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  #1  
Old 01-18-2013, 06:13 PM
waterfall waterfall is offline
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K-6 Sped Resource Teacher
How much should a teacher be accountable for a student's behavior?

My school has some HUGE behavior problems. In every grade level there are students with extremely severe issues who in other districts would likely be in a self-contained EBD classroom. Kids that throw around things and try to destroy rooms on at least a weekly basis, bite/hit/kick other children, run out of the classroom, just start screaming for no reason, etc.

I was fortunate that my student like that moved towards the beginning of the year. I now have a wonderfully behaved class. I really just lucked into probably the "best" class in the school. The specials teachers talk about how much they love when my class comes in. The 2nd grade teachers talk about how much they miss them. On my evaulation my P went on and on about how my kids were the "most engaged" (her BIG thing this year) she'd seen in any classroom yet.

The thing is, they're just naturally well behaved students who pay attention and do the activities I ask anyway. My biggest problem is a student with ADHD, which is nothing compared to other issues in the school, and aside from him the rest of my class rarely needs any type of discipline. I'm not doing anything special for them. Meanwhile, other teachers who still have students with severe issues in their classrooms are getting "blamed" for how these students are acting in their classes. One 5th grade teacher has FOUR such students in her class. The entire building knows she has the toughest class. The police have even been called a few times. Yet she constantly gets horrible evaluations and walkthroughs due to the students' behavior/lack of engagement. I think this is incredibly unfair. At what point does the student have to take some responsibility for their own behavior? At what point is it possible to say that a student is simply choosing not to pay attention or participate? I may have lucked out this year, but I've seen our 2nd graders...it won't happen again! Is it typical for all teachers to be rated on an "even playing field" even when someone has a "rough" class?
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  #2  
Old 01-18-2013, 06:25 PM
jwteacher jwteacher is offline
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It is ridiculous how teacher evaluations are tied directly to students' behavior. You can have excellent lessons and firm, consistent expectations, but if some students choose not to follow the rules you will be given poor classroom management marks.

A good administrator should rate a teacher on how he or she conducts him/herself in the classroom and the strategies he or she uses to minimize the loss of instructional time when a child is not engaged/does not follow the rules. Like you said, not all children are the same.
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Old 01-18-2013, 08:02 PM
JustMe JustMe is offline
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Good questions. This has always bothered me. It's ridiculous how teachers are sometimes are assumed to me magicians.
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Old 01-18-2013, 08:30 PM
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SpecialPreskoo SpecialPreskoo is offline
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We are expected to be miracle workers, to tame the wild animals that the parents failed to do.
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  #5  
Old 01-18-2013, 09:01 PM
KoGs KoGs is offline
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First and foremost I think you have to define, for yourself, what your limits are. This is different for each teacher and each class. Then let your students know what those limits are and be consistent about it. Once students know they can't get away with something they usually stop. Have a set of hierarchical punishments and make sure you enforce them every single time with every single kid. Then when finally a kid does get out of control you can say to the principal and the parent, first I did this, the kid reacted this way, then I did this, the kid reacted this way, ............., which finally brings us to this point. In my experience if the principal sees that you have attempted various things they won't blame you.

Have you ever read Fred Jone's Tools for Teachers? Great book. He stresses remaining clam above all else and don't take anything the student does or say personally.
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Old 01-18-2013, 09:15 PM
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Reality Check Reality Check is offline
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We had an assistant principal who kept throwing around the term "classroom control." When he was griping about it after school one day, I told him, "No one controls anyone but themselves. The kids 15 miles further out in the suburbs at "Fictitious High School" behave because they CHOOSE to behave that way." I also told him, "The minute you come up with the pill that makes people care, you can retire from education."

As for your question of, "Is it typical for all teachers to be rated on an "even playing field" even when someone has a "rough" class?" It all depends upon whether the administrator doing the evaluation has common sense or not, whether he's out to get someone or not, or if he has a quota of observations he has to meet where teachers fall into the "needs improvement" category. (No matter how good they actually are.)
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  #7  
Old 01-18-2013, 09:30 PM
Loomistrout Loomistrout is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by waterfall View Post
...Yet she constantly gets horrible evaluations and walkthroughs due to the students' behavior/lack of engagement. ...
It's hard to say if an evaluation is horrible without knowing specifics. Although any student can have a melt-down at any time, it's rare to observe a teacher demonstrating correctly the use of best practice during management and instruction over and over and continue to observe no change or improvement in behavior or engagement. Before one can really say "It's the kids and not the teacher", far more investment should be applied to not only what the teacher is doing but how he/she is doing it.
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  #8  
Old 01-19-2013, 02:30 AM
EdEd EdEd is offline
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I think in situations like this we are tempted to think in an "either-or" fashion. Either kids are well behaved themselves OR the teacher is effective. In part we've been conditioned to think this way because of things like the current state of teacher evaluations. In reality, kids could behave or not for a variety of reasons, many of which are like active at any given point. That, then, makes it tough to either attribute responsibility to or discount any of those variables without a lot more specific investigation. So, I'm with loomistrout - while looking at outcomes is important, we should probably only hold teachers accountable for inputs/processes, at least until we are better able to identify exactly which classroom variables contribute to which outcomes precisely in each individual classroom.
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  #9  
Old 01-19-2013, 07:13 AM
GeetGeet GeetGeet is offline
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I am a high school teacher in NJ and I have participated in a trial of a new evaluation system called "TeachScape." Much of it is good, but both myself and our vice principal agree that there is way too much emphasis placed on how the kids conduct themselves in the classroom. For instance, if kids "correct each other's behavior" or "act kindly towards others" is is assumed that the teacher has created that sort of atmosphere, not that these are simply good kids with manners who have good parents. I am lucky to work in a school where kids are generally really nice, so I can't imagine how teachers in the inner cities are doing. I am not sure who creates these evaluation methods, but it would be nice if teachers actually came up with them for once...
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  #10  
Old 01-19-2013, 07:41 AM
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BumbleB BumbleB is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by waterfall View Post
At what point does the student have to take some responsibility for their own behavior? At what point is it possible to say that a student is simply choosing not to pay attention or participate?
Or at what point does the administration realize that these children have disabilities and need more intensive support than what can be provided by one teacher alone?
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