Bad classroom management :(

Discussion in 'New Teachers' started by Pi-R-Squared, Aug 23, 2013.

  1. Pi-R-Squared

    Pi-R-Squared Groupie

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    Aug 23, 2013

    Today, a student of mine wrote a note to me.

    It reads, "Whenever I am doing my work, xxxxx and yyyyy are always talking, yelling, telling jokes, and throwing things to each other. I really wish they could be separated. xxxxx is also asking to copy everyone's work so she doesn't have to do it. I can't really handle it anymore. Please don't tell her I suggested it. Looking forward to a good year! Thank you so much!"


    This is the same class that I knew I would have problems with because of xxxxx being very talkative and disruptive. I figure that it's a BAD SIGN when a student has to write a note to a teacher when there are problems going on. I went to another math teacher and she told me that I should keep the problem student, xxxxx, in the back corner and place yyyyy in the same row at the front so that yyyyy would have to turn 180 degrees to talk with xxxxx.

    Also, the problems aren't just isolated to those two girls. There are boys seated near each other who make noises and jokes and laughs. One of them is an IEP and need to sit in the front to keep attention. The other boy is a known trouble maker..... I definitely will be re-making my seating chart but any other advice would surely be appreciated.....

    I don't want classroom management hanging over my neck especially when I have other things to worry about!

    :help::help::help::help:
     
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  3. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Were you surprised? Or did you know things were being thrown and such?

    For what it's worth, it's good the student felt comfortable enough to tell you how he or she felt.
     
  4. RadiantBerg

    RadiantBerg Cohort

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    I firmly believe that the best classroom management plan is a good lesson plan.

    How does a typical day in your class look? What do you do? What do the students do?
     
  5. Pi-R-Squared

    Pi-R-Squared Groupie

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    I knew one had thrown a jacket from one to the other. I didn't realize that it is getting worse.... The worse part is that an IEP student is sitting in the front. Behind him is a notorious trouble-maker. I think the other students are noticing, too. I'm trying the "ignore it" approach but it's not working. Constantly reminding her to stop talking isn't working as well. And the boys make noises and it's getting on my nerves.
     
  6. GemStone

    GemStone Habitué

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    I don't think these are behaviors that should be ignored. What discipline procedure do you have in place? Consequences? There needs to be a system that is known to the students and that you consistently follow through with.
     
  7. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    This is going to sound judgmental and I truly don't mean it that way. Why didn't you notice that they were always talking and yelling? I mean...yelling. That's something that I feel like most teachers would notice.
     
  8. RadiantBerg

    RadiantBerg Cohort

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    The "ignore it" approach is most typically employed by new teachers who want to be friends with the students. You can do it for small things, but not for things like you describe. It doesn't last long.
     
  9. TeachableClass

    TeachableClass New Member

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    I've been there. I know exactly how you feel. I have so many memories of sitting with post-its of student names, arranging and rearranging, thinking it's just not possible to make a seating chart that works! It's extremely frustrating.
    I think you need to start at square one teaching your expectations for behaviors very specifically. Then you need to have a simple, clear-cut system for addressing behaviors that do not meet your expectations.
    Message me if you want some more tips on what that system might look like. I'd love to help!
     
  10. Pi-R-Squared

    Pi-R-Squared Groupie

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    I don't hear them yelling but talking definitely.... The girls talks CONSTANTLY and it has gotten the attention of one student who told another teacher that she bothers him! I'm going to be changing seating arrangements and will talk to the trouble-maker outside of class on Monday. I don't want to send her to the P but another teacher told me not to hesitate if she disrespects me. Only thing is I don't want to be seen as a new teacher who couldn't handle classroom manangement! :(
     
  11. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Sounds like Rearrangement Time. Alter the desk positions if it makes you look a little less you're socking it to certain students. Otherwise, just let them know you're making adjustments after the first couple of weeks have given you perspective on class dynamics. Well, don't put it quite THAT way or they'll lunge for a dictionary.
     
