At Wit's End with Behaviour Support/Emotional Students

Discussion in 'Behavior Management' started by Thrown2theDogs, May 23, 2018.

  1. Thrown2theDogs

    Thrown2theDogs New Member

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    May 23, 2018

    My students do not respond to consequences, PBIS, token economy, parent support, buddy teacher breaks, redirections, ignoring the misbehaviour, re-teaching procedures, or anything else I've tried. They are difficult for most of their teachers but for all of us it's hit or miss--each student may be an angel and buddy one day and be cursing and making threats the next day. I don't know what to do, and I'm going to have the same students again next year!
     
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  3. Been There

    Been There Habitué

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    May 23, 2018

    Welcome to A-Z. As with most serious problems, the longer they are allowed to worsen, the more difficult they are to resolve. Now that the end of the year is in sight, I don't think there's much of a chance that things can be turned around. Instead, to prepare for next year, you may benefit from reading posts from teachers in similar situations and the suggestions that they received.
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2018
  4. Thrown2theDogs

    Thrown2theDogs New Member

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    May 23, 2018

    I have middle school students, ages 11-16. My class sizes vary throughout the year based on IEP changes, but have ranged from 7-15. Two classes are only 7th and only 8th graders, but one is all three grades together. My subject is Math, but they are all at very different levels and in the case of the combo class I am expected to simultaneously teach three separate curricula while managing their behaviours and I am typically alone with that group (which is actually a designated and supposedly very restricted Behaviour Support group.) Most are in special education for emotional disabilities as I serve a very traumatized and unfortunate population, but almost all also perform 1-7 years below grade level as well. I have been with them for this whole school year and will have half of the same students next year as well (7th transitioning to 8th). Most of them are on point sheets for the behaviour program because of behaviour problems in multiple or all classes this year and all had similar behaviours last year. I have a para-educator, but she is not particularly helpful and at times they have used her kindness (and often her lack of awareness) to try to go behind my back for privileges, passes, etc. (This is a separate issue that I have been discussing with her all year to try to stop, but her break schedule is not conducive to helping us appear to be working together.) I have been told I have excellent behaviour management plans. I use restorative justice, PBIS, and Leader in Me. I adhere to schoolwide consequences as well as personal classroom consequences that are clearly defined and consistent. Administration is inconsistent in following through on their own policies and consequences, and even from one grade level to another. The students know that they can get away with walking out, yelling, cursing, threatening, disrupting, arguing, and doing nearly anything they want to do because most of their parents are not supportive, administration does not hold them accountable, they are unaffected by my consequences or even the rare team leader or administrative consequence. Restorative Justice doesn't seem to work. When there have been 4 adults (me, a para, a counselor, and the IEP chair) all in the room, they still misbehaved in all of their usual ways. I don't know how to get through to them to help them understand that they are only hurting themselves and their classmates/friends, that they are preventing themselves and each other from learning and growing...and I don't know how I'm supposed to get through four more years of this.
     
  5. Loomistrout

    Loomistrout Devotee

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    May 25, 2018

    Kudos to you for understanding when something isn't working. The mark of an effective management system is the fact you don't have to use it any more because it IS working.

    As long as students "know they can get away with _____ " not much of real importance is going to happen. That is, "no" needs to be interpreted as meaning "no". Without consistency among all - aides, administration, teachers - students will continue to test because sometimes "no" means something else. It's critical your aide be trained; on board with what you are trying to accomplish. I had an aide assigned to me who wasn't trained. She undid in two minutes what I had been working on for weeks. It was not her fault. She was doing the best she could with skills she brought to the job.

    Before any management system will work as designed students need to perceive the person delivering it as someone to regard seriously in the first place. The latest fad in discipline will not cover up the fact its likely failure if it's built on a foundation of sand. In other words, no program will save a teacher if students think the teacher is a wimp. At the same time, the "Attila the Hun" approach will not win any praise from students either. These kids come from homes where cuss, hit and slap are the norm. Does anyone really think they can be scared into righteousness by a check mark?

    An excellent source for exploring the "art" of "meaning business" (as opposed to being "mean") is Fred Jones' Tools For Teaching.
     
  6. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

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    May 25, 2018

    I would agree that you must be consistent, but that means in addition to the write ups for poor behavior, there must be genuine write ups of praise when the students are doing the right thing, being a peer role model, or rebounding from acting out and turning their behavior around. Make sure your para knows that you won't tolerate staff splitting, so you both have to be on the same page at all times. You can't change admin or other staff, but over time you will earn respect because you don't play favorites, enforce the rules the same, across the board, and you recognize growth and positive behaviors. It isn't a popularity contest, as I tell my students, but they know exactly what I enforce and they know that the work must be done for the grade. My feeling is that for some of these students, it is their first steps to intrinsic motivation and recognition of their own appropriate behavior. These are, however, just my thoughts on the subject . . .
     
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2018
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  7. Jun 4, 2018

    Plese don't take this the wrong way but I have taught for many years in severe behavior classrooms and worked with many at risk students. Setting up a system for respectful safe behavior in the classroom can be tough these days. As "Been There" has noted it is getting very late in the year for any new type of implementation. The key to especially difficult kids is the type of relationship that you have formed with them. So many people talk about consequences and reward systems sometimes we forget that relationship building is the key. Sometimes we need to just STOP and get to know the personalities in our classroom. Unless those kids feel they can trust you, you really don't have a hope in hell. Social emotional programming for your needs is also something that needs to be addressed. Good luck
     
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  8. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

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    Jun 4, 2018

    I believe in forming relationships with my students, but would caution that this doesn't mean becoming their best friend. What it should mean is respect for one another, genuine joy when the students find ways to meet challenges head on, and that you can support them when they feel defeated. This is especially important in the younger MS and HS students who lack self confidence and a support system. I attended an IEP meeting for a student today who has struggled to find a way to appreciate their strengths, instead focusing on their failures while never recognizing the small victories. I was thrilled to be able to bring in the student's work which clearly indicated that despite the fact that the student feels like a total failure, the work clearly showed growth that the student should feel proud of. I know that the parents were thrilled to have concrete proof that this student is showing emotional growth, despite poor self esteem. This student was surprised that I was able to share this picture of growth and give credit where credit was due. I can only hope that this interaction will help us build a stronger relationship going forward. The student is aware that I am watching, and acknowledging, her growth and perseverance, something she thought was invisible to others. She has a ways to go, but I know that her family got a glimpse of the maturity she is developing, and it will make it easier for them to support her, even when the days are sometimes rough and stormy. She feels lost in the crowd, but for today, she realized that I see her clearly, and appreciate her efforts. It is something we can both build on.
     
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