Writing activity: Behavior change

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by smilingteacher, Aug 11, 2018.

  1. smilingteacher

    smilingteacher Rookie

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    Aug 11, 2018

    This I found to be quite odd. I am not sure how to explain it. This is on a Friday on a shortened day. Here goes. I teach English. At the beginning of the year, I do an activity where students do a sentence starter and then they pass to the next student. They create a story. The lesson generally goes well because it is fun. I notice afterward the student treat me like a peer. For example, the girls would come into my room and ask "personal questions" Some of the boys would say my first name as I walk away (it was after school and I have no idea who it was.) I tend to ignore the students when they do that especially in front of their friends. This is also a new school. I just started last week.

    My plan is to forget about it and focus on the academics and move forward from here. Fun activities are great but not when I am treated like a peer.
     
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  3. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Phenom

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    Aug 11, 2018

    I don’t understand why that activity would cause them to treat you as a peer.

    I’ve done similar activities, and they are just another activity. Nobody treats me any differently as a result.

    It doesn’t sound like the activity is the problem. It sounds like the expectations are the issue. There wasn’t a serious tone set somewhere during that lesson. The “forget about it and focus on academics” part sounds like a good idea, but that doesn’t ensure students respect you as a teacher.

    Don’t ignore the behavior. Tell them it is not appropriate. New school. New teacher. They’re going to test it.

    Is this an issue you’ve had before, or just happened now?
     
    czacza likes this.
  4. smilingteacher

    smilingteacher Rookie

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    This is an issue that I had many years ago as a new teacher. I have not changed schools in a while. I Think I should go over the rules again on Monday.
     
  5. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    I don't think it was the activity. I've also done that activity and other similar things without issue. Sounds like they're testing you. I'd go over your rules again and make sure they understand your expectations and standards. After that just be consistent and fair.
     
  6. TrademarkTer

    TrademarkTer Groupie

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    I call all my students by their last names. I find it helps create an air of formality, and most of them seem to enjoy it.
     
  7. Aces

    Aces Comrade

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    Aug 12, 2018

    Aha! I'm not the only one! With me it's usually Mister Turner, Miss Smith.

    @Op: they're testing you. React accordingly.
     
  8. Obadiah

    Obadiah Groupie

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    I agree. They're just testing the waters, although perhaps not necessarily attempting to thwart the rules of decorum. I teach elementary, so I'm a bit out of my field, but I would recommend briefly and calmly reviewing with the class proper school protocol.
     
  9. ssgirl11

    ssgirl11 Companion

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    It couldn't have been the activity itself, but maybe how the activity was implemented. It is not at all normal for a student to call a teacher by their first name or ask "personal questions", especially on the first day. You are not their peer, nor their friend. They setting up a pattern of disrespect that is going to progressively get worse over the year. Do not ignore it, nip it in the bud now. It doesn't pay to be the "cool" teacher, that's for sure.
     
  10. smilingteacher

    smilingteacher Rookie

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    Thanks for all the suggestions! I need to make some changes and nip this in bud. My only question is when they say my first name after school and outside of class to get my attention. (When I have no idea who it is) Do I just turn around and say that's not appropriate? I feel that in those cases it's better to ignore. (because they are baiting me and looking for a reaction) I think I will ask one of the staff about that one.

    The other issue was the students were with other people. (I am assuming graduates). It was about 10 boys.

    I hear you on not ignoring bad behavior. I will do better on that and get these students to be respectful before it gets worse.
     
  11. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    If it's the first time, I usually just correct them in the same way I would correct their grammar as an English teacher. So if my name is Jane Doe and they called me Jane, I'd just go "Ms. Doe you mean". That's usually enough. If it's not, then I'll pull them aside and have a little chat. It almost always does the trick though, especially if you stop it early.
     
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  12. Obadiah

    Obadiah Groupie

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    I agree. The key is to not only correct the situation within the school but also avoid appearing to let it get your goat. If the kids come up with something that brings a positive reaction among them, they will continue it: if they find a way to torment a teacher, they will continue to try this. I recall in my 11th grade chorus class, we were told by the teacher one day to walk onto the stage with finesse. One of us asked, "Is that our new student teacher's first name?" The teacher and intern, as I recall, just smiled at the joke and let it pass. Among ourselves, the joke continued--when we talked about the intern, we called her Finesse--but in class we continued to address both teachers with Miss and Mrs.

    I know what you're saying, and I totally agree, but I'm wondering if we could revisit the term "friend". There is a way in which a teacher is a friend.

    Webster's dictionary explains my thinking.
    "1 : one attached to another by respect or affection 2 : acquaintance 3 : one who is not hostile."
    To be sure, we are not the students' peer or buddy. We are not to become an overgrown teenager. On the other hand, as teachers, (definition 1) we respect our students the same as we'd respect any other person and we care about our students, their education and welfare. (Definition 2 kind of speaks for itself). (Definition 3), we are not hostile. We are strict, we are the leaders in the classroom and we enforce rules, but at the same time we are not hostile.

    Dictionary: (c)2000 Zane Publishing, Inc. and Merriam-Webster, Incorporated. All rights reserved.
     
  13. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Groupie

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    There was a paraprofessional in my school who all of the kids loved, but they all treated him disrespectfully. They called him by his first name, made fun of him, and often times told him to get things for them disrespectfully. (I remember students who would say (the para's name and get me my packet over there!) He once let the kids borrow his phone and they downloaded inappropriate content on his phone. The kids would swear in front of him all the time without apologizing. His heart was in the right place, but he struggled to maintain the boundary between teachers and students. The kids did not like me as much as him but they definitely respected me more.

    I like the approach of correcting a kid who calls you by your first name and pulling them aside if it continues. If a child is asking you personal questions, you can just say "That doesn't relate to what we are learning about." or "I cannot answer personal questions."
     
  14. ssgirl11

    ssgirl11 Companion

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    I agree with you, there.
     
  15. smilingteacher

    smilingteacher Rookie

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    A better day! I reminded them of the rules and went over guidelines. Now I am focusing on curriculum and working to better discipline them.
     
  16. RussianBlueMommy

    RussianBlueMommy Comrade

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    Sep 12, 2018

    We had a paraprofessional that would do this (he was in his 40s). Wore Hollister (which I'm not sure it meant for anyone over 20 lol). And was the "cool" aide. The kids took advantage of him royally and he ended up quitting from frustration.
     

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