  12. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Positives:
    - you have been aware of some of the problems
    - you have a student who cares enough and trusts you enough to tell you
    - you want to make changes

    questions:
    - do you have a clear system of consequences that are communicated and understood by the students?
    - are you consistent with it?
    - if not, why not? Is it confusing? do you not have faith in it? (I've had that before then I had to change the system)
    - are the consequences severe enough to make the kids want to avoid them?
    - do you have one on one conversations with the students about their behavior?
    - do you have a reward system?
    - if yes, is it working?
    - if not, would you consider one? even if the class is bad, and you don't feel like rewarding them, it make a huge difference.

    You can also consider establishing a quick order in the classroom by giving 2 warnings and then sending the student out (if possible), or give other consequences. Saying "Jamie, that's one", then "Jamie, that's 2, on the next one you're out" (or whatever consequence you have) is clear and shows that you mean business. Not engaging in battles or excuses and being matter of fact like this also shows that they can't frustrate you and you'll do whatever it takes to ensure others can learn.
     
  13. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    1. The misbehaviors are impacting others' learning

    2. You admit to expecting you'd have trouble with this class.


    If you don't get it under control NOW, it will escalate, kids will mention it to parents, gades will suffer, admin will find out about it.i
    Nail this down...without classroom mgt, there is no learning.


    I have NO issues with the troublemakers knowing seat rearrangement or any other actions you take are on sequences of their choices. Be firm, set consequences.
     
  14. willow129

    willow129 Comrade

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    I only see my kids once a week but, yeah, last year if there was a problem I'd been noticing I'd just make a note of it on the chart right when I'm thinking of it, go home and fix it. Sometimes I would swap two people in the middle of class if it needed it. Next time I see the kids I say, I changed the seating chart so check your new seats as you come in. Some are thrilled to have new seats haha. And they also complain and I tell them to go to their seat quietly please and thank you :) Oh and then they ask (raising hands of COURSE ;) ) can't we pick our own seats and I say nope! That's pretty much how it worked for me! Not scary. For some classes I had to do it often. I don't think you need to give any excuses about it. Just go ahead and do it.

    And I think, well, others can chime in, but I feel like airborne objects = to the office/call home. Or, after-school or something (I can't do after school punishments because I travel between schools but...) Maybe I'm opinionated on that because there are instruments in my room and that would be SCARY but...that could get awful quickly.

    Learn to have hawk eyes and ears :) I think that's basically the difference I've seen between good classroom managers and not-so-good, the good ones see EVERYTHING. And the students know it. And when they see it, something is done about it. It's like a kindergarten teacher at our school, LITERALLY, I'd watch her come into my chaotic class, and stand next to a student and they would STOP. And she would point out to the students 5 things that had happened I was too overwhelmed to notice. And they would be completely sheepish. After they had just been totally nightmarish to me. (That was a hard class for anyone associated with it so, all the more amazing that she could do that)
     
  15. willow129

    willow129 Comrade

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    Oh, another thought also...I think, the "ignore it" approach only works (granted, I'm thinking of elementary) if you are actively pointing out the good behaviors you see and rewarding them. Because I feel like otherwise you're ignoring every behavior equally.
     
  16. orangetea

    orangetea Connoisseur

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    I've had classes where there were kids who were rude, disruprive, and just didn't care about my class enough to work.

    After the second day, I pulled them aside after class and told them that they needed to get their acts together. I was harsh and very mean--I basically said that if they were going to act this way, I truly didn't give a crap if they were learning or not because of the way they were behaving...but I was required to keep them in my room. So I told them that they have zero right to harm their classmates' learning because that I do care about...

    I could change seats, but I didn't want to punish kids by having to sit next to them because they were obnoxious. And with the group I had, I felt like there would be disruptions no matter where they sat. I could see how it wouldn't work with some kids, but the kids I had were just spoiled and didn't appreciate the education they were getting. I had to be harsh and it worked. Also, once they got back their poor quiz scores, they started to pay attention more.
     
  17. paperheart

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    I think you are doing a good job at finding a solution. The fact that you were honest about the issues with a colleague and with everyone here shows you are persistent at coming up with a solution. Moving chairs is a good start, but make sure you address the student behavior with expectations and consequences. Do not hesitate to do the consequences. I would individually tell them I had thought about their behavior over the weekend (be specific about the behaviors) and decided that I would be doing X consequence the second they acted up. This conversation is their warning and from this point forward that is how I would react to their disruptive behavior. Do not ask them any questions during/after informing them of this change. Dismiss them to sit down and begin your lesson. If they do anything inappropriate, tell them. "Joe, this is the type of inappropriate behavior we just talked about, so you now have the consequence we discussed." Do not skip a beat in returning to your lesson and ignore any rude responses.

