Are your students scared of you?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Pi-R-Squared, Oct 16, 2017.

  1. Pi-R-Squared

    Pi-R-Squared Groupie

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    Oct 16, 2017

    I said to a student that I'd make 'em write sentences like their English teacher does if they misbehaved. The student said, "I'd do it in English because I'm scared of her. But I'm not scared of you. So, I wouldn't do it."

    I learned last year that writing assignments aren't a solution so I wouldn't do that for discipline. However, I found that comment odd because I don't want to have students scared of me. I couldn't be the scary teacher all the time because it would be fake and exhausting. I wonder if the student was trying to figure me out on what I would do for discipline. Any ideas?
     
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  3. rpan

    rpan Cohort

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    I wouldn't take it as a compliment if a student was scared of me. We aren't supposed to intimidate them. In your situation, what I would have done is to say that I wouldn't make students write sentences either (and I really wouldn't) because that would be a punishment and I don't see any reason to punish you because you're a great kid. But I would make you stay back to catch up on work you have missed because you made poor choices by being distracted and not doing what you should have and I care about your grades and I want to see you reach your potential, not because I wanted to punish you.
     
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  4. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    I think this has an entirely different answer depending on the tone of the conversation. If I'm joking around with a student and they drop a line like that, then I had it coming and shouldn't take it seriously. If I was being serious with the student, and they give me that line in seriousness, then at the very least, a conversation after class is warranted.
     
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  5. Pi-R-Squared

    Pi-R-Squared Groupie

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    The student definitely was not kidding but I was. After saying no, I kept raising the number of sentences. 100.... no.... 200.,..no.,...500.... no...,, I was trying to make s joke but didn't mention that I wasn't going to do that because the teacher who did do this was standing next to me collecting someone's sentences. I wasn't about to undermine her in front of our students. FWIW, the student is s great kid and behaves. Not a troublemaker by any means and does work when told.
     
  6. AmyMyNamey

    AmyMyNamey Comrade

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    Oct 17, 2017

    Anyone notice how violent our society has grown over the past five decades? I'm not talking about criminals, here—they're always rather violent—I'm talking about the average American, and the tolerance or adoration of violence. We are becoming a nation of brutes.

    Here we have respect being framed in a standard more and more Americans are coming to accept as the norm. Increasingly, in the minds of our citizens, respect stems from violence, threats of violence, and fear.

    "....because I'm not afraid of you."

    What?
     
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  7. 3Sons

    3Sons Enthusiast

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    No.

    Not to say that it hasn't -- it's beyond my capacity to simply "notice". I'm just one person, and regardless of what happened in my personal life it wouldn't necessarily reflect a tend for all of America. There school I'm personally aware of now are less violent than those I grew up in, but that doesn't mean anything about the overall trend either.]
     
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  8. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    Oct 17, 2017

    Intimidation is not a technique I would like to use, but I know that some students knew I was unlikely to change my mind on expectations and that intimidated them. I never assigned rote writing. Wasn't that done in the 1960s?
     
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  9. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Oct 17, 2017

    I have a couple of colleagues who take great pride in having students "afraid" of them or making them cry (interestingly, these are not older teachers). While shaming or fear may get results in the short term, it certainly doesn't do anything beneficial in the long term.
     
  10. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

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    Just playing devil's advocate, but in "student speak" scared might be a euphimism for knowing that the other teacher means what they say, so consistent without being petty. No fan of sentences, but students do know which teachers will waffle and which ones won't.
     
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  11. miss-m

    miss-m Devotee

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    Agreed. One of the teachers on my team last year fit in this category - she was “scary” because she was firm and consistent and didn’t let students get away with misbehavior. But she didn’t TRY to intimidate or invoke fear in her students, and even if she was “scary” her students knew how much she cared for them.
     
  12. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    This is how I'd interpret that comment.
     
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  13. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    Oct 17, 2017

    In high school, one of my hands-down favorite teacher could probably be classified as a "scary teacher". She reminded us all of the lady professor for "Legally Blonde". She was strict, ran a tight classroom, and rarely smiled. Probably one of the most amazing women I've ever met just the same. She commanded respect. And... she was a favorite with a lot of other people as well.

    But she wasn't mean. But somehow still "scary". You didn't mess with her.
     
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  14. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    Oct 17, 2017

    One can be respected without being "mean".
     
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  15. Pi-R-Squared

    Pi-R-Squared Groupie

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    Oct 17, 2017

    Oh, I'm definitely not mean. And I'm most certainly not scary. I couldn't keep that working all the time. But I am continually working on connecting with all my students and trying to make connections. I find that I'm having better results with classroom mgmt this year than last. So I guess the meaning business is getting better. I didn't want to say in front of the English teacher that I tried sentence writing last year and it really didn't work long term. ;)
     
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  16. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

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    Oct 17, 2017

    Not sure that is a math kind of thing, any way.
     
  17. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

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    Not one bit. They understand that I'm going to hold them accountable and to high standards, but they know that it'll be done in a fair, meaningful, and logical way, and that I still care just as deeply about their success as the moment before.
     
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  18. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Cannot imagine trying to run a classroom that is afraid of me. One can instill respect for the rules without imposing a state of impending DOOM. Honestly, I cannot imagine students learning and growing without nurturing.
     
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  19. Belch

    Belch Companion

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    Oct 19, 2017

    I never want my students scared of me. If a student says "I ain't doing that!" then I say "well, there's always more room under the bridge for another homeless bum".

    and then walk away.
     
