Discussion in 'Secondary Education Archives' started by hp123, Apr 6, 2007.
Apr 6, 2007
What are some of the major behavioral issues that you see in middle/high schoolers?
They usually get up as soon as they are done with assignments and are constantly talking even when teachers are trying to begin or conduct lessons.
Well, for middle schoolers, there are a whole slew of issues. There are the passive misbehaviors that are not overtly disruptive, such as coming to class without required materials. I am an English teacher, and I can typically count on at least one student per class without pencil, paper, or both. Sometimes you run into one who won't even try to borrow--he'll be perfectly content to sit and do nothing until you notice, then offer his lack of pencil as an excuse for not doing the assignment. My students write every day, so there's no question about whether or not a pencil will be needed in class.
You can also expect to see a fair number of students who have little or no regard for the property of others, particularly if it is something that was issued to them by the school or loaned to them by a teacher. I have a pretty large supply of paperbacks that students can read during our enrichment period. I routinely catch them bending the covers back, folding over pages, and leaving them on the floor instead of returning them to the rack.
If you teach in a school that enforces a dress code, particularly if it involves shirts being tucked in and pants being worn at the waist, count on fighting that battle with about five to ten percent of your students on a daily basis.
Then there are those acts that are disruptive. If I had to pick the one that bothers me the most, it would be talking back. I'm not referring to the blatantly disrespectful stuff; I mean the inability of some students to refrain from commenting on something that has been said. Call it Last Word Syndrome run amok. I'm finding the phrases "Did I ask?" and "Was there a question mark anywhere in what I just said?" crossing my lips much too often. They are relentless. It's gotten to the point where I don't even want them to apologize for whatever it is they were doing. I catch myself reminding my students that if they were truly sorry for their actions, they would work to make sure that they did not repeat them.
Singing, humming, pencil-tapping, foot-tapping, beatboxing, whispering, and note-passing all occur far too frequently.
Raising hands as if to contribute but offering only random, out-of-left-field questions or observations. Or the same without raising hands and waiting to be called upon.
Pushing, shoving, slapping, poking, pinching each other in hallways and restrooms.
And the talking. Oh, the talking.
Name-calling, some of it quite nasty. Profanity, especially in notes.
Inappropriate touching of a sexual nature, both welcome and unwelcome.
The perception that the reason they get in trouble is because teachers are out to get them, not that they keep doing things that they are not supposed to do. I had a situation just this week where a student said another was gay in earshot of about forty others, and when I took him to the office, he insisted that he had done nothing wrong because he was just saying what he felt!
Close cousin to the above is the belief among middle schoolers that it is not fair for one person to get in trouble when others had done the same thing but were not caught. I guess we can just open up the prisons, then, since there isn't a crime in existence that someone, somewhere, hasn't gotten away with.
Walking directly in between two people who are having a conversation instead of going around them. Bumping into someone without saying, "Excuse me." Not thanking someone when they are given something. Not holding the door open for someone who is right behind them.
I'd better stop. I'm getting depressed.
Apr 7, 2007
CmsTigerGuy, and it continues right into college. All the ones you mentioned and a few more for college students.
Some of the ones missing for college students are...
taking a phone call during class,
IMing and emailing on their laptops,
walking into a class just to turn in an assignment and then leaving,
always needing to turn something in late,
and a few annoying questions such as "when will you give out extra credit?" and "WHEN can I take a make-up quiz or exam?" (Even when the syllabus states NO MAKEUPS, NO EXTRA CREDIT).
As for school property, "Oh, was I not allowed to write in/on this?" (After writing on it in ink, and then ask, well since its written on, maybe you could just let me keep it)
Wow, maybe it's where I teach. But my list is a whole lot shorter.
For middle schoolers, it's frequently a matter of impulse control. They have a question and they want it answered NOW. They have to go to the bathroom and they have to go NOW. (I tell them to pretend they're in a car!) The whole idea of delayed gratification is a foreign concept to my 7th graders.
For high school kids, it's more a matter of needing to see who the authority is. Funny story: As you may recall, I spent the past 2 months in a Precalculus class, covering a maternity leave, while a sub covered my 7th grade class. When I first entered the class, we were in the middle of a chapter dealing with the ellipse. So, for each problem we did, I had to talk about the "latus rectum." While I've taught a LONG time, I hadn't been in the school for the past 6 years, so the Seniors thought I was a "new" teacher.
That first day, one of the boys found 6 or 7 questions to ask, all about the "latus rectum." Some made no sense at all; he was just hoping to fluster me by using that term.
Finally I turned to him and said "I've toilet trained three kids. Do you honestly think that the use of that term is going to make me run crying from the room??"
The whole class laughed, he apologized, and I had no more problems. In fact, his class rapidly became my favorite.
Apr 9, 2007
Yes this is my school. It didn't use to be like this but it has become like this in the last few years.
As some of you may know, I am a first grade teacher. I was a student teacher for highschool for 2 years...
Here is what I found in this age group:
Asking to go to the bathroom-it becomes a disease in some classes
pencil or other noisy tapping or other distractions
using materials and supplies improperly-depends on subject though
putting head down or sleeping (illegal fantasy-super soaker or air horn)
messing with my stuff or others stuff
interrupting me during instructions
name calling and put downs and bullying
not being prepared and asking for a pencil, paper etc
forgetting textbook and not doing anywork-means disrupting class
OMG!!!! That's my biggest pet peeve! AAAHHHHHHGGGGGG!!!! The sad thing is they don't realize they are doing it. I ask and that's what they tell me...I"m sorry, I didn't even know I was doing it.
Apr 11, 2007
That's the biggest problem where I am. In the beginning of school, it's a power-struggle between the students and the teacher.
Apr 13, 2007
This drives me crazy, too! It has become such a habit for kids! I like one idea that was given to me by another teacher. She suggested (for major offenders) that I give them a mouse pad. They can "tap" all they want on the mouse pad, yet it doesn't drive me nuts. This is for those kids who truly don't recognize when they are tapping and are major offenders just because it has become such an ingrained habit.
Apr 14, 2007
I'm getting depressed too! I see the same things with my 8th graders. Silent defiance is becoming an issue, as is students LYING to their parents about why they have low grades.
The part that amazes me is when the child tells some outlandish story to a parent, and the parent doesn't even bother asking if what the child said was accurate before laying into me. Often it seems like the more outlandish the student's claim is, the more likely it is the parent will believe it!
wow, CmsTigerGuy hit them on the head!
Now let's change the flow and go with how to fix behaviors...
Mine is the "Queen Victoria Stare." When they are being annoying, move closer and closer to them, looking strait at them. Tell them one time to stop, and then stare until they do. Make sure the phone is put away, the pencil is on the desk, or they have turned back correctly in their seat, and then continue to watch. No expression, no happiness when they comply, no anger, nothing. If they say, "What??? What am I doing?" Just stare at whatever it is they are doing wrong. A lot of kids want to get into a discussion to distract you and waste time. No discussion. NADA. Just keep teaching, and stay in their proximity.
I have never had a situation go further. If you have to - call them in the hall or keep them after class and have a proactive talk. "I want you to _______. Do you understand?" Then its over. Tell them you'll call the parents if they mess up again, and then do it. No second chances, or they'll keep taking from you. Get those behaviors squashed QUICK!!! You'll have a much better year!!!
And the parents that say things like, "She has it done, she just never turned it in. She deserves full credit" drive me nuts. What sort of responsibility are you teaching your child???
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