    That is my suggestion. Best wishes!
     
  18. LouiseB

    LouiseB Cohort

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    What type of consequences would you suggest? I really like this but would those suggested consequences.
     
  19. Pi-R-Squared

    Pi-R-Squared Groupie

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    My wife says that the student who wrote the letter to me probably likes me, otherwise, she wouldn't have done it. She also happens to have a mom who teaches in the same school district! That's why I had such trouble sleeping last night, I think. I'm afraid word will get around to others teachers in the district, then it will make its way to admin at my school and then that would be a negative blemish on my record.
     
  20. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    If you were at your dinner table, and one of your own children threw a jacket across the table, I'm guessing you would not choose to ignore it for several reasons:
    1. You would want to teach him the correct behavior.
    2. You would want to impress on the other adolescents at your table that this is NOT the way you want them to behave.
    3. You would know that, left unchecked, the behavior would quickly deteriorate to Animal House levels
    4. It's not an enviornment in which you choose to place yourself.

    For all those reasons I urge you NOT to ignore disruptive behavior. The adolescents in your class owe you and each other exactly the same behavior you would expect of your own kids. And don't be shy about letting them know that the reason you're reacting is because of their behavior. The seats are being changed because of misbehavior.

    Changing seats is only one tiny little stopgap measure. Given enough time and the feeling that they won't be punished, any two kids have the potential to cause a problem. The idea is to create an atmosphere in your class where the kids won't cause trouble because they realize that it will come back to bite THEM in the tush. Their classmates will be annoyed, and their grades will suffer, so they'll get grief at home. And it will impact on the most important thing in their lives: their free time. Part of that is the working bell to bell thing-- if misbehaving will cost them understanding, it will eventually impact their grades. They need to understand that ASAP-- that it's in their best interests to behave. Not because they'll learn more-- at that point in their lives, knowledge is too lofty a goal. But because behaving well leads to high grades, free time, and happy parents.

    As soon as you can tomorrow, track down either an overhead projector or a document camera. Either will allow you to teach while facing your students-- that should prevent anything else from going airborn. And the very first time someone misbehaves, you stop your lesson and deal with it. Any kid on the fence about misbehaving should become absolutely certain that it's not worth it to him.

    Kids copying work?? Not on my watch. That's an easy enough fix... If you sense they're cheating on homework, put some of the exact same problems on the quiz you're giving Tuesday, without warnng. The kids who did their own work will get through, and the one who midlessly copied won't. But don't treat it as punishment for the bad, treat it as a gift for those who have been working so dilligently. And let them all know that you'll be doing this on most tests and quizzes in the future-- so dilligence on the homework and attending extra help will typically boost grades.

    If you sense they're cheating on quizzes/tests (or even if they're not) give multiple versions of the same test to the same class. Change an 8 to a 3, a 5 to a 9 and so on. Alternate versions: ABABABAB... and don't say a word. If there's cheating going on, the kid has no plausible excuse, and word will get out. Proctor voraciously...walk up and down the aisles, constantly reminding kids to cover their work. Make it easy for the good kids to say they were sure they would get caught if they gave away answers.

    Also, some kid is going to change his answers, then claim you mismarked his test. After you grade the tests, but before you hand them back, Xerox the test of anyone you're unsure of. When it happens, you have proof for the dean.

    Word will get out.
     
  21. Loomistrout

    Loomistrout Devotee

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    When designing furniture layout to help with discipline the critical factor is proximity or moving yourself closer to students. It is of little use to place students in the corner and place yourself at the board 30 feet away. They will continue to goof off, gambling you are too far away to do anything about it. Furniture should be arranged so you can take the fewest steps to get from one student to another. A room where furniture blocks the teacher and forces a polar route keeps many teachers from dealing with discipline - "It just isn't worth the effort. I think I will ignore it."

