Behavior problems: have I done everything I can?

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by Tesla, Apr 1, 2010.

  1. Tesla

    Tesla Rookie

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    Apr 1, 2010

    I teach a once a week class in the evening and have 3 students that are showing some fairly serious behavior problems.

    Normally, the bad behavior is mainly having trouble being quiet when I'm talking or a classmate is talking, but a stern look or silence was working wonders. The other student seems hyperactive and gets called out a lot, just for being visible.

    This is the sixth week, or sixth time I've been with the students and tonight things took a turn for the worse. The two "talkers" ignored stern looks and silence, provoking other students to tell them to shut up and pay attention. This just focused their attention on those students. I had enough by the end of class and said next time I was removing them from the class.

    The same went for the third student who has adopted a victim complex, constantly telling everyone I pick on him. The class knows its bull, but I've had enough of his lack of respect.

    As a first year teacher, its hard enough trying to teach students who haven't been successful in the class before and these three are now a detriment to the flow of the class. The only non administrative consequence I had was giving them zeros for participation, but as long as they have at least a D, they are happy.

    I could put them in assigned seating, but I fully expect open defiance. I want to control my classroom, but feel I'm fighting a losing battle. I constantly hear from other students, that other teachers just let them be noisy for the most part. I'm hesitant to talk to the principal, because I feel it will make me look weak and unable to do my job, but I don't see any other choice.
     
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  3. beccmo

    beccmo Comrade

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    Apr 1, 2010

    I don't see anything wrong with a seating chart. Behavior can improve because of it. With the exception of my senior level classes, all my classes have seating charts. I let the seniors choose their own seats, respecting the fact that they are reaching an age when they can make their own decisions. They do know that if they cannot behave responsibly in the seats they have chosen, then I will make a seating chart for them. So far I have only had to make 2 seating charts for those classes. They get the message, and classes run smoother.

    Talk to your principal. I don't think that will make you look weak. I think it will give him the impression that you want to succeed and want your students to succeed, but need some support from him getting these students on board. If your principal has always been supportive of staff he should be helpful.
     
  4. Unbeknownst

    Unbeknownst Cohort

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    Apr 1, 2010

    If you haven't purchases Tools for Teaching by Fred Jones, then you haven't done everything you can for classroom management.

    Jones gives you a system for classroom discipline rather than a bunch of individual "patches."

    It works.
     
  5. kld

    kld New Member

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    Apr 1, 2010

    I understand the frustrations of classroom management of first year teachers. One mistake that is often made is not having clearly defined rewards and consequenses for behavior. Also, make sure your classroom procedures are clearly defined. Discipline involves how students behave while procedures are how things are done. One thing I would like to suggest; be careful not to apply a grade to a behavior. When you give a zero for participation because of poor behavior, then in essence, you are grading behavior. If what you meant to grade was their participation, then there should be clearly defined consequences for their lack of following the "classroom" behavior rules. It might sound "picky", but clearly defined procedures and behavior awards and consequences are the first steps in setting up strong classroom management skills. Hang in there...practice, time, and experience will gain you what you are seeking.
     
  6. Ron6103

    Ron6103 Habitué

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    Apr 4, 2010

    I recognize that there are a lot of arguements on both sides of the grading participation/behavior topic, but to be honest, I disagree. The most effective tool I've had all year has been a quarterly participation grade. I outline how it works at the beginning of each quarter:

    Each student starts with 100 points. They can lose points through negative behavior (breaking a rule as outlined in our handbook and my classroom management plan), being tardy, coming un-prepared, etc. Each behavior problem, tardy, etc, results in a 5 point deduction. This has cleaned up behavior issues in pretty much each class I have. If I take off points from a kid once or twice, they usually stop any negative behavior. Similarly, their peers see this, and thus also abide by the rules better.

    Essentially, it's a free 100 point grade (equal to one unit test) for those that come on time, prepared, and behave. Yes, I recognize that this flies in the face of current theories on only grading the academic work, and not calculating things like behavior, tardies, late work, etc, into the course grades. I understand that logic, but disagree with it.... and as long as this continues to work as effectively for me as it has been, I will continue my current method.

