Temper Tantrum HELP!

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by Mrs. Trumbly, Sep 12, 2017.

  1. Mrs. Trumbly

    Mrs. Trumbly New Member

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    Sep 12, 2017

    I teach at a Credit Recovery/Continuation High School. I have several students who regularly yell at me and cuss me out when I insist that they follow directions. I am at a complete loss on how to deal with them. I have been teaching at this school for three weeks now. Before this, I taught at a typical high school. The students are so angry that I am unable to have a conversation with them at all, even with a mediator present. Any advice would be amazing!
     
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  3. vickilyn

    vickilyn Maven

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    Sep 12, 2017

    Keep in mind that if they could speak to an adult respectfully, they would most likely be in their home district, working hard to graduate with their class. But that isn't where they are, and now you know why. Get thick skin, learn to stay professional when they aren't capable of being civil, or find a new job. These are tough kids in tough situations, and it isn't a job for anyone easily offended by language, intimidation, or lack of respect.
     
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  4. ms.irene

    ms.irene Groupie

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    Sep 12, 2017

    I'm hoping someone else who teaches continuation students specifically will chime in...I have taught classes with a high percentage of these students (remedial/ELD) and I had to really learn some strategies to survive, lol! One thing that helped was positive rewards. I used a version of Fred Jones' PAT (Preferred Activity Time) to motivate the class to stay on track and earn weekly break time. Another thing is, it sounds like you might be nagging a bit (when I "insist" they follow directions). Students like this (actually, most students...) really need you to just follow through the first time and not keep giving chances and reminders/warnings. Have a plan and follow it, don't just talk about it. I would read the Smart Classroom Management blog -- it has been enormously helpful for me in learning the right mindset and attitude to take towards classroom management.

    Finally, if they cuss you out, they cuss you out...it happens. The calmer and more impassive (emotionless) you are when it happens, the better. Show them they can't get a rise out of you and they will eventually (maybe) stop trying. At the end of the day, they are kids, and you are not. Most of them are going home to situations most of us can't even imagine. They need a calm, consistent, fair adult presence in their lives. It takes a special person -- I wasn't it in that situation, unfortunately, and am now in a better fit. I wish I had been more able to give those kids what they needed at the time...
     
  5. Backroads

    Backroads Enthusiast

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    Sep 12, 2017

    I've been reading "Road to Responsibility." The philosophy is a good one that I think could be practiced for these kinds of schools.
     
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  6. creativemonster

    creativemonster Comrade

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    Sep 12, 2017

    Yes - the biggest help for me - Try not to get upset when they do - don't get pulled into the drama. (easier said than done but important) also, Help them recognize that their goal is to graduate and you are there to help them with that goal, but you can't do it for them. You are not the enemy - you are part of the team to help them with their goal of graduation. And if they have an idea of what they want to do next, it might help them as well. Are you familiar with smart goals? Teaching this to the students and having them start looking at their goals might help. I also print out monthly calendars for them and teach them how to plan out their projects and anything else that has hard deadlines. (I'm very strict with due dates)
     
  7. rpan

    rpan Comrade

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    Sep 13, 2017

    Many of these kids don't know how to interact in any other way except to cuss or show their anger. My advice is not to engage in any sort of argument with them. They may cuss or be angry but speak to them respectfully, without showing that it affects you.
    And pick your battles with them. Really pick your battles.
     
  8. Obadiah

    Obadiah Habitué

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    Sep 13, 2017

    I'm elementary, so I'm kind of replying way out of my expertise, but I would agree with the above to stay calm. During breaks, take some time for calm deep breathing. When a student is out of control, I figure if I lose my temper, then we have two people out of control instead of just one. Something I do in elementary, I agree to listen (as time allows, of course) to anything a student wants to tell me, but my rule is they must talk to me in the same manner in which I always talk to them: never in an angry decorum and always respectfully.

    Their manner of responding is possibly habitual by this age and possibly learned through conditioning or modeling their parents. It could also be an outpouring of various disturbances inside of them. When distressed, the most common response is to push out by yelling, hitting, kicking, breaking something. Language that is culturally considered offensive provides an extra umph to the outpouring. Added to this is the social setting of the classroom; they are surrounded by their peers who are equally troubled. This can add to already present tension.

    The more calm and relaxed the classroom setting is, (not that you're not already doing that), the more positively this will effect the students. Something I've also used in elementary, I've played classical, especially Baroque era, music during off times in the classroom. True, it might not be a type of music they are accustomed to listening to; one third grader once asked me, "Mr. Obadiah, does anyone really like that kind of music?" But it does seem to have a brain development effect, and some research indicates that it can have a calming effect within that development.
     

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