Appropriate Consequence for Disrespect

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by Peregrin5, Jan 6, 2016.

  1. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Jan 6, 2016

    This year, despite including one of our toughest groups of boys is actually going very well. The students who cause trouble in most other classes follow the rules in mine and speak respectfully to me. We enjoy a rapport. My classes are all in line, and we're having an enjoyable class, with the exception of a single student, and an A student nonetheless.

    I've had her brother and sister in my class and they were wonderful. This student however, has a very disrespectful attitude. She will break a rule, and when I call her out on it, will try to rope me into an argument. I know better than to argue, so I just enforce a consequence. She will usually try to escalate, which unfortunately for her escalates the consequence from just a time-out to a lunch detention, or a phone call home. I've had to call home twice for her so far, today being one of the times. That's not really frequent compared to some of my other students, but her reaction to them is very troublesome (probably because she is an A student).

    So as an example, I had kids doing work today, respectfully listening as I have them take notes on my lecture, and she starts packing up early. She and the entire class know that I am the bell, and I am the one who tells them when to pack up. They've been trained in this, and the rest of the class was admirably following procedure. I ask her to take her work back out. She does for a second, but as soon as I look away, she starts packing up again. I tell her I will have her in at lunch for wasting my class time. She rudely states that she's not going to come in. I don't really care because we have yard duties that escort students, so I ignore her comments (as always) and have her escorted to my class. When she gets to my class for lunch, she immediately asks to use the restroom. I say okay, provided she return in a short period of time. About 15 minutes pass, and students and the Principal mention that they see her wandering around the campus hanging out with her friends. I have the principal grab her and bring her to my room, and I inform her that she will need to call home. She tells me she will not call home, she did nothing wrong (a frequent claim of hers) and refuses to dial her father's number.

    I call home for her, and inform the parent very accurately and calmly, what has been done and said by the student. Father proceeds to ream her for being disrespectful for essentially the remainder of the lunch period.

    We agree upon another lunch detention tomorrow (she should use the restroom before). I pass by her classroom on my way somewhere else during another period, and she loudly proclaims "Shut the door! I don't want to see his face!" to her current teacher regarding me (I passed by in a split second). This student has historically told me she hates my class and doesn't like me. My only response is, "That's too bad. Sorry to hear that."

    I don't really care if she doesn't like me, I will continue to hold her accountable to the rules and treat her as politely and kindly as possible. However, I am stuck with what to do during our lunch detention tomorrow. I tend to like to have logical consequences that fit the crime. In this case, I believe the crime is speaking disrespectfully to adults and defiance. It's hard for me to think of a good way to spend her lunch detention working on improving these things. Any ideas?

    My current idea is to generate a list of ways to respond in certain situations and have her roleplay those with me, such as, me asking her to do something that she really doesn't want to do. I don't expect her to really take it seriously, but it might be a fitting consequence. Any other ideas?
     
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  3. GemStone

    GemStone Habitué

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    Jan 7, 2016

    I don't think she would be in a receptive frame of mind for that, and you'll be adding fuel to the fire. You'll also be giving her a reaction she is looking for because she's bound to upset you even if it's just a little.
    Eating lunch in the classroom IS a consequence. Let her eat while you grade papers or do other things. No interaction necessary.
     
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  4. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Jan 7, 2016

    I tend to agree.

    What did you end up doing?
     
  5. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Jan 7, 2016

    Instead of actually roleplaying, I'm having her work on a script of how an interaction should go if for instance, I ask her to do something that she doesn't want to do, or if she gets a consequence she doesn't agree with. She's working independently on it, while I do my own work. If she doesn't take it seriously, she will revise it. She knows how early she can leave detention is dependent on how long it takes her to complete this. I will send any copies of it to her parent if it is inappropriate.
     
