Annoying student behavior - need fresh ideas!

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Bored of Ed, Oct 28, 2013.

  1. Bored of Ed

    Bored of Ed Enthusiast

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    Oct 28, 2013

    I'm not sure if I'm feeling burnt out or what, but lately I find too many of my students just annoying and I don't have my usual oomph to deal with them.

    One is a pair of adorable, sweet 4th graders. I really like the guys. I have what to teach them. I'm into it. They like to fool around, try to waste time, and make jokes. One seems to have Asperger's (I don't believe he has this diagnosis at this time but totally fits the description to a T) and genuinely thinks he would like to be a comedian, so on one hand I really don't want to squash it out of him, but on the other hand it is really not funny and he is wasting a ton of time. The other kid gets a kick out of this and tries to play along, even though he does not have that genuine belief that this is his life's calling. Between the two of them, we are moving at a snail's pace when really they are pulled out with me for the purpose of having MORE targeted instruction. The "comedy," by the way, consists of such things as saying "Ummmm, uhhhh, let me seeee, Yes babe - I mean Yes maam, I think that would be, weeeellllll let's seeeee...." basically it takes the guy five minutes to respond to something he already knows. But without waiting for some kind of response, how am I supposed to know whether he's following the lesson at all? Written responses are only slightly better - he will start doing theatrical "finger stretches" and the like, and then the writing itself naturally takes longer than just saying the response.
    I'm hesitant to target this behaviorally because the kid honestly thinks he is a talented comedian and I don't want to burst that bubble. I did try a few times to teach him about timing, when it is and isn't appropriate to do his comedy, but he didn't accept it on my say-so and who can blame him when his classmate reacts as if it's a riot?

    Well, that's one of my annoying behavior situations. Any advice?
     
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  3. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    That doesn't sound adorable and sweet. That sounds obnoxious. Sounds like you need to drop a hammer on them. There's nothing wrong with trying to be funny at an appropriate time, but your class time isn't it. Set a timer for a response. Set up a behavior chart. Make it very clear that the "babe" stuff is completely inappropriate. Waiting five minutes for a response is beyond unacceptable, and of course they'll continue doing it since you've basically said it's okay with your inaction.
     
  4. runsw/scissors

    runsw/scissors Phenom

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    I completely agree. This is obnoxious and totally inappropriate. The whole "babe" thing needs to be addressed post haste. I had to call a student's parent on this sort of thing once. The parents tried to laugh it off until I told them if their child was 10 years older it would be grounds for sexual harassment. Talk to the kids, talk to the P, talk to the counselor if you want. If you believe a child has Asperger's you need to speak with the counselor anyway. That is a horse of a different color. There are ways to teach Asperger children what kinds a behaviors a acceptable. Right now your actions are telling the kids this behavior is OK.
     
  5. Bored of Ed

    Bored of Ed Enthusiast

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    I wouldn't call my response "inaction," it just hasn't been harsh. I tried redirecting, encouraging direct responses, talking about good alternative times for this... I'm just not sure it's OK to "drop a hammer" on something that a kid with very little going for him considers his hobby and his one true talent. He has no idea just how inappropriate the "babe" thing is - I have told him it's not OK, but he doesn't GET it - he's just repeating something he heard in some kind of media.

    He is already working with the counselor for social skills but it is a long journey. I need to get my sessions with him back on track now! She is still up to things like eye contact...

    Not sure if it was clear originally but I have him in resource with one other student. No large class dynamic. And no "sit down and be quiet" - Constant engagement.
     
  6. Bored of Ed

    Bored of Ed Enthusiast

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    He only actually did the babe thing twice. He has no idea what it means and neither do my other students, they are a pretty sheltered bunch. Will have to address that more strongly if it happens again, for his own future sake.
     
  7. Kaley12

    Kaley12 Companion

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    Oct 28, 2013

    I understand your desire not to come down too hard on the child if they genuinely don't understand what they are doing is inappropriate, but at the same time I think it's important that they learn it's not the time or place to do their comedy. You don't have to do it in a way that makes the child feel like they aren't talented in 'comedy', but they need to understand that it can't happen during class time.

    I would recommend being firm about it and squashing it as soon as he starts until he realizes it's not going to fly. Let him know that he can do this sort of thing at recess or home, but not in the classroom. As someone recommended, have a behaviour chart in place so whenever he tries to be silly like that, he can see that he gets a 'strike' or whatever you have in place. You could also reward him for good days when he is focussed. This is not only important for your class, but I think it's good that he understands the concept of "time and place" for this behaviour, especially if he's struggling with social issues.
     
  8. runsw/scissors

    runsw/scissors Phenom

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    Is the "babe" kid the Asperger child? I got the impression it was the other student. Either way, it's not appropriate. I'd keep in close contact with the counselor and parents concerning the child's behavior. How involved are the parents? The students needs to learn what was is inappropriate even if he doesn't know why. How old is the child in question?

    I had a child who was Aspergers undiagnosed one year. The parents were amazing-very loving, very involved, very supportive of the teacher and school. During the course of the year we helped them work through the process of getting a diagnosis so that the boy could receive services. There were times when he said or did things that were mildly disruptive or unacceptable, but between the parents, the counselor, and myself we came up with some nonverbal cues to let the boy know when he needed to change a behavior. You need to get more adults involved in this. It is not all your responsibility.
     
  9. GemStone

    GemStone Habitué

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    Oct 28, 2013

    I would absolutely not tolerate that. A 4th grader, even one lacking in social skills, knows better than to behave that way. I would follow the suggestion of a timer and a behavior chart.

    The classroom is for learning.
     
  10. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    They know now since you told them. I agree that you need to be firm on this "babe" thing and not tolerate it.
     
  11. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    Would you still be reluctant to drop the hammer if his hobby and one true talent were... say... throwing a football, and he was doing that in the classroom? Singing? Why would him doing bad and inappropriate comedy in your classroom be any different?
     
  12. GemStone

    GemStone Habitué

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    Does he behave this way for other teachers?
     
  13. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Maven

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    Burst his bubble. He can be a comedian at home.
    Have you talked to his parents about this? He needs some kind of consequences for his behavior especially if he's affecting his classmate's work also.
     
  14. Bored of Ed

    Bored of Ed Enthusiast

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    He does behave like this for other teachers but they have the option of just not calling on him. With me it is necessarily more interactive.

    The parents are supportive theoretically but I don't think they have figured out how to deal with him yet.

    I think we all basically agree that the behavior has to stop. The question is how... I really worry that in this case punishing will do more harm than good, he is already looking pretty depressed in his other class where the teacher is very strict and disapproving of his "comedy.
     
  15. HorseLover

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    Oct 29, 2013

    In my opinion it really doesn't matter if it's truly funny or not. He should be taught that that kind of behavior is inappropriate during learning time. He can be a comedian at home or at recess, but not during class. Maybe if you phrase it less of the "don't do this" but "only do it at appropriate times" that would be helpful?
     
  16. Bored of Ed

    Bored of Ed Enthusiast

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    Yes, I tried the "appropriate times" lesson. Didn't go over at all. He says during recess the guys are too busy playing, during class is when they enjoy his jokes. Groan. This will not serve him well in a couple of years when his peers will be beyond this level of humor...

    Today I introduced a chart for "answering right away" and stated my expectations for it. Both boys will get a point on the chart for every time they respond to the task at hand without any monkey business in between. At the end of the week there will be a prize store where the choice of prizes depends how many points you get. I hate doing these kinds of contests because they can be almost as distracting as the behavior sometimes, but I'm hoping it will get them into a new good habit and then we can scale back...
     

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