    Aliceacc has a good suggestion about facing the students as much as possible. Another technique is to have a student write for you as you circulate among the class. It's really difficult for a student to throw something to their neighbor when the teacher is standing between them. This is often referred to as "invisible discipline". It doesn't look like the teacher is doing anything, just cruising around the room when in fact the teacher knows very well there is a direct relationship between where the teacher is and how students behave.
     
  22. Pi-R-Squared

    Pi-R-Squared Groupie

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    Well, to start off, I made my new seating chart thinking of the following. I separated the problem boys into different rows. There are 6 boys and 15 girls so that was the easy part. Problem male #1 is seated in the front middle row as there are 5. The girls that threw stuff to each other are in the same row, one in the front right next to my podium and the other in the back, same row. Since they are cornered, I surrounded both of them with studious individuals. The other 2 talkers are also separated and surrounded by quiet kids. I agree with getting myself a doc camera ASAP as I was trying to find a cheap solution. An ELMO TT02s goes for about $200 and I'd still need a find cables to plug into the projector on the ceiling. I figure this is the first step to getting something out of this group. I am very fortunate as I have been assigned 6 classes but 2 of them are advanced level, 3 of them seem to want to work hard, and the last one being the one that has all the troublemakers in it. ;)
     
  23. HistTchr

    HistTchr Habitué

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    Sounds like you have a good plan. The last class of the day is always a tough one--particularly when you have students that present behavioral challenges in school!
     
  24. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Yes, you must see your students all the time!
    I have learned that a long time ago, especially not to ever turn your back on the. I especially realized the importance at my previous school (lock up).
    I always, always use a projector, and when I started last year, my P knew how important it was for me, she made sure she got me one. And this is why I'm using a Powerpoint for my lessons, so that everything is up there, written already.
    I just got a docucam, but I have to wait until they hang my projector from the ceiling to get it in installed, then I'll be set for good.

    Last week I did spend almost a whole class period (4 times) writing things on the board (getting a paragraph together), but I wrote quick, and didn't quite turn away from my students. They were writing at the same time, so they didn't have time to goof off. Not something I'd do often, but I also wanted to test my students to see if they could handle it, and they did.
     
  25. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    While you work out the document camera, ask around: I bet there's an old overhead somewhere in that building. And if you have a whiteboard you can project it onto, the screen becomes a non issue.

    But before spending $200 of my own money, I would look to see what resources exist in school. If you have a mentor, ask him or her. If not, ask the other math teachers. Try the library. There's got to be an old overhead there somewhere.

    I have had classes where turning my back was a problem. (I've never been crazy about overheads, and this was before document cameras.) When that happened, I started to teach by dictation... and made sure it was something they would have trouble visualizing (like quadratic formula.) I refused to slow my normal pace simply because I was dictating-- if this was how they wanted the class, it wasn't going to keep me from covering my syllabus.

    After a very short while, we agreed that this atmosphere was NOT condusive to learning, and that class would be much better if I could occasionally turn my back to them. After a while you develop the knack of turning at a 45 degree angle, so you can still see what you're writing but most of your attention is on the class.

    That, of course, presumes that they're at a place where the majority of kids in the class want to learn. If you're not at that place, it will backfire big time-- the good kids will go and complain, and the bad kids will find it funny.
     
  26. HistTchr

    HistTchr Habitué

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    I was thinking the same thing! I have an overhead projector in my classroom that I have barely used (maybe once or twice per year) ever since I got an LCD projector about five years ago. I would happily give it away to someone who wanted to use it more regularly!
     
  27. Pi-R-Squared

    Pi-R-Squared Groupie

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    During in-service week, someone was cleaning out a closet and was giving away THREE overhead projectors! I didn't think of taking one but I will definitely look for one tomorrow during planning period. Now, my concern for that would be would I use it only for my problem class? Other kids will ask, "Why is that in front of the room?" :lol:
     
  28. Pi-R-Squared

    Pi-R-Squared Groupie

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    I was totally spoiled during my student teaching. My CP had an ELMO and would sit and write in notebooks as she taught class. She never turned her back to her students and got to sit as she taught.... I taught the same way in her class until I started graphing functions. It was easier to erase mistakes on a whiteboard than in a notebook so I eventually taught via walk-n-talk method.... My present classroom does have a smartboard and projector but I have yet to use the smartboard for more than putting bellwork on the board. :(
     
  29. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    I would use it all the time. You gotta take multiple intelligences and English learners into consideration (as well as IEPs) and a lot of students are visual learners.
    It makes everything easier if you put the textbook under the docucam if you guys read from it. You can quickly redirect 5 students at once if they didn't pay ettention or got off track. Simply show them on the screen where you are, you don't have to walk up to them to show them.