  6. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Jan 15, 2016

    Just as a follow-up. I gave the script writing consequence to the student. There was a lot of whining and wheedling at first. I ignored most of it. Her first draft, as I expected wasn't that great. I told her that anything she writes will be sent to her parent. (I did photograph it and send it to mom). That prompted her to write a better draft.

    Her second draft was much better proving that she knows how to act in a classroom. She was simply deciding not to. I told her her second draft was what I expect in the classroom. It took her 3 days of lunch detention to get through it and finish, but afterwards, I think it really made a difference. The student knows I won't budge on my expectations and kept her in every day until it was done. She now speaks respectfully and politely and points out when she does (I think her family doesn't have a tradition of respectful talk, and the kids just kind of say what they want to say). Also her relationship is much better with me. Instead of avoiding me, she visits almost every lunch period which was a huge difference from when she would hide from me when she saw me.

    Overall, I think she's matured at least a tiny bit. She still could use some work, but it is an improvement, and she does what I say now.
     
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  7. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    Jan 15, 2016

    I'm happy for both of you that your plan worked well and produced results.
     
  8. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Jan 15, 2016

    I would have probably gone with silent detention. She's said enough....
    Glad your idea worked fr you though!
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2016
  9. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Jan 16, 2016

    Well there are a few books that talk about logical consequences. I forget off the top of my head exactly which one really made it click for me, but Love and Logic is a good example.

    Most of my consequences still follow a set classroom management plan, but when I assign lunch detentions for any reason, I like to make what they do specifically related to what they need to practice to be successful. For instance, if a student has trouble giving me attention when I ask for it, I might have them practice that skill. Or if they are talking during instruction or at inappropriate times, I will have them model and practice the proper way to do it. If they chew gum in my class, they have to scrape gum off of desks.

    Sometimes the best consequence is silent detention as some have said (sometimes I have that to have them practice working quietly). In this case I felt the problem behavior was speaking respectfully. I do want my students to speak and I do want them to be able to disagree with me, but I want to make sure they understand the framework for speaking their mind and disagreeing, and that disagreeing doesn't entitle them to ignore direct instructions. So this worked for me.

    Sometimes I find a way to relate their detention to something I just need done. Some students walked out with something they made in a lab today after I explicitly told them to leave it in class and pick it up after school. I just so happen to have a large pile of lab beakers and utensils from that lab that need cleaning that I don't want to do. They'll have that waiting for them at lunch on Tuesday.
     
  10. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Feb 26, 2016

    So update: Her behavior has been declining drastically. The other day I asked her to do something, and she tried to make up excuses about why she couldn't do it ("I didn't touch it last!") so I asked her to do it anyway. She responded with "You're sassy!"

    So I asked her to come in at lunch and we called home. Calling home for her is very emotional and I feel like every time I have her do it, she holds a grudge. She seethes at me, and complains to her friends. I don't really care as long as she's being respectful, and the consequence is merited in my opinion. She always cries on the phone call to the parent and gets hysterical. Her excuse to her parent was "He let another student do something and got off scot-free. He just lost a lab privilege but other than that he didn't get in trouble." (apparently losing a lab privilege is not a good enough consequence for her fellow student)

    Anyway, her behavior always gets a little better because she's afraid of the phone call home, but I can tell she hates me more and more. I'm always very pleasant with her, and treat her the same as any other student, but she just happens to break the rules more.

    Today we were doing a demonstration with a bowling ball pendulum (you know the classic one where you put it up to your nose and release it and it doesn't hit you -- if you do it right). The entire time she was saying "put your face in the bowling ball" or telling other students to get hit by it so I could get fired.

    Should I call home? Who should I contact about this and what should I do to get it resolved?
     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2016
  11. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    Feb 26, 2016

    So first - cool idea about the script writing. I'm going to steal it :). I think my comments are largely things you'll already know - namely, that it sounds like the underlying issues haven't been addressed, whatever those are. I DO think that - with proper control over a child's experience in life - you can essentially force kids to do what you want them to do within reason, even if they don't like it. Some kids may push back pretty hard and test how much control you actually have over their experience, some may fall in line earlier. However, none of this process involves actually solving underlying issues (in most cases). So, naturally - what's the issue? What's your assessment of why she's doing what she's doing?

