You'll get much more respect as a regular teacher.....NOT!

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by Davidfizix, Nov 1, 2009.

  1. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    Nov 15, 2009

    Respect, as stated before, isn't given, it's earned. That said, we've only talked about half the equation. You also need to respect THEM. That starts by knowing who they are. If they think you don't care, then they won't care. If they think you think they're somehow "less", they'll give you exactly what they think you expect. None of the negative has to be true, they just have to think that. I worked with some of the toughest kids in a large, gang infested, drug ridden, violent city, and the same kids who would move heaven and earth for me would (and did) tell another teacher to "shove a broomstick up your *blank and go....." I think you can fill in the rest. It's a lot of work, but it can be done.
     
  2. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    Nov 22, 2009

    I'm currently doing my student teaching in middle school math and lack of respect from some students is easily the most frustrating issue I have faced.

    I live (and hope to teach) in a rural school (western NC area), so I realize I don't face many of the challenges confronting urban teachers. Still, I am constantly amazed at the LACK of respect students seem to have towards teachers nowadays. We had problem kids in our class when I was in school too, but the level of disrespect, even by the worst kids, wasn't nearly what I see daily. Times truly have changed.

    My current challenge is one student in particular. He literally goes out of his way to be disruptive and distracting at times. He gets up and wanders around the room every day and his behavior sometimes borders on being outrageous. It got so bad one day that the other students complained to their homeroom teacher about him. They also told the teacher this student had bragged about deliberately trying to get a "rise" out of me every day. In one respect, that made his actions easier to deal with, because I knew for certain that if I overreacted to his behavior, he would be "winning". It really helped me stay calm and realize he was approaching my class as a daily challenge to see what he could do.

    As for my responses, I've tried several different strategies. Students who disrupt class receive "behavior checks" on the board that go against their citizenship grade. A lot of times, just the act of writing a students' name on the board will calm them down. That worked for a bit, but this one kid has moved past that. The day he was being particularly disruptive, I finally confronted him one-on-one in front of the class. He was wandering around aimlessly again (during teaching time) and I told him to sit back down. He huffed and said "Everyone picks on me" (a favorite tactic of his when he gets corrected for his behavior). I stopped the class and walked directly in front of him. I said "No sir, I am NOT picking on you. You ARE the only student wandering around, so I am stating a fact when I say you are breaking a class rule. Now sit down in your seat and don't get up anymore." It kinda shocked the kid that I would actually "get in his face" like that. I don't feel it was the best strategy, but I DID feel we had reached a point where something like that had become necessary.

    Since then, we have had a conference with the principal and his parents have been contacted about his behavior. Despite the subsequent punishment, he still insists on being defiant and acting up in class. My CT even got onto him about his behavior yesterday and told him it was time for him to grow up.

    I realize this is probably mild compared to what many of you have faced, but I'm interested in advice on other approaches I can take with this student. It's honestly reaching the point where I have a difficult time being objective towards him in class and helping him with his work, because he refuses to do his work and then claims he doesn't know how to do the work because "nobody" (meaning me) will teach him.

    Since he got sent to the principal's office, his new strategy seems to be trying to blame my lack of teaching skill for his poor performance in an effort to make me "look bad". To counter this, I asked the CT to help him with his work on Friday (after he had refused help from me) to see if he would be more cooperative. He wasn't.

    I suppose the next step for me is to schedule a parent/teacher conference to discuss his continued behavior with his parents, but I would love to hear other class management strategies from experienced teachers as well.
     
  3. Historyteaching

    Historyteaching Cohort

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    Nov 22, 2009

    This may not fly..but what about just completely ignoring him?

    You never want to argue with a student, they will go back and forth with you and you will end up not looking good in the long run. How is his home life? Does he get attention there? It sounds like he's just doing things to get your attention on him-and its working.

    I imagine he's not as academically challenged as what he's making people believe, but he knows if he doesn't do his work-you'll turn your attention from the other students to him. Perhaps at one point make a general announcement about if the class doesn't do their work it never hurts you-it only hurts them in the long run because you've already passed middle school and gradauted.

    I had students get mad at me and say we'll I'm just not doing this work. My response: Fine, I'll see you next year when you repeat the class. And I continue with what I'm doing. I don't give them the spotlight.

    Have you had any response from the parents? Have you tested him to see if he truly has any learning challenges..however, it seems to me just an act of wanting to be noticed.

    JMHO
     
  4. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Nov 22, 2009

    I think you should consider making it a parent-teacher-student conference. This is HIS education, and he needs to hear what you and his parents think about it. Plus, this way he's unable to tell his parents after the fact that you got the story wrong.
     
