid I am going to get that day, or where the day will end up. Not only do I have That Kid in my classroom, but I also come home to my very own That Kid. Maybe that is why I just can’t give up on my student…even if I am counting down the days.


  8. Olwyn Hughes
    on Apr 25th, 2010
    @ 1:09 pm

    I have a THAT kid in my class this year, too. Thing is, I had him last year as well and chose to keep him. Why? Because I knew if he went on to another teacher he would stay THAT kid (preconceived notions of teachers and all that) but if he continued on in a familiar environment he might, just might mature enough and feel safe enough to grow up a little. And I was right. YEAH!!!! Now, whenever he does something that THAT kid would do, I tell him to leave that one at home and bring the one that we have come to know to school. He will always be the kid that goes for the laugh by interrupting the whole class, the kid who thinks outside the box etc. But you know what? That is what I love the most about him. I just hope and pray that next year’s teacher will appreciate his quirkiness as much as I do.

    Michael Smith Reply:

    @Olwyn Hughes, Great story. Thanks.


  9. George Couros
    on Apr 25th, 2010
    @ 3:04 pm

    If you take two minutes every day to talk to “that kid” about what they like and things that they do, maybe they won’t be “that kid” for much longer.

    Michael Smith Reply:

    @George Couros, Simple. Genius.


  10. nbrach
    on Apr 25th, 2010
    @ 3:17 pm

    “That Kid” is your brother-in-law”, and you know which one I am talking about… the one that is building the speakers that will blow the roofs off of all the houses in the neighborhood. The one with the heart that is bigger than his ability to drive us all crazy.


  11. Melanie
    on Apr 25th, 2010
    @ 3:54 pm

    That Kid is the one I like the most, but never let him/her know it, and it can be a girl! He/she is the one that challenges me to be a better teacher. Anyone can teach the good kids. To be a great teacher you must teach all the kids, including That one. :D Every day I ask my God to show himself to me in That Kid. That is what I look for in each of my students. Who they have the potential to be, not necessarily who they are right in this moment, because I know I can choose to be That Kid in any given moment too!


  12. Diane
    on Apr 25th, 2010
    @ 4:52 pm

    I had two kids like that last fall during student teaching-one boy and one girl. I made it my personal mission to kill them with kindness as much as I could, though there were days that I could have cheerfully strangled both of them.


  13. Wiseman
    on Apr 26th, 2010
    @ 11:17 pm

    Great blog!


  14. teach5
    on Apr 29th, 2010
    @ 7:57 pm

    Got three of them this year in my kindergarten class, two of them are girls. Of course that might be because I have 30 kids and 20 of them are girls…….

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