Lost It Today

Discussion in 'General Education' started by mariecurie, Oct 29, 2018.

  1. mariecurie

    mariecurie Companion

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    Oct 29, 2018

    I reacted without thinking today and responded inappropriately when a student called me a name. How do you all keep your cool and maintain professionalism in situations with defiant students? This student is constantly undermining my authority to the point where I feel powerless. Hence the reaction when they called me a b-tch. Not my finest moment, and I immediately regretted the interaction. I just wanted to vent, but advice would be appreciated.
     
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  3. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Oct 29, 2018

    You can remind yourself a few things.
    1. What if this whole thing went up to the principal and there was a parent / student / principal / teacher meeting? How would it look if you, as an educator stooped to the level of the student and cussed him out in return or said something out of line? Wouldn't it look better if you calmly responded "please leave my classroom now"
    If you keep this in mind, you might be able to think twice.
    2. I also always reminded myself that I can't let a teenager get my upset. They can say whatever they want, it won't hurt me, but the consequences will definitely hurt them. If I stay neutral and not at fault, the consequences will even be better. If I respond negatively, the school might decide to just let it all go so they don't look bad.
     
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  4. Pi-R-Squared

    Pi-R-Squared Groupie

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    Oct 29, 2018

    Takes practice to remember what Fred Jones preaches...

    Calm is strength. Upset is weakness.
     
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  5. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Fanatic

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    Oct 29, 2018

    While I like to think of myself as a calm person, as a man if I saw some student call a female teacher, a b-tch, I would probably go through the roof. I sure hope this child got suspended if not, then something has to be done. No one--not a student, not an adult, and definitely not a teacher should have to put up with being called a b-tch no matter how tough the school is. To me that is not defiance...that is abuse.
     
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  6. mariecurie

    mariecurie Companion

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    Oct 29, 2018

    What I said was, "if you continue with this attitude, you'll see how big of a b-tch I can be." So, on a level of 1 to 10, how inappropriate was that? I talked to admin right away about the conversation.
     
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  7. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Fanatic

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    Okay, that is different. I thought a student said that. I am glad you went to admin right away. Yes, saying that was inappropriate, but what saved you is how you handled it afterwards. Realizing you made a mistake and going to admin right away was far better than how most would have handled it.

    Like Pi-R squared says, Fred Jones says calm is strength. I had more problems with anger earlier in my teaching. One thing that helps me is having a notebook handy. When I am upset, I walk over to my notebook on my desk. I make myself write my thoughts on my notebook first and then I read it. I usually realize, "Oh I better not say this!" and I don't. No one sees my notebook but me. This method has never led to a bad result. If I feel I can't walk away from the student, I count to 10. I realize waiting costs me nothing and leads to much better decisions.
     
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  8. Backroads

    Backroads Fanatic

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    Oct 29, 2018

    I actually saw somewhere this was part of a teacher's classroom management system. Not a big part, and it was mostly for her the reasons you stated, but she discovered that when the fit hit the shan and all that, going to write in a notebook worked. She could write to calm herself down, she could actually write down what happened, she could write anything, she could even just pretend to write. What she discovered was the fact she was writing in a notebook no one got to see tended to quiet down many a student.
     
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  9. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

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    Oct 29, 2018

    It took guts to talk to your principal. What did he/she say about it?

    I find "We'll discuss that after class" works with a lot of situations. It gives you time to think about your response and also prevents arguments (even if only one sided) in front of the class.
     
  10. mariecurie

    mariecurie Companion

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    Oct 29, 2018

    The student called me a b-tch and that was my reply.
     
  11. Loomistrout

    Loomistrout Devotee

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    A problem with keeping your cool is situations like this often catch us off guard. When provoked you will always have a fight-flight reaction. You can't control it or will it not to happen. It's biology. In nature you would run or fight. We like to think of ourselves as being a little bit more civilized. Even though we may want to clock the kid it's frowned upon by the higher ups. In an attempt to dissipate some of the adrenaline coursing through our body we tend to do the next best thing. Our mouth opens. Since we are no longer in the thinking part of the brain what comes out is usually primitive.

    At Jones' seminar we practiced remaining calm when provoked with backtalk. One teacher played role of student while partner (teacher) attempted to remain calm. Directions to student was to blast the teacher with every type of backtalk one experienced and/or could think of. These ran the gamut from denial, "I wasn't doin' nuttin'!" to personal, "You are the worst teacher I've ever had!" to profanity, "F--- You! I ain't doin' that!" Directions to the teacher were to stand, show no emotion (looked bored like you have heard it a thousand times) and don't speak. Then roles were reversed. Of course this was in a controlled training session.

