The Worst Third Grader Ever

rotten kidFriday was the last day of school for me.  All in all it was a pretty good year.  I had really well behaved, intelligent students who enjoyed learning…For the most part. 

The one sore spot for the whole year was this one boy, “Austin,” who quite honestly was probably the worst student I’ve ever had the misfortune of teaching in my 32-years of experience.

It wasn’t that he was unintelligent.  In fact he was almost too smart – and not in a good way. I really did not like this child at all.  I know that is a terrible thing to say, but he was just awful.

What made me dislike “Austin” so much were the things that he did.  I’m going to just give you a quick sample of what was part of his daily behavior pattern and you can guess as to why he rubbed me the wrong way.

Constant lying.  The kid had a hard time ever telling the truth.  It didn’t matter what it was; either an assignment he didn’t turn in or when answering a question about his poor behavior – he would lie about it at first.  After additional interrogation, he might relent and fess up to the truth – or he might not.

He was a gaslighter.  This boy was not smart enough to intentionally gaslight me, but he sure was good at it.  He would manipulate the facts of a situation in such a fashion that I’d come away thinking I was the crazy one, doubting my abilities to teach or that I’d misinterpret the situation and/or his behavior.  (By the way, during the many parental conferences he caused me to initiate, it was obvious that  his parents were quite good at this as well.)

Denials.  There were too many instances to count where I’d catch him in a lie, catch him stealing, hitting another kid or otherwise doing something that he shouldn’t have been, where he would sit there and look me square in the eyes and deny it – even if I saw him myself, or the evidence was sitting on his desk.  He wouldn’t even think about it, it came naturally.

Lack of responsibility.  Admittedly, this boy was smart.  He has a lot of potential as long as he uses his God-given talents in a productive manner.  But he frustrated me to death because he would regularly not turn in homework, not take letters home for his parents and not finish the simplest of in-class projects and tests.  He just didn’t give a darn.  It was his way or no way and nobody was going to tell him what he could or couldn’t do.

A real smarty-pants.  Now, I use the words smarty-pants, whereas Doug might use the phrase a$$hole.  He was a little $#!+.  He was mean.  He picked on the other kids.  He verbally abused other kids – especially those who might have had some sort of learning or physical disability.  He had no friends as a result.  Yet he continued day after day with the same destructive behaviors.

He had narcissistic tendencies.  This boy was as vain a child as I’ve ever seen at that age.  Every hair was always perfectly in place.  He had to use a bathroom on a different floor because the mirror in the one on our floor was broken and he couldn’t comb is hair.  In addition to that, he regularly displayed the following narcissistic characteristics:

  • Inability to empathize
  • Expects special treatment
  • Feeling of entitlement
  • Inability to admit that he is wrong
  • Inability to receive criticism

He is passive aggressive.  Keep in mind that he and I mentally and verbally sparred all year long.  On the last day of school, his gifts to me were a $15 gift card to Starbucks (very nice) along with a small tapestry that read:  “I will not yell in class.  I will not throw things.  I will not tease other kids.  I am the Teacher.” 

My jaw dropped when I read that.  If that’s not passive aggressive, I’m not sure what is.  (Granted, I’m sure that mommy was behind this gift.)   

He could turn his poor behavior on and off as needed.  On the last day of school I asked Doug to come into my class for an ice cream party.  One reason I did so was for him to finally meet “Austin.”  Now, keep in mind I probably had an “Austin” story to share with Doug every day of the school year when I got home.  His behavior was constantly bad throughout most of each day.  Now wouldn’t you know it, he was a perfect little angel when Doug was in my class.  He would do the same during parental meetings or when another parent or teacher was ever in my room.  So unfortunately, Doug wasn’t able to witness what I had to deal with all year long.

I’m sure there is more I could write about “Austin” and I’m sure there are multiple studies buried in many the university library that describe this type of child to a “T”, but I think I’ve provided enough clues.

Can you guess the type of person this boy reminds me of?

Yep, he reminded me of Doug when he was involved in his EA.

I guess one question I still have is…

Does “Austin” act much like a cheater does, or do cheaters act like third graders?  Hmmm…

 

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15 Responses to The Worst Third Grader Ever

  1. CBb May 26, 2015 at 9:09 pm #

    Great analysis or comparison between a cheater and a child.

    They act exactly the same.