  20. Obadiah

    Obadiah Groupie

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    I agree with the above, respect does not necessarily equal being afraid. I double checked with my computer dictionary, and fear has two definitions, honor or respect is one definition, and dread is another, but both of those definitions, in my opinion, don't need to occur simultaneously. But speaking of fear, I fear that some teachers view classroom management as finding methods to torture students who misbehave until they finally give in and behave. Personally, I don't honor that kind of attitude and I dread the message that sends to the students.

    I understand the need for established, consistent, and fair penalties, I often compare that to penalties in sports, but no penalty, fair or unfair, is going to redirect behavior. True, an appropriate fear of getting in trouble is an effective deterrent, I appropriately fear placing my hand on a hot griddle, but redirection is taught. Fear activates the amygdala, but teaching activates the prefrontal cortex.
     
  21. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

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    So you don't want them scared of you, which I am taking to mean respect, and instead you will settle on ridiculing them with sarcasm? If this is a cultural difference thing, I'm just not seeing it as a way that I could run my classroom. Surely there must be something I am missing, because telling a student that "there's always more room under the bridge for another homeless bum" makes me question your motives and methods as a teacher. If this is teaching in Japan, I will happily stay in the U.S.
     
  22. rpan

    rpan Cohort

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    I had a teacher whom I was terrified of when I was in high school. He would probably make a drill sergeant cry. God help you if you answered a question incorrectly or forgot to bring/do your homework or you as much as shifted in your chair. I did all my homework (begged classmates in the smart class to let me copy even though I knew it was wrong because not understanding was infinitely better than not doing or doing it wrong), pretended to pay the utmost attention in class and prayed so hard he never called me to answer a question or that it was an easy question. I learnt absolutely nothing in that class and I had zero respect for the teacher. Fear does not equate to respect and intimidation does not always create a well behaved class either.
     
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  23. MrTempest

    MrTempest Companion

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    Oct 20, 2017

    How would you handle a like situation?
     
  24. Belch

    Belch Companion

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    Oct 21, 2017

    Yes, it's a cultural thing. The reason why we go to school is to get an education in order to be a benefit to society. In return, society benefits the individual by allowing them to have a place to live, food on the table, and to enjoy life.

    This dichotomy between the individual and society is based on mutual respect.

    As you said, it's a cultural thing.
     
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  25. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Oct 22, 2017

    When kids say "I'm scared of this teacher but not you." They mean that they respect the other teacher but not you. They're not really saying they are scared of the other teacher.

    If they simply said "I'm scared of this teacher" as a standalone comment, then they might mean that they are actually scared of the teacher, but the initial comment was just a way to throw a jab at you, possibly because you threatened something that they (and you) know you wouldn't do.

    If you just make threats of consequences that you have no intent to follow through on, of course kids won't "be scared" of you. They know that they can walk all over you to a certain extent before you actually do anything.
     
  26. Obadiah

    Obadiah Groupie

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    I am writing this with respect to various cultures; different societies have different beliefs and that needs to be respected. I am in agreement that education benefits society, and society benefits each societal member. I might wish to express an addendum, however, that education also enriches an individual.

    The comment concerning "bums" under a bridge, I recall a 2nd grade field trip, we were traveling through D.C. to a museum, and one student called out, "Hey, look there's a bum!" A parent quickly and politely admonished the child to use a more respectable term in describing what she saw. Many homeless people are there because they wasted their opportunities for education or employment, but there are others who are just "down on their luck." It happens. I can't remember which singer on The Lawrence Welk Show it was, but he was hired when he was, as Mr. Welk described, "down on his luck." I don't think he was homeless, but apparently out of work at the time. Art Linkletter was homeless for awhile. I met a lady who had been homeless along with her husband. She found ways to raise enough money to attend college. Then she found permanent employment and continued in college via computer to obtain an even better job. (I'm sure her husband was equally ambitious, I just didn't hear his entire story). But even for those who started out on the wrong foot, they can change. I know a pastor who started out in jail before he changed his life. A guy in my college dorm began his late teens sleeping in buildings in insulation; you never met a more kind, generous person!
     
  27. AlwaysAttend

    AlwaysAttend Fanatic

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    Oct 22, 2017

    This is in peoples heads. Ask your grandparents about their lives. They were plenty violent and just as psychologically damaging.
     
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  28. AlwaysAttend

    AlwaysAttend Fanatic

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    I work with multiple teachers who I wouldn’t allow to be my fictional kids teacher if I had anything to say about it. I don’t care how well they teach math, writing, or reading. Other damage inflicted would cancel that out.
     
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  29. Pi-R-Squared

    Pi-R-Squared Groupie

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    Yes, I agree the student was taking a swipe at me. I was kidding when threatening with sentences. A better set of consequences would be private chat, parent phone call, break detention, then referral to AP (or P) for ISS. It won't get that high though. Not a bad student I'm talking about either. Good kid who will work hard when asked.
     
  30. Froreal3

    Froreal3 Companion

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    In some schools (like the ones where the kids will run each and every teacher out of the classroom) your students have to have a healthy fear of you, but you also instill that respect and love for them, as well as get parents on your side (as much as possible). I always let parents know the first time they meet me that disrespect is simply not tolerated in my classroom. I literally tell them that their child can't disrespect me. Once the students and the parents know that you love the students and work hard for them and believe they are the best (that's what I tell my students), they will work harder for you. However, step outta line and they already know that I won't have a problem with enforcing consequences.
     
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  31. Milsey

    Milsey Habitué

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    I've studied psychology, so speaking in a loud, authoritative voice, being in their space, and staring straight at them does scare them. Works like a charm - and I don't even have to wear my wicked witch outfit. I recommend teachers who are struggling with class management try this.
     
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