8th Graders--ouch!--The rules for them are different. To win, there is less room for error than the other grades. This is what I'd suggest.
1. Prevention--As hard as it might be--try to never reprimand a student in public. Walk up close to the student, and try to give a non-verbal cue. If that doesn't work, you may need to give a short worded reminder. "Sit up please." If any other student says anything, completely ignore them and put all of your energy on the student at hand. Place all eye contact on that student. Then, wait patiently for the student to comply. If student doesn't you can continue to wait or ask to see the student after class. Then resume teaching. Personally, I would have a small consequence for a child who doesn't respond after being warned, but that depends on the rules and consequences in your room.
2. If you don't do this and reprimand the student from a distance. I'd have a notebook where I write down the students who are talking back to you. I would then do 2 things. One I'd talk to them 1 on 1 and let them know that you will not tolerate that behavior in whatever way you'd like to phrase it. Be clear and direct. Without an audience 8th graders are much different.
The other thing is I'd call the parents. This is what I'd say--(pretend student's name is Maria.)
Hi Mrs. Ramirez. This is Maria's math teacher Mrs. Johnson. Hi, I was hoping you could help me with something. Today in class, your daughter Maria was listening very well in class. Another student though was not. That student was making it difficult for Maria to learn, and I know we both agree that we don't want anything to interrupt with Maria's learning. I told that child to _________ (i.e. stop talking) and to pay attention. I was really surprised because Maria started telling me to not tell this child to stop talking and she started to tell me that she wasn't doing anything wrong. I really want to be able to keep an environment where Maria can learn, so I was hoping you could talk to her about this.
Guess what?...Maria won't be giving you any problems the next day.
I am not going to make light of your situation. 8th grade is a tough age. I do know the previous techniques helped a lot when I taught 7th grade.
I enjoy this thread and have a different sort of similar problem... when I try to work in private with one kid, they might respond with, "But 'so-and-so' is doing it." [as if I LET the other student do this act of misbehavior]
So, for example, I ask a student to please remain seated until dismissed and they tell me that "so-and-so" left without being dismissed. And while that may be true [the other student may have left w/o being dismissed], it wasn't MY intention that he did so.
Or... talking out... "So-and-so is talking out of turn and you didn't say anything to HER!" Right. And that is because I caught you first, or decided to deal with you first, or whatever...
I asked a girl to please pick up some trash she had just thrown on the ground (we were outside doing an experiment) and her response was something along the lines of "there's other trash out her on the ground" and I said to her, "That doesn't make it right" and then she replied, "I didn't say it did." Etc.
Apply a little love and logic in the first scenario. Address the defenders.
"Oh! That was SUCH a bad choice. You seem to have misunderstood our roles in this classroom. I will have to do something about this, but not right now. Try not to worry about what is going to happen later. Now, the best decision you can make is to return to your seats voluntarily and understand that my business with her is none of yours." Smile, and indicate their seats.
"I will speak to each of you later privately, and we will conclude this misunderstanding of your role with the appropriate consequences for each of you individually. Now, back to the lesson..."
Walk away, allow no further discussion, handle it in private.
I actually tried the "This isn't Facebook. I didn't ask for your comments" the other day and after that? Dead silence before I heard a quiet mutter of "**** that was good." No problems the rest of the day.
Yes, I know this in my head. I THOUGHT I had tried it, but let me specifically try it this week and try to be aware of what is going on. This issue continues to come up.
Mainly, it happens during my cafeteria duty when I am supposed to be dismissing students by table (there are about 6 tables of 16 in my section) OR during my morning duty time when I am one of two teachers in the gym, watching kids sit on the bleachers until we dismiss them one section at a time (once the first section is dismissed, the others start to get up). I also know that one of the problems with morning duty is that there are a different set of teachers doing duty each morning and I think we all do it differently (I mean... we have the same rules, but I think we have different strictnesses).
Originally Posted by Caesar753
We're not focused on those other students right now. We're focused on you. Did you or did you not leave my class before I dismissed you?
Use the broken record technique and keep bringing the topic back around to what it should be focused on. Don't let students sidetrack you with distractions and irrelevant issues.
You ever have a class where one student, a type who is not into the lesson, makes an scene about not sitting up straight or facing forward, and when you politely ask that person to pay attention, one or more students suddenly jump in and try to defend their classmate? They attack you, saying "What did she/he do wrong?" or "She/he wasn't doing anything," and because you're getting attacked by three or more people, you can't focus on any one and regain control.
How do you deal w/this?
I don't say anything. I stand there and stare at the student who attempted to do the defending until he or she shuts up of their own accord and returns to their seat. I then return my attention to the initial offender if they have not followed my instruction and repeat my instruction again calmly and quietly.
Usually by this time though, they have already followed the instruction.
I may talk with the defender and perhaps the perpetrator after class privately, and inform them that that behavior is completely inappropriate and it needs to stop or further consequences shall follow.
Let me add that I did have to resort to something other than MYOB with two students two different years. In both cases, the culprits were boys who had an amazing ability to derail a class with their mere presence. The other kids almost worshiped these two boys.
Nothing we did to either of those kids did any good at all. They spent countless days in both out-of-school and in-school suspension. They were given detentions. Parents were called. Schedules were changed. Boys were put on hallway restrictions due to issues in the hallways.
The one thing that finally worked in my classroom was when I started handing out consequences to the kids who were giving attention to the poorly behaved student. Thankfully those kids weren't the hardcore types, so they had parents who were going to put up with none of that kind of behavior. Some of the kids had never been in trouble for things either, and they quickly decided that they'd rather not be. Removing the audience for the really bad kid helped tremendously.
It's funny how sometimes with your worst disruptors, the best and most effective way to deal with them is to simply ignore them, and deal with the people who react to them.
I have two students this year who require this type of interaction. It's tough though remembering to ignore them sometimes because what they sometimes do is just so funny or elicits an automatic response.