    Deny, abuse, lie, cheat, deflect, gaslight …….

    All the spouses who live with a cheater can attest to this.

    I am lucky b/c my CH came out of the fog after 18 months. I wonder if this kid in the story ever will. Any hope?

  2. TrustingGod May 26, 2015 at 10:39 pm #

    I don’t know, I think “Austin” was acting like a cheater–lacking in morality, selfish, dropping that behavior in front of people he needed to impress or didn’t know how to manipulate yet. Not all third graders act that way, so I can’t say that cheaters act like third graders.

    You have really made me hesitant to reenter the teaching field. I’m not sure I can handle that kind of behavior yet.

    • Linda May 27, 2015 at 8:38 am #

      Sorry about that TrustingGod. Don’t let my little rant dissuade you from reentering the teaching field. As I said, my other kids were really great and more than made up for Austin’s behavior.

  3. Alice May 27, 2015 at 3:11 pm #

    I’m curious if the parents blame the school (and everyone else) for Austins behavior or do they take responsibility for it?

    • Linda May 27, 2015 at 4:43 pm #

      Hi Alice, His father didn’t blame anyone and understands that his son has “issues” yet he doesn’t spend any time with him and chooses to punish him instead. The mother is very passive aggressive and feels that her baby is perfect and that everyone and everything else is to blame. She has told me in our many conferences that he has no friends, isn’t allowed over to anyone’s house, nor is anyone allowed to come over to their house, he spends a good deal of time home alone and he pretty much is placed in front of video games rather than interact with them or other people. It’s no wonder he has issues, but they (especially she) just wash their hands of any responsibility.

      • Kathleen May 29, 2015 at 1:58 pm #

        This kid sounds like a good candidate for some therapy. It would be tremendous to turn him around. I feel bad for him.

  4. TrustingGod May 27, 2015 at 6:08 pm #

    Linda,

    It’s those conferences with parents that remind me of the perils of teaching, not so much the one bad kid. I’ve had way too many of those.

  5. Cher May 27, 2015 at 10:54 pm #

    My husband had these narcissistic tendencies and more during his three year online emotional affair. I was so confused and hurt from his extreme charactor change.
    The treatment I recieved during that time hurts me even more than the actual affair, which was bad enough. He was sucking the life out of me and our marriage. He went from secret emails and calls to boldly messaging with her on ‘Whats App’ 24 hours a day.
    He gaslighted me the first time I confronted him. He continued as if nothing happened and wouldn’t admit to what he was doing until I scrounged up hard evidence, so easy with today’s technology and he stopped.
    He finaly came out of the fog little by little. He is so remorseful and can’t believe how; lost, sick and crazy he was. He is back to his loving caring ways and has never treated me better.
    I just can’t understand how drastically a person can change and stay in that narcissistic state of affair fog for so long.

    • Kathleen May 29, 2015 at 12:26 pm #

      My husband committed adultery with a co worker thirty-two years ago. It started as a friendship then she started showing up out side of work when she knew he would be with the kids and I would be working. I found them together at the racquetball club when I went to pick up my youngest son (6) and I could smell it. She was there with him and her spouse was not around. She had been chasing him for months. When I confronted him when he came home he got belligerent and told me I was crazy. He however tried to avoid her at work but she persisted in wanting to know what was wrong so he told her that I accused him of something going on with them. She acknowledged that indeed something was going on. That was all that it took. He lied and said that his wife had a bad temper, he could never win an argument and if this marriage blew up maybe THEY could become a couple. She then proceeded to get him to meet her at a local park at lunchtime and brought the adultery to the physical level where she kissed him and he kissed her back. Then it began. He needed to blame someone and it was me. He met her outside of work after work many times for the physical part to continue (he still states she always initiated the meetings). I had hired an attorney by this time. I had found two letters written by her outlining a plan to get an apartment and move in together so I stopped c o mingling my money (i made much more money than he did) and kept my bonuses in yet another separate account. I got him to couples therapy only to have him bail after two sessions (he was still seeing her). I finally told him to get out. I kicked him out on a Friday morning and told him when I came home from work on Saturday not to be there. He wasn’t. He went and stayed on our boat. He was in a depression and being a passive aggressive depressive is not a good thing so I checked on him daily. I kept asking him why he would trade down (she wasn’t even pretty ) and why was he throwing his life away…. no good answers. He finally started therapy on his own but continued to see her. He was out of the house a week until I finally relented and let him come home. I put the marriage back together with no help from him. He never apologized until decades later. He was like a teenager . He got transferred to another office and she changed companies a year later (no doubt looking for fresh meat) and that was that. Until 2000 when she called him at work. He was shocked. She called him in 2002 to tell him that she was separated (I guess the “dead marriage” of 1983 wasn’t so dead…until 2002) She then called him a few other times and then finally called him in 2005 looking for a recommendation for a job with a firm… he gave it and I was furious with him. This is a guy who can’t say no. She called him a few more times during the 2000s until 2013 (yep, still calling). His therapist had told him that it was bad to ever talk to a former mistress and it was very bad for his marriage. HE finally shut her down in 2013. Whether her Firefighter/EMT ever knew about this adultery is an open question. My attorney wanted it exposed and stupid me was still trying to protect my husband and his job. If I ran into her husband today I would certainly not hesitate to expose her for the adulterous slut she is.