    In terms of just a specific response to your questions, yes - I'd follow-up with consequences as you'd want it addressed & documented, but I doubt any specific response will prove to be transformational in your relationship with her.
     
  12. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Feb 26, 2016

    Hi Ed! Great post. My mind flitted here and there about the underlying causes, but I haven't had too much time to sit and think about it.

    After talking with the counselor about it, one thing that comes to mind is an audience. When she is disrespectful to me, the other kids definitely find it funny, but they're smart enough to not do the same things, which is probably due to the fact that I've been keeping her accountable with consequences and they know her actions are not without consequences (so that's a plus).

    Another thing might be pride. This is a very good (academically speaking) student, who is popular. She is probably used to getting her way often both from parents, friends, and other teachers who let her behavior slide because she's a good student. When she doesn't get her way and she feels like she's "lost" so to speak whatever contest it is she feels like she's in (with me, it's a contest of power and authority) she takes it very hard, and doesn't want to look like she's "lost".

    I am also a young looking teacher, and while most of her peers have gotten the message that I'm not a peer, she may not have at the beginning, which is what I've been trying to communicate to her. I've had female students who acted out, paradoxically because they had a crush on me. This situation may have started out slightly similar, but has since morphed into what it is now, where it's transformed into intense dislike of me due to my holding her accountable.
     
  13. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    Feb 26, 2016

    As usual Peregrin, I really admire your insight and depth with which you approach your students, yet without getting sucked into changing your strategy when the wind blows in a different direction.

    So, realistically, it's almost March - only a few months left of schools, and what I'm about to suggest may be neither here nor there, but if you're right in your assessment, my guess is that your best bet will be to figure out how to win her back over to your side. You can play the tit-for-tat game, and we all can probably help brainstorm some ways to win, but one of the inherent problems with control-oriented disciplinary strategies is that they require great precision because the "force of gravity" so to speak, or the behavioral propensity, is to go against the will of the interventionist. If, on the other hand, you can figure out how a way to reconnect maybe things may be different.

    I know, easier said that done. And I know, late in the year. And I know, you don't so much care as long as you're doing what you think you should be. And I don't really disagree with you.

    In thinking of something that may be within the realm of possibility, rather than seeking some miraculous bonding experience, I wonder about the possibility of coming to some sort of "truce." In other words, what if you presented to her, in your somewhat distant but somewhat empathetic tone, that you're more than willing to go head to head with her the rest of the year. That, as a young teacher, you aren't able to back down, and that it's against your principle. But, maybe, you tell her, she'd be willing to come to some terms of agreement so that you both can get through the rest of the year without too much trouble. Rather than asking really high expectations and moral sincerity, maybe just suggest some simple strategies that will make life more bearable. This is really no different than the offer that you've already, by default, got on the table for her, but maybe some sort of candid conversation where you lay out the 2 directions the rest of the year could go may be of some benefit. Even play the negative scenarios out verbally - continued calls home, continued reputation destroyed with adults, etc., then play out some of the positives.

    One strategy that could help make this last paragraph more possible, and might help either way, would be to immediately administer a consequence involving removal from the room/audience when she's insubordinate or disrespectful. It sounds like your principal is at least somewhat supportive, so if you can get her out of the classroom (even if it's just to another teacher's room) then maybe that will lay a foundation for a conversation in a week or two of where you can come in as the "good cop" and say, "listen, if you want to keep getting put out, I can make that happen. But, here's an alternative we both may be able to live with."
     
  14. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Feb 27, 2016

    This is great advice!

