avoiding confrontations

Discussion in 'Behavior Management' started by bobby, Apr 29, 2011.

  1. bobby

    bobby Rookie

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2007
    Messages:
    60
    Likes Received:
    0

    Apr 29, 2011

    Any advice on avoiding conrontations with students? I know I shouldn't, but it's so easy to "give it back to them", if you know what I mean. I always want to be smart back with them and I know that's a big no-no! And I know that's exactly what they want to happen.
    I realize that the teacher never wins in confrontations with students.
    Examples of students' comments to me:
    You're such a blonde!
    Nobody likes you.
    Your children are going to hate you.
    I hate you.
    You're so ugly. You look like Frankenstein.

    Okay, I could go on but you get the point. These kids are middle school high functioning LD self-contained students. So I have them for 2 or more periods a day.
     
  2.  
  3. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2007
    Messages:
    14,596
    Likes Received:
    2,698

    Apr 29, 2011

    I don't think it's appropriate to always avoid confrontations. There are times when students need to be called out on their behaviors and attitudes in a face-to-face, one-on-one sort of way. Teachers shouldn't shy away from that sort of thing. I think it's actually one of the elements of strong classroom management.

    I think what you're talking about is wanting to avoid arguments or power-struggles with kids. If that's what you mean, then I'm absolutely on your side about that one. Once a teacher starts arguing with a kid, the teacher has already lost.

    The easiest way to avoid getting into arguments with students is to just shut them down before they begin. The broken record technique is very good. "I understand that you want your cell phone back. Your parent will have to pick it up from the main office after school. Have a seat please. ... I understand. Please have a seat. ... I understand. Please have a seat. ..." If the student wants to continue, offer a choice. "I've asked you to take your seat. Please go ahead and have a seat. If you choose not to return to your seat, you will instead be choosing to go to the deans' office for insubordination. I'll give you a minute to make a decision. Would you like to have a seat or go to the deans' office?" I have found that that works like 95% of the time.

    When they make comments that are generally rude or inappropriate, a quick way to shut that down is to say, "I'm sorry you feel that way" or "Okay," then move along without allowing them a chance to continue. It's very hard for kids to know where to go from there. Student: You're always so mean to me. Teacher: I'm sorry you feel that way. Student: ...<blank or confused stare>...

    One of my students witnessed an exchange like this between me and another student (he was walking through the hallway as I was talking to the other student). He told me that next time I should say, "That sounds like YP, not MP." (That sounds like Your Problem, not My Problem.) He's sort of right about that. :lol: Maybe I'll try that line some time.
     
  4. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2010
    Messages:
    4,960
    Likes Received:
    1,148

    Apr 29, 2011

    I'm still learning this, but I was the type of person that would accidentally get into these power-struggles. i would simply respond, then the kid responds and then it's just downhill from there. So i quickly learned, that it's probably best to avoid it.
    1. most of the times they say things to see if they can get to you. These I would just ignore, and act like I didn't hear it. Everyone is watching to see what kind of reaction is coming from the teacher, and if it's nothing, then it's not interesting.
    2. Some things I would maybe diffuse with a joke, or small comment. "you're such a blond". I happen to be blond, with long hair, and I'm the first one that says sometimes "I had a blond moment". I usually say this around adults though. If a kid 'accused' me of being blond, I would just flip my hair (kind of like a spoiled brat way) and say "I know!". And quickly move on. Or "ok, sit down" or say "thank you" like as if he gave me a nice compliment, and show no negative feelings.
    3. Of course some things need to be dealt with, if a kid said to me "I hate you, and I don't have to listen to you", etc. I would have to find a way to let him know that it isn't appropriate, etc. This is something I still have work on.

    Thank God this doesn't happen a lot, but I had some situations, more so during student teaching, than during subbing.
     
  5. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2006
    Messages:
    27,534
    Likes Received:
    6

    Apr 29, 2011

    I think it's less about avoiding confrontations than avoiding boxing kids into a corner.

    I tend to have a good relationship with the kids I teach. They know I'm the adult, not one of their friends, but they also know we can joke around and I have a sense of humor.

    But when things start to go wrong, I'm pretty careful not to put them into a position where it's impossible to save face.

    So, for example, if a kid has to go to the bathroom, I may make it an unattractive choice (say, by telling him he'll have to make up the time after school) but I won't tell him he can't go. A kid who HAS to go has no choice but to disobey.

    That said, there are some times when you need to draw that line in the sand.
     
  6. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2010
    Messages:
    4,960
    Likes Received:
    1,148

    May 1, 2011

    Just recently I was subbing in a classroom for a little over a week. One class had a student teacher, so she taught, I sat and observed. She didn't really have a great handle on the classroom, but she was ok overall. This was 8th grade.
    During one activity, one boy said out loud "... and you call yourself an English teacher?" Everyone heard it, and I'm sure the teacher heard it, too. She ignored it, like nothing happened, and moved on.

    This would be a tough one for me. It was pretty disrespectful, and I would think if I let the kids say things like this and do nothing, more disrespect could follow, because they might think I'll allow it. Ignoring it seemed like the right thing to do, though. If I was in this situation, I wouldn't know which one to choose.

    What would you suggest?
     