    Anything you would write on the board, you write it on a piece of paper under the docucam, facing the students. If you have to write lengthy things out, you can save it, and you don't have to keep erasing the board and rewriting it, like I did last week.

    If your laptop gave you problems, and you were working off of a powerpoint, you could simply print the slides and put them under the docucam.

    You can do so much with it - definitely use it in all your classes! I can't wait for mine to be installed.
     
  30. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    You can also use an individual small white board under the docucam and write and erase as you go.
     
  31. ready2learn

    ready2learn Comrade

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    If you can't find an overhead or document camera you might look to see if your school has any kind of slate for a smartboard for you to write on and walk around. I know it's called an activslate for a promethean board, and I know the smartboard has an equivalent, but I don't know what it is called. I am not a huge fan of it when teaching math but I have used it in the past when teaching math (for that special class) so it is doable.
     
  32. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    I agree...use it for all your classes.

    For many first year teachers, of the biggest hurdles is classroom managment. And classes that are "good" in August sometimes slip. Remember: right now you're in your teaching "honeymoon phase." Everyone has a fresh start. That starts to get stale after a while. So know that even your best class might deteriorate within the coming months. (And on the day of the first snow, or the days leading up to Christmas, or the day of the pep rally....) Kids who are totally nondescript right now will start to relax, and you can expect more issues to pop up once that honeymoon ends.

    Being able to face your students is NEVER a bad idea. (Oh, and be wary about sitting as you teach. Unless you're feeling sick, it's probably a better idea to stand. That extra height enables you to see more of what's going on. So, standing, you might see the cell phone on a lap, or a note being passed, while sitting wouldn't give you that vantage point.)

    Have a good day today, and be patient with yourself. There's a steep learning curve that first year of teaching. I very much admire you willingness to ask for advice and to work to get your classes to the place you want them to be.
     
  33. Pi-R-Squared

    Pi-R-Squared Groupie

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    UPDATE: I wrote a "thank you" to the student who wrote me the letter. She returned a smile.

    In the class, I made it resoundingly clear that I have no problems sending any troublemaker to the office if they impede upon the learning of other students in the class. I told them that it wasn't their right to keep others from learning. I also told them my behavior notebook is an arm's length away and I have no problems writing them up for infractions. My throat is sore from speaking in a loud voice as I had to remind the next period as well because there are some goof-offs in there, too...... And, I left a little birdie in the P's ear asking if it was OK for me to make someone an example by sending them to the office. He said, "Send them to the office. Don't put up with anything!"

    So, so far, so good... I have the backing of administration, so, I guess I am safe until they test me again....

    My weakness will probably be following through OR letting things become lax.... I guess this just takes time and practice. :)
     
  34. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    It sounds as though you had a good start to the week!
     
  35. willow129

    willow129 Comrade

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    Yeah, following through does take practice, I think.
     
  36. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    So glad things are going better! Personally, I despised using the ELMO the few chances I had, but that's because my hands are ugly.
     
  37. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Aficionado

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    Getting your admin on board is a smart move. It's better they hear from you first than the parents. Too many new teachers are afraid to admit they are having problems, but a good admin is there to back you up. Keep it up!
     
  38. Pi-R-Squared

    Pi-R-Squared Groupie

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    So far, so good with my 4th period class. I think they know I mean business.... During my 5th period class, they were getting a bit chatty so I said, "If you want to have your name in my behavior book, keep talking..." Then everyone quieted down very quickly. :D
     
  39. RadiantBerg

    RadiantBerg Cohort

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    That's great!
     
  40. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Aug 27, 2013

    Good!!!!
     
  41. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

    Joined:
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    Aug 27, 2013

    Warning and then follow-through with consequences is a great way to work. It's that second part that can be tough, especially when they try to backpedal.
     

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