    All that said, if your classes are already apathetic, I'm not sure if tying something to a grade they already may not care about, will help.
     
  7. Special-t

    Special-t Enthusiast

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    Apr 4, 2010

    Why are they in an evening class? Is the class mandated or is it their choice to be there? Are they over 18? How many students are in the class? Just wondering because these things could make a difference in finding a successful approach.
     
  8. Tesla

    Tesla Rookie

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    Apr 7, 2010

    The class is by choice (credit recovery), for many if they don't pass, they won't graduate. The age range is your standard high school spectrum.
     
  9. Mamacita

    Mamacita Aficionado

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    Apr 7, 2010

    You don't need a seating chart for well-behaved, decent students, but you have a perfect right to separate idiots and put them on opposite sides of the room. As for the poor victim you are brutalizing, next time she starts in, give her a look and tell her she'll know when you decide to start; this is just practice.
     
  10. Muttling

    Muttling Devotee

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    Apr 7, 2010

    As a teacher in his 3rd year, I certainly remember having ALL your struggles and concerns.

    This paragraph sums up many things that you need to get over.



    The seating chart is the most powerful classroom management tool you have. If they want to be defiant about it, screw em. They can sit where they are assigned, they can sit at a table/desk in the very front of the room, or they can go talk to the principle about it. The choice is theirs. You're there to teach and if they're going to disrupt then firmly send em out the door.


    You constantly hear from students how other teachers let them get away with stuff. Cool. I'm glad they get to not work in other classes. That should mean they've had time to relax in other classes and are ready to work in yours. What's the problem???? And I say that to my students frequently early in the year. It later turns to we've worked hard...yatta, yatta, yatta.....The answer is simple, I'm proud of you...you come to school to work....lets get the job done.


    Not asking for advice from senior teachers is the WORST mistake you can make. No one is going to do it perfect the 1st year or the 10th year or the 30th year. Don't ask him to do it for you, ask him for suggestions on how YOU can do it better. He/she will respect that.

    Also take time to observe senior teachers in their classrooms. It's the smartest thing I ever did and I never would have done it if I hadn't been made to do it by the administration.
     
  11. Muttling

    Muttling Devotee

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    Credit recovery is not by choice. It's mostly low performing students who are at the end of their rope for graduation and want to get by with doing the least they possibly can but still graduate.

    Credit recover is the end game in a pattern of behavior. Many that are in there are finally willing to do what it takes to graduate. The behavior problems are still less than willing. Don't let your behavior problems prevent others from graduating. Throw them out before that happens.
     
  12. JackTrader

    JackTrader Comrade

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    Apr 7, 2010

    Would this usually be in a continuation school?

    And I agree - set the expectations straight. You are here to teach. The students are here to learn. And if their behavior problems are preventing you from doing your job, you have the right and authority to correct that, including tossing them from the classroom if necessary.
     
  13. Muttling

    Muttling Devotee

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    Apr 8, 2010

    I think we have the same expectations and the similar responses JackTrader, but I've never heard of a continuation school so I don't know what you are describing.
     
  14. Sshintaku

    Sshintaku Comrade

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    Apr 9, 2010

    Separate them. If they are defiant, they can leave. If they still continue to talk, they can leave. They can get a phone call home right at that moment. They can write sentences. They can come sit next to you. They can loose their desks for awhile. There are a number of ways to forcefully suggest they be quiet.

    These things may seem extreme, but you're going to have to be very very firm for a day or two. After that it should ease up. You might gain a reputation as an A**hole, but asking students to be respectful of other's learning time is not wrong. It's necessary.
     
  15. JackTrader

    JackTrader Comrade

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    Apr 9, 2010

    A continuation school is an alternative school for students who are considered at risk of not graduating high school at a normal pace. This means that they are credit-deficient. Often these students have had discipline issues, substance abuse, or are pregnant or teen mothers.
     
  16. Muttling

    Muttling Devotee

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    Apr 9, 2010



    Thanks for the 411.


    We don't have that kind of operation in Tennessee, but I wish we did. Our alternative schools are just for the worst behavior problems, mostly those who have violated a zero tolerance issue such as having drugs at school.
     

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