  5. Hoot Owl

    Hoot Owl Aficionado

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    Nov 22, 2009

    This is one of the most wonderful plans available: http://classroompower.com/

    It's a shame there's not a teacher prep class using it. I think new teachers would be more prepared for the hard core kids we have these days and some are truly hard core.
     
  6. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    Nov 22, 2009

    I do try to ignore his more mundane actions. Sometimes it works, sometimes it prompts him to try harder. The day I finally confronted him face-to-face, he started off doing minor stuff. I ignored him and he started doing more and more outrageous stuff until he was finally sitting in his seat with a folder on his head looking around and making faces at the other students. That was also the day his classmates complained to their homeroom teacher about his behavior. It's pretty bad when other students complain about a classmate acting out.

    You are correct that he is not academically challenged. In fact, he has the ability to be a straight "A" student. This is one thing that frustrates me even more. I can understand why a struggling student might throw his hands up and refuse to do any work, but when it's a student that is easily capable of understanding, and doing, the work, I have a hard time understanding that.

    To the best of my knowledge, his home life is fine. His parents were supportive of the school when the principal contacted them and his mom made him apologize to me for his behavior to avoid being grounded.

    He IS trying for attention. My CT told me that if one student raises their hand and this kid raises his hand too, he will pout and complain if he isn't the one called on. My principal suggested I try calling on him as much as possible to give him that positive reinforcement. I've done that as much as possible, but when he sits up on his desk and starts saying stuff like "I don't know how to do this stuff. Some teacher HE is, he won't even teach me how to do this work" (after I've gone to him several times asking if he needs help and he has refused). It IS very trying, but I realize this is simply part of teaching and will happen no matter which grade I choose to teach.

    I chose middle school specifically because of the changes students are going through at this time. I think my personality fits best with this age group and I know I will just have to learn effective techniques for dealing with kids like this.

    I HAVE seen worse behavior. Last year, I worked as a substitute while beginning my classes for licensure (I'm working on an alternative license since I have a 4 yr degree already). In one class at a different school, there was a boy who constantly had to be the center of attention - ESPECIALLY when they had a sub in the class. One day, he came in from PE and began very blatantly "scratching himself" in his gym shorts. When I asked him to stop, he shouted "Hey, I'm ITCHING and then stood up to start scratching his privates so everyone could see him." I finally had no choice but to send him to the principal's office to explain why he needed to act that way in class.
     
  7. Historyteaching

    Historyteaching Cohort

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    Nov 22, 2009

    Well, at least you have parental support..that would make the situation even worse.

    We have a new principal and one thing I love about him is this plan:

    Teachers are paid to teach, not to deal with disruptive students and to chase skipping students. If we have a student being a 'jerk', we call the office and say we need him for a student, he's there in less that 3 minutes, we point the student out and he takes the student away. We continue with class. I had to do this once. The student came back and didn't exhibit the behavior he did again-and this was in a 9th grade class. I'm not sure what the principal said to the student, but whatever it was worked.

    I agree with Alice that the student needs to be involved in the conference so he knows how serious his disruptive behavior is and the consequences that he will be getting if he continues..quite honestly, if I was his mother, I'd grounded him regardless of apologizing. But..that's just me.
     
  8. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Nov 22, 2009

    Oh, good. So I'm NOT the meanest parent in the country!!!

    The apology doesn't undo the action. The consequences still happen.
     
  9. Historyteaching

    Historyteaching Cohort

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    Nov 22, 2009



    Exactly. If my child acted like that..they would kiss me if all they got was a grounding..and if the grounding didn't last til the graduated high school.
     
  10. Special-t

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    Nov 22, 2009

    It's so tough to ignore a kid when he continually disrupts the entire class because his behavior is unfair to the other kids, making it impossible for them to learn.

    Does he act like this with other teachers? You might want to enlist the help of a teacher he respects - one he doesn't act up with. If he acts up in your class, she/he can talk with him and give out the disciplinary action. This helped my in a long-term position last year.


    p.s. Am I in dreamland thinking that this kid should be suspended for the constant disruptions? In my day (a very long time ago) this kid would have been thrown out of the classroom and not welcomed back in school till he shaped up.
     
  11. Muttling

    Muttling Devotee

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    Nov 22, 2009

    Ignoring doesn't really work with a kid who seeking attention as he still gets it from his peers. In high school, they are often more interested in getting attention from their peers than you and will take serious consequences just so they can get a wow response from their peers.

    Sitting them out in the hallway with a pile of worksheets is pretty effective with some of them.
     
  12. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    Nov 22, 2009

    Far from it. My kids are currently only allowed to read books, do puzzles and do housework. Lets just say Thursday didn't go so well.
     