      He has finally taken responsibility for his behavior and admits that it was the biggest mistake of his life. He never told her that so I have no solace in the words.

      In retrospect I realize today that I should never have saved this marriage. It was a huge mistake. Although I love him I have no respect for him at all because he has no backbone. He is a weak man brought up in a household of women and he acts more like a woman than a man. When your husband doesn’t have the balls to stand up for you this might be the wrong husband. I know that when he is gone I will miss him but I will not miss having someone stand up for me because the only one who has ever stood up for me is me. Not what I signed up for all those years ago.

      • Kathleen May 29, 2015 at 12:51 pm #

        Sorry for getting so far off the track. The note writing at work, the gas lighting when confronted with physical evidence (notes), the lying, deflecting (my fault), and all the other behaviors show the immaturity that seems to always be present in these situations. The fog gets so thick that there is no clear headedness. I was amazed at how his adultery became my fault. I started to believe it and it was only after getting into therapy that it was brought to my attention that he was committing adultery – not me. The anger from him toward me was a complete surprise. He went from being a calm complacent partner into an aggressive bully who had not one kind word for me. At one point I had to take him aside and point blank told him that he could not speak to me in that manner in front of our children .

        • Kathleen May 29, 2015 at 1:00 pm #

          I realized much later that in order to fuel his adultery he HAD to be angry at me. If not he would be angry at himself for doing such a stupid thing.

  6. theresa May 28, 2015 at 11:25 pm #

    This was a great analogy.
    I wonder if this child is
    A sociopath
    A spoiled little beast
    just a poor soul who is
    a product of his environment
    an extreme manifestation of ADD
    (Or some other mental illness)

    (I feel sorry for him. His future looks pretty grim, but I would not like to be his teacher next year.

    I’m in the camp of the cheater acts like a child. You know like lying, no impulse control, irresponsible, self absorbed.

  7. theresa May 29, 2015 at 1:07 am #

    Sorry, to be continued.
    I remember vividly the horror the time of raging hormones,
    He was acting like an adolescent. Goddamn it, I was dealing with this penance yet again!
    Nothing I said was of any interest to him (them). They put me on mute. Nothing I tried to do was right.
    A teenager can reek havoc in the home during hls timeI Everything revolves around them.
    In the solar system of xxxxxxx(my husband) each celestial body had it’s own attributes, fulfilled his own needs.
    He was the sun The pecking order for his satellites was,, the AP was Mars. The kids were the moon. I was Pluto. The farther you are from the sun the less relevant you are to him.
    There is another post on here about the cheater acting like a teenager during the affair.
    It had the view points from both sides.
    I’ll find the post and come back.
    The behavior would not have been ok when you were a teenager. It is not ok now. I should not have to live this a fourth time.

    Linda rant away!

  8. TheFirstWife May 29, 2015 at 1:39 pm #

    The anger aspect is spot on. Many BS attest to this.

    The CS knows it is the wrong choice but justifies it. Without the anger they would have to own their behavior & choices

    W/out the anger they would be faced with guilt
    With the anger they can continue to justify

    Call it mid life crisis or whatever you want it is just plain wrong.

  9. Broken2 June 10, 2015 at 5:21 pm #

    The child needs professional help. He sounds ADD or ADHD. He will only get worse and grow up with severe social and emotional issues.

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