A Bronx elementary school teacher explains how she and a co-teacher tackled their students’ behavior problems, child by child:

“He’s in his zone,” my co-teacher would say. We could tell what kind of day it was going to be as soon as he slithered into the classroom while supporting himself on the cubbies. The glassy no-contact eyes, the tilted head, the muffled voice. We knew it was going to be one of those crawling on the floor, saying no every five minutes, doing whatever you want kind of days. So we’d monitor and say, “Do some work, get a sticker; get five stickers, go to computer.” It worked. Meltdown averted for the time being…

About our First Person series:

First Person is where Chalkbeat features personal essays by educators, students, parents, and others trying to improve public education. Read our submission guidelines here.