  13. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    Nov 22, 2009

    Now to post on the actual topic....

    Middle school is an interesting age (to put it nicely). In time, you will develop a style that works with your personality that controls behavior. You can learn a lot from observing what doesn't work. Ignoring this child doesn't work, talking to his parents doesn't work. What else doesn't work? Try something different. I would not have tolerated obscenity at all. He would have been in the principal's office the moment he sassed me over the scratching, though chances are, he probably wouldn't have done it in my classroom. I was one of those teachers who could get kids to behave who wouldn't behave for anybody else. Why? Because from day one I had a No Bull policy. The kids called me sarge behind my back and I had a reputation for being a hard a$$. I wouldn't let so much as a snide look pass the first few days of class. But that's me and my personality. The same thing might not work for you. Keep experimenting. Eventually you'll have your breakthough moment.
     
  14. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    Nov 23, 2009

    I agree about the obscenity and sassing. The only reason I didn't send him to the principals' office immediately is because I wanted the school to think I could handle a classroom as a sub and wouldn't be sending kids to the office everytime they acted up.

    You said you wouldn't let even a snide look pass. What did you do when kids gave you those looks?
     
  15. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    Nov 23, 2009

    It starts from the first day. I explain to the kids that I only have one rule and that is "RESPECT". We then discuss what that means. What IS respect? They hear it all the time and don't really know. Respect means treating other people with kindness even when they don't deserve it. Respect means staying polite even when you disagree with the others. It means to refrain from sarcasm, ect. Then we discuss what respect ISN'T. I talk about how in society, respect is earned, not given. Does that mean you can be rude to your mean elderly neighbor? No. While you don't have to respect him, you still must be polite. We talk about how it's important to be respectful of others,and most importantly, of themselves. We come up with reasonable expectations of classroom definitions based on that definition of respect. After that, if somebody is backtalking or making rude faces or whatever, then I simply ask if they're being respectful. Ususally, the class shames them into admitting that they're not being respectful to me or to the rest of the class. One thing that's important here is that I NEVER raise my voice at them. I show them the respect that I expect them to show me. Simply calling them out on the bad behaviors each and every time they happen in the first few days of class is generally enough to keep them in line the entire rest of the year.

    ETA: I re-read this and noticed that I didn't make something clear. The mean old man example is an example of respecting yourself.
     
  16. Cerek

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    Nov 23, 2009

    That's great advice, mmswm.

    I always speak in a calm tone and try never raising my voice (unless the entire class is beginning to talk and I have to quiet them down). I also had a talk with my class about respect today. I had one student who insisted on talking and laughing with his neighbor every time I turned to write something on the board. After looking their way and telling them to stop with no effect, I stopped the class and sat down on my stool - my sign that I was unhappy with the class behavior. I explained the students are to treat their classmates and teacher with respect if they want to be treated with respect in return. If they don't treat others with respect, they cannot expect others to respect them either.

    As for my "problem child", he continued his behavior as normal today. I spoke with my CT and we agreed a parent-teacher-student conference was well justified. I went out the line of cars for Parent Pickup to speak with his mother, but she was near the front by the time I got there and the teacher had already called the student to come out. I decided I would just call the mom tomorrow. As the student walked to the car, he made another face at me and went "Nyaaah" as he walked by. The teacher directing the Parent Pickup line told me the mom could be a real "spitfire".

    Before I left school this afternoon, I got a call from the students mom requesting a parent-teacher conference concerning what was happening in my room. I told her I was glad she had called and would be happy to schedule a conference because I had been planning to call her for the same thing. That set her back a bit and she said "What do YOU want to have a conference about?", so I gave her a few examples of her son's behavior.

    This will be my first parent-teacher conference, so we will see how it goes.
     
  17. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    Nov 23, 2009

    Every heard of macintosh syndrome? Sounds like this kid has it bad. Keep going with the respect thing. It works really well. I worked in one of Miami's worst neighborhoods, and even these street smart, gang influenced kids responded to that approach.
     
  18. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    Nov 23, 2009

    I edited my previous post....
     
  19. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Nov 23, 2009

    Keep it absolutely factual. No opinions, no guesses as to intent, just the facts. It's easy to argue about "rude", but harder to argue with he made another face at me and went "Nyaaah" as he walked by."
     
  20. Cerek

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    Nov 23, 2009

    My CT told me the same thing - document specific incidents rather than just saying "He's disruptive and disrespectful". That is easy to argue, but it's hard for the parent to argue when I say "On this day, he made a face and snide remark as he walked by. On this day, he made faces at me as I called role." etc etc.

    So I am making a list of specific events he has done to illustrate HOW he is being disrespectful and disruptive.
     

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