    I know this would work because I've been in similar situations and this is what happened naturally. I don't think I ever really set out to do it intentionally before. I think she actually is at a point where she might be at least a little receptive to a candid conversation, since after yesterday's behavior I finally gave in and asked for help from the counselor, and he pulled her in and had a sincere conversation with her about the need to build good relationships with teachers. He said she showed remorse (I'm a little skeptical, but hopeful). Maybe a one-on-one where I can first let her lay out her concerns and feelings. And then I can let her know the situation from my end, and re-explain my job as an educator and the reasons I have to hold her accountable, and that I have to continue holding her accountable for her behavior as part of my job for the rest of the year, however I will take her concerns to heart as long as she remains respectful of that student/teacher boundary, and that she can continue to go down the path of phone calls home and worse (since her behavior is getting to the point of principal referrals) or she can watch her language and tone and we can work something out. Something similar to that maybe?

    Ed you are a very thoughtful and extremely smart poster. I personally am always amazed at the depth in your posts! Thanks for the advice!

    What kinds of strategies do you think would be helpful for this student? She has issues with speaking rudely, making demands (like saying "hey you, come here" to her teacher), refusal to follow instructions (like 'please clean up'), and engages in inappropriate behavior and jokes for a student toward her teacher (like telling me to walk into the bowling ball so I could get hit).
     
  15. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    Feb 27, 2016

    Thanks Peregrin - very kind words! The respect is mutual, for sure.

    Yes, I definitely think what you suggested is right along the lines of what I was thinking.

    In terms of strategies to actually help her, one follow-up: Are there any other behavioral concerns? Is she bossy with others kids? How are her social skills? Self-management skills? You may have mentioned this, but how does she interact with other adults?
     
  16. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Feb 27, 2016

    She is bossy and slightly a bully to other students. Particularly boys. Other male teachers have said she has an attitude but their relationships are better partly because they have so many other worse behavior problems that her behavior isn't their top priority right now.
     
  17. EdEd

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    Feb 28, 2016

    Hmm - I guess my first thought would be to try to flip that tendency of bossiness/combativeness to a strength. It sounds like she perseveres, is detail-oriented, particular with how things happen, strong-willed, and not afraid to take charge. I would maybe try to get her to see that sometimes those characteristics manifest themselves in negative ways, sometimes positive, but that she has to have more active control over how those come out. Maybe run through some scenarios in which they may be used in a positive way, as well as scenarios when they may be dangerous.

    I've also experienced that kids in this category tend to be very control-oriented and worry about things that aren't within their sphere of influence. It may be helpful to teach her about that, and to know when to let things go. I think it's also helpful to let them know that, when they're an adult, they may have a job or life role that will give them more control in certain situations, but that in school things are a bit different, so something that may actually be a strength in one environment may just be a temporary weakness, if not controlled.

    Practically speaking, I'd start off with just introducing these concepts to her in conversation, both conceptually and as-applied (behaviorally what is happening in various situations). For example, you may talk about "having influence" with people as being a potential positive, but "trying to control" people as a potential negative, though both stemming from the same source. You may introduce the concept of assertive vs. aggressive vs. passive, and how the same tendency can manifest itself differently depending on behavior chosen. You may then invite her to do a self-rating each day in your class in which she rates how often she uses particular tendencies (e.g., assertiveness) in positive scenario, challenging her to match your rating. Keep it simple, such as "Never, Sometimes, Often, Almost Always" - and consider attaching some reward to it, although if she seems motivated to do it no reward may be necessary. I'd also start off with 1 characteristic/skill, then add one or two each week as able, rating each behavior daily. Given the time frame, I'd rush it just a bit so that you've got most skills introduced by mid-April, then fade the ratings to once per week.