  7. bobby

    bobby Rookie

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2007
    Messages:
    60
    Likes Received:
    0

    May 2, 2011

    Thanks all for the advice. It's just a handful of my students who make these comments. But being the sarcastic person that I am, it's so hard not to respond.
    If a student makes a comment that is totally disrespectful, I think some kind of discipline needs to happen. Maybe not at the moment it happens (b/c both of you are upset). Maybe just ignore it and then later (in private) discipline the student? I don't know. I've been teaching for 6 years and it's never been this bad. :(
     
  8. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2006
    Messages:
    27,534
    Likes Received:
    6

    May 2, 2011

    "Tommy! See me after school."
     
  9. Major

    Major Connoisseur

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2005
    Messages:
    1,620
    Likes Received:
    5

    May 2, 2011

    What do you mean by "high functioning LD self-contained" students?
     
  10. bobby

    bobby Rookie

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2007
    Messages:
    60
    Likes Received:
    0

    May 3, 2011

    High-functioning as in they could almost be resource students. They are capable of much more than they let on.
     
  11. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2010
    Messages:
    4,960
    Likes Received:
    1,148

    May 5, 2011

    This thread went hand in hand with what happened earlier this week. Definitely learned something new! :)

    i was subbing in a 7th grade English class. This is the school where I did my student teaching so a lot of the students and all the teachers know me and i get requested a lot. I subbed for this teacher before, and these classes for other teachers.

    Everything went well, except in one class, 1 student was defiant and disruptive right from the beginning. I always establish my rules, and then we go from there. The routine usually is that some students try to stretch the boundaries, then they see how far they can get (that I mean what i said) and then everything goes well. This student kept not listening and talking back. In addition he was mocking me by mimicking my accent, he asked me if I needed a hearing aid because once I couldn't hear what he said to me.
    He was already out of his way to go next door, I just had to write up his detention. Then he called me a retard. He said it just loud enough for most of the students to hear, but I heard it, too.

    So what I did with all of this behavior is
    1. kept my cool
    2. ignored the mocking me and disrespectful comments (not responding to them) but gave out the consequence. Ended up writing a referral, sent student to next door.
    This whole thing went down during the 1st 10-15 minutes or so, along with another student's issues that were not this severe.

    After he left, I talked to the class - I didn't want them to think that I'd just let someone talking to me like that, etc. I only spent about 2 minutes on this, and told them that this student didn't make look bad by talking like that, he made himself and his family look awful. They represent their parents wherever they go, and by acting like this, this student insulted his mother and father, etc etc. This class (as well as the school) has a large Middle Eastern population and this usually resonates with them. After this the class was fine.

    So what should I have done better? What did I do wrong?

    I talked with one of the teachers, who I keep in high regard - he has perfect classroom control and he always has great advice. He told me it is usually a tough one to decide what to ignore and what to address. he said if the kid is already on his way out of the classroom then it's best to ignore. But in other situations, disrespectful comments are made best by ignoring them, letting them go and then at the end of the class tell the student to see hm after class. Then talk to him in private - this is way he can save face, he won't be put into the situation t defend himself in front of his peers and act up even more.

    Aliceacc, like you said "see me after school". The only thing is that if i say that, as a sub, he won't come to my classroom, so maybe keeping him after class is better. The only thing is that with a 4 minute passing period we don't really have time for discussions. :(

    This student really surprised me though. I never had major problems with him, he was a little disruptive sometimes, but nothing big. Obviously something happened that day and he took it out on me.
    I'm glad I was able to not respond to the confrontation, didn't take it personally and didn't become sarcastic, threatening or weak.
     
  12. Carliee

    Carliee Rookie

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2011
    Messages:
    17
    Likes Received:
    1

    May 27, 2011

    I sometimes will call a student over to me in a calm manner...mostly gesture with a whisper or quiet voice inviting them over. I talk with them quietly if they cooperate with it. This is something I need to do more often.
     
  13. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2009
    Messages:
    3,094
    Likes Received:
    0

    May 27, 2011

    It's always hard to know when to ignore a comment and when to address it. Each incident has to be handled individually. We always hear about giving choices, but we need to remember we have choices too. Specifically, wehave the choice to become upset by a comment. Nobody can "make" you get angry or upset; that choice is always yours alone to make.

    That being said, there will always be comments we feel can't or shouldn't be ignored. How we respond depends on the nature of the comment.

    "You're such a blomde." - Thanks. I like your hair too.
    "I hate you." - OK or So?
    "Nobody likes you." - By "nobody", ypu mean "you", right?

    Some comments require a more seriou response. Calling the teacher a "retard" is a good example. That shouldn't be ignored, even if the kid is leaving the room. In cases like this, I have no problem calling the student out. I also have no problem making "lose face", because they should be embarrassed to say something like that.

    One student recently called me "gay" in class. He didn't expect me to hear it, ut I did. I asked him to repeat his comment. At first, he just looked at his desk. I said " If you're brave enougj to say it to your neighbor, then be brave enough to say it to my face." When he did repeat the word, I asked if he knew what ot really meant. He shook his head, so I told him, "The next time you decide to make a derabotory comment, perhaps you should choose yoir words more wisely. Otjerwise, all you do is show your own ignorance."
     
  14. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2001
    Messages:
    24,958
    Likes Received:
    2,110

    May 27, 2011

    You need to set boundaries and establish a climate of respect. Trust me, NO ONE would ever say those words to me.
     

Share This Page

Members Online Now

Total: 440 (members: 2, guests: 409, robots: 29)
test