    We were instructed to try and not listen to the student's words. Instead, think of something pleasant like your trip to Hawaii. If you can get by the first few seconds without reacting you have a good chance to think of something intelligent to handle the situation. Others have suggested writing which is a great idea. Keep the ball in the student's court by saying and doing nothing. When they realize their little tantrum is having no effect they tend give up. Moreover, the class just watched Mr./Miss Nasty take their best shot, and it couldn't rattle the teacher. There is not likely a student in the class who isn't thinking, "Wow! This teacher really knows what she/he is doing." Also, every teacher "loses it". To think one is going to go through an entire career dealing with the motley crew that shows up each year and never experience a bad moment of judgement is not reality. If they are happening often... that's a different story.
     
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  12. corunnermom

    corunnermom Rookie

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    Oct 30, 2018

    That's a tough situation and I empathize. However, I've heard such words from my first graders. My advice is simple: stay calm and realize it's not about you at all. I've been practicing taking deep breaths and when a student its defiant, I turn my attention to those who are not and are ready to learn. However, getting to this point takes A LOT of work and self-disciplined work but I've found that I'm much calmer now after learning to breath and focusing on the positive.
     
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  13. Lisabobisa

    Lisabobisa Companion

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    A good response I practice and use is "I can see you're upset right now but...." and redirect. I can see you're upset right now, but we need to finish this assignment. I can see you're upset right now but we can discuss this after class. I can see you're upset right now but you need to leave my classroom when you speak like that. Etc. etc. etc. Usually said with calm, cool, and collected voice. To me this acknowledges their feelings, which I think is important, and keeps me calm so I can move on with life and instruction without overreacting. Also, I realize it's rarely ever personal.
     
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  14. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

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    It's so cool you got to attend a Fred Jones training!
     
  15. txmomteacher2

    txmomteacher2 Connoisseur

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    Oct 30, 2018

    This probably doesn't help you but it did defuse a situation that I and my admin was in. My first year teaching I was the behavior teacher. I dealt with all the kids with the emotional issues. We had a student who was really supposed to me in an institution for his emotional issues. ( not my diagnosis but a dr had written this in his paperwork, mom would not sign the papers) Anyway for the like the 20th day in a row we had to go get him off the bus and for the millionth time we both go called a bitch. So my admin looked at him and with missing a beat she said "That will be Mrs. Bitch to you " It made the student stop and think and then we both laughed. The student didn't but it did catch him off guard because he assumed that we would be offended that he called us a name.
    Just the other day I was chaperoning the band to an event and one of my former students was being horrible (they are freshman now) So I told her she needed to stop acting that way. When I was done talking to her she turned to her friend and told her I was being a bitch. I just let it go, didn't address it. She was trying to provoke me. I just told the band director and let it go.
    Most of the time when they call you this they are trying to invoke a response. Your student got what he wanted. I know our first response it to usually to say something back but I would really try hard not to next time. Or try they giving them the unexpected responses. Although those sometimes come off as sarcasm and could backfire.
     
  16. Aces

    Aces Comrade

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    Oct 30, 2018

    What I usually say is "Obviously you're upset, why don't you step outside for a few minutes and get yourself together? Then you can come back in with hopefully a better attitude and we can start over." It gives the student a chance to collect themselves and bring it back in. It also gives you a chance to figure out exactly what just happened and what you're going to do. From there, if it doesn't work, I usually ask them to go to their VP.
     
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  17. ms.irene

    ms.irene Groupie

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    Oct 30, 2018

    Is he still giving these trainings? If not, I think his son might be. I went to one about ten years ago at the start of my career and it was hugely helpful. If you can't get to a training, at least read his book Tools for Teaching. He has you practice what he calls the "Queen Victoria" move in which you ever so slowly and gracefully turn to face the "offender" and give them your best impassive, royally bored expression, before firmly but emotionlessly meting out the consequences. I can tell you first-hand, it really works :)
     
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  18. miss-m

    miss-m Habitué

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    Oct 30, 2018

    My goal this year is to perfect the queen stare like Elizabeth has in The Crown. I need to start reminding myself to put my queen face on lol.
     
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  19. Pi-R-Squared

    Pi-R-Squared Groupie

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    Another tidbit from Fred Jones is that if you respond to their backtalk with anything, it makes you look foolish because you were arguing with a student. Realizing that you erred, it's great you went to the P and explained. Take this as a learning experience and have a great next day with your students.
     
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  20. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Oct 31, 2018

    Hoping you've found a way to work with this class and this student today that will help put Monday's interaction in the rear-view mirror. Thinking of you!
     

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