    As much as possible, the goal would be to invite her participation in this process and secure her investment in the process. There's very little likelihood any of this would be helpful if it's coerced. You may introduce this idea by saying that you've been thinking about her, and how much value she could really add to the class if she kept "being her," just tweaked things a little. I also like to tell kids that I can tell "they mean to do well," sometimes it just comes out wrong. I also like to tell kids that, often times, the kids that get in the most trouble are actually the ones with the most potential, if they learn how to harness and control their strengths and use them in the right way. These types of strength-based statements tend to elicit more buy-in, and may even help restart and redefine your relationship with her as someone not trying to control her, but someone trying to give her more control, over herself and how others perceive and value her. If she's still not on board with the process, maybe just ask if she's willing to "test it out" for a few days and see if it makes a difference, at least in your class.
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2016
  18. Math

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    I just wanted to say this is amazing! I am glad to see a teacher who cares @Peregrin5 and is willing to try different approaches to settle this unnecessary behavior.
     
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  19. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Mar 1, 2016

    Thanks Math! I decided to do the meeting with the counselor in the room. I think it would be more effective that way and she'd be more likely to listen with another person in the room and refrain from acting rudely. It also underscores the seriousness of the issue. We pointed out her strengths (she's great at making friends with all kinds of people, and is a great student) and laid out the roadmap of what had to happen if her behavior continues because of my responsibilities. She often complained about being singled out so I brought that up with her and we taught her strategies of what to do if she felt that way again. I wasn't able to implement your strategy Ed due to lack of time but I'll keep it in mind should we need to have a chat with her again.

    She didn't make a lot of eye contact with me but she did listen respectfully.
     
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  20. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Apr 15, 2016

    I need to rant... This year, my A students are giving me more headaches than the ones which traditionally cause a ruckus. It's kind of weird, since this is one of our roughest groups of boys as I've mentioned in the past, and they're very rowdy, but in my class they are well-behaved. Maybe the level of control I'm having to maintain in my classroom to maintain this environment MUST be doing something to my A students...? Well it's only a few.

    Anyway, with this girl I've been working with, she is at least now meeting my expectations for behavior. She's not doing it happily, and she still loathes me, and probably talks about me behind my back all day, but at the very least, she keeps her testing to a minimum, and follows the rules. When she does test (tiny things like saying 'no' when I ask her to do something), she retracts it very quickly (like saying 'just kidding, I'm going, I'm going!").

    However she has a group of female friends who I think have been emboldened by her gossip and badmouthing of me behind her back. All A students. They're a group of 4, and 2 of them are still sweethearts, even though they lend sympathetic ears to her plight, they at least don't let it affect their behavior in the classroom or their attitude towards me.

    However another student who up until this point in the year who has been all but silent, decided to show me attitude.

    We were in a different room today, and they decided to sit at the very back at a table that could accommodate 1 person (all four of them sitting around it). I told them to spread out and move to empty seats near the front, and asked one girl to stay behind just to distribute them. As I said earlier, the original headache-causer started out with a deadpan "no" followed by a "just kidding, just kidding, I'm going". I wasn't going to press it. Anyway I asked another girl to stay behind, apparently it was her birthday because as I asked her to do that, another of the girls said with not a small amount of attitude in her voice and pose "So, you're going to make her sit alone here on her birthday? You're rude." and laughed and sat next to the original head-ache causer who exchanged high-fives with her and continued giggling. It wasn't a lot, and it doesn't sound very disrespectful, but I know you guys have experienced students being disrespectful in their tone and pose if not their words. It was fairly shocking from this girl who is normally very quiet.

    We just went along as normal and I set everyone up to take the test. During the test, I pulled her aside (she was looking pretty timid now) and told her that I know she is aware that I take disrespect very seriously and that for now, I will just give her a warning, but the next time it happens, I will have to contact home. I don't think it will happen again, as I know this student's family very well (I've taught her two brothers), and her parents would immediately put a stop to this, but even so she was still trying to put out a little bit of attitude in her nod and her return to her desk, and I'm also annoyed that the original student who has largely stopped her behavior is getting others to misbehave for her and offering positive peer reinforcement for it (the high five).

    It happened earlier this week as well, where I had to give a consequence to another student, and a student sitting next to the original student, and who listens a lot to her complaints mouthed the words: "what the fu--".

    At this point, it's a peer pressure thing. This student is a bully but consequently in a very strong social position where other students like to follow along with her bullying of other students and disrespectful attitude. Other students want to be liked by her. I actually think I handled the situation well this time, I just was wondering what to do if it goes further. I don't even know if it will go further but I foresee having to keep an eye out on everyone this girl gets in contact with.
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2016
  21. Luv2TeachInTX

    Luv2TeachInTX Comrade

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    Apr 15, 2016

    I think you're giving this girl too much power by worrying about what she is saying to her friends about you. There is really nothing you can do about that. I would just stick to your classroom management plan and hand out consequences when students disrespect you. I would give a verbal warning, then a call home, then a TAB out to another classroom, or a lunch/after school detention, etc.

    I know as human beings we want to be liked, but you can't please everyone all of the time. This girl is lashing out because she doesn't like being held accountable for her behavior. Oh well! As long as your students are learning and you are providing them with an environment conducive for learning, you are doing your job. :)
     
  22. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    I completely understand what you're saying. I am attempting to not let her occupy my mind too much. What is a TAB?
     
  23. HSEnglishteach

    HSEnglishteach Rookie

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    Apr 16, 2016

    It's the long game, brother. It sounds like you have a low empathy kid. I had one last year. Rapport was impossible. All she understood was consistency. Praise what and when you can, but never give an inch: she needs you to care about her by holding her accountable the same way you hold your other students accountable, with not one ounce of difference. In keeping with that, I would be careful NOT to give this kid any special attention. She's just one of many. That's fair. Your overfocusing on her is not fair for anyone.

    Approaching this from a broader view, remember that you control the classroom and enforce expectations not for the expectations themselves or to keep appearances but so you and your students can relax and enjoy. The operative word here is JOY. You're strict so you can have fun and find pleasure in your students, so you can show them the caring love of a passionate teacher. Are you relaxing? Are you praising? Are you having fun?
     
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  24. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Thanks HS! That's pretty much how I've been approaching this from a purely strategic point of view. The consistency has really helped a ton, as evidenced by her diminishing poor behavior. Still no empathy for others, but at least she is behaving for the most part.

    Emotionally, I have been focusing on her too much (though I try not to let it show in class), simply because I've felt such great success in almost all other areas of my teaching this year, and this is one stubborn issue that keeps cropping up.

    And we have been enjoying ourselves in spite of her negative attitude about all of the activities we do. There is another clique of friends who have identified her bullying ways (when she was picking on another student), but they're two separate cliques and don't often mingle.

    Again my goal is really to get her out of my mind and continue treating her like every other student. Ranting about it on here often helps me to clear thoughts about this student out (so sorry to those who have to read my rants) otherwise my thoughts just continue cycling in my head.
     
  25. HSEnglishteach

    HSEnglishteach Rookie

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    Apr 16, 2016

    I would be sure, too, to hold her accountable for even what may seem like subtle disrespect. Saying something like "This is stupid!" should be met with a dispassionately given consequence. Don't want to be a part of the activity? You can complete an independent activity.

    Those little things can poison the culture if you're not careful.
     
  26. Luv2TeachInTX

    Luv2TeachInTX Comrade

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    Apr 16, 2016

    It stands for take a break. Problematic students are sent to a neighboring teacher's class (usually to a higher grade with a firm teacher) for a time out.
     
  27. ms.irene

    ms.irene Connoisseur

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    Apr 18, 2016

    This sounds like middle-school mean-girl bullying. It also sounds like some of these girls might be the "good girls" who aren't used to being called out on their attitudes by other teachers. Stick to your guns and to your plan and try not to let it get under your skin. As I'm sure you know, kids this age will often act like they hate your guts to save face socially, even if they do respect you deep down.
     
    Peregrin5 likes this.

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