being set up

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Pencil Monkey, Nov 4, 2017.

  1. Pencil Monkey

    Pencil Monkey Devotee

    Aug 12, 2004
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    Nov 4, 2017

    I have a student in my classes that I am certain is trying to set me up.

    This student is a major behavior problem and his behavior is outrageous. He is also pretty intelligent but is choosing to use his intelligence to create power plays against me in the class room. He has a bunch of friends in the same class with him that he thinks are on his side. But the reality these other children are only out for themselves as well. Of course, I do not engage in power plays in front of the class. This particular child seems intent on trying to set me up for some sort of lawsuit or legal action. I have never seen anything like this in all my years of teaching. He is a major behavior problem and is constantly causing problems for all the other students. He will continually push my buttons and then ask me questions about things that he knows the answer (mostly his rights under his five oh four plan) to for the sake of getting under my skin. He will try to fall on the floor and hurt himself on purpose and then yell about how the floor was dirty and he tripped.
    When I do an activity in class and go over the safety rules he will intentionally violate them right away and then scream about how I did not tell him the rules. He is very manipulative and I have had a sinking feeling about this for awhile. Obviously, I am very careful with this student.

    Is there anything else I can be doing to protect myself? I have seriously considered putting a video camera in the room for my own protection. But I don't think I am allowed to do that.
  3. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Phenom

    Jun 27, 2014
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    Nov 4, 2017

    Document, document, document. Report his actions as soon as they happen to administration and talk to your union rep. This is a serious matter and potentially career ending if he builds a case against you. I would also speak with the parent(s) of said child. This student *has* a behavior problem, not is. He may think he is smarter, but he is not. Write up the student when he throws himself on the floor or causes a major disruption because it negatively affects his learning and the other students’ learning. Also, I would pull him aside and let him know that he is demonstrating an inappropriate affect and that it needs to stop, effective immediately, and that you will not tolerate it. Be stern, but don’t reprove him in front of his peers because it will humiliate him and he will resent you for it.

    I had to do this at the beginning of the school year to a student who thought he knew more than I did and I explained to him that he has very little real-world experience, has a marginal understanding of the subject matter at best, and that in my class I am the authority figure, NOT him. Then, when he tried to pull his infamous crocodile tears I told him enough is enough and to act his age.

    Where classroom management is concerned, I am quick to divvy our consequences if I feel a student’s behavior warrants it. To clarify, the aforementioned student has been very cordial with me since the incident and does not interrupt me anymore.
  4. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

    Aug 10, 2010
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    Nov 4, 2017

    Definitely document and make sure your principal is aware before he finds out from the other side of things. Does his former teacher teach at your school? Can you get any feedback from him/her? How old is this child?
  5. Been There

    Been There Habitué

    Oct 4, 2017
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    Nov 4, 2017

    Ask your school psychologist to observe this student in your classroom - choose a time when he tends to be at his worse. You can also talk to his parents for the purpose of getting their written consent to video his behavior in the classroom - be sure to have them agree to not discussing this with the child so as not to influence his actions "on tape". Alternatively, but less desirable, see if they would not mind your recording the verbal interactions - you can use a recording app on iPad placed in a strategic location to capture the sound.
  6. Obadiah

    Obadiah Groupie

    Jul 27, 2015
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    Nov 5, 2017

    From your description, this student seems to be experiencing psychological or social difficulties. Somehow, his behavior is bringing him a perception of relief or reward. I agree with all the above, document and report, certainly for your own protection, but also so he can get professional help.

    Your current responses obviously are not working, and though I am a firm believer in consistency, I would recommend (with administrative awareness) a sudden change in response. I would also inform the student prior to his next episode of the change. I would not speak to the student in an isolated setting; I'd do it with an administrator or other teacher present, or ideally, I'd speak to him at my desk right in the classroom. His behaviors are observed by the class, so I see no reason why intervention must be apart from the class's presence. Personally, I prefer Thomas Gordon's "whenever" messages when I review behavior with a student, in which I explain that whenever such a behavior occurs, this is how it causes whatever (a disruption, interrupts class time, etc.). I would describe the behaviors that I've observed to the student. As odd as it may sound, he might not realize how you as a teacher perceive his actions: he might be fantasizing how you perceive his actions. (Of course, I would never let on to the student about the fears his behavior is causing me, that I fear he will falsely accuse me of allowing injury). I would provide a time for the student to speak to me, but I would require him to speak as calmly and politely as I am speaking to him. I personally don't worry about whether my tone of voice is firm in such situations; in fact, my tone of voice is usually the same, that of kindness and concern for the student. In such conversations, I feel it's important for the student to realize that I'm on his side, not working against him, but that the reality is some behaviors are not conducive to classroom learning, are not proper decorum, etc. (I don't think I'd worry about the senseless questions he asks in class; instead, I'd probably answer them with scaffolding questions, and have him or another student provide the answer, and keep class moving along).

    Here's a possible response if you haven't already done so. Suppose he pretends to fall and be hurt. I'd calmly ask him to go to his seat. If he insists he's hurt, I'd stay dormant in my response, expect his compliance, and continue with my lesson. If he continues to disrupt, I'd enact a standard penalty or ideally, summon administrative assistance. (I'd hope they also continue the game plan of remaining calm. I once had a vice principal who'd SCREAM at the kid out in the hallway--somehow I don't see where screaming is productive). The danger is that the child might actually harm himself for attention, and that is why administrative awareness is needed, but it's unknown if the psychological problem is really that severe; I probably wouldn't let such a possibility guide my reactions and certainly wouldn't give the child any ideas.

    A childhood incident that has guided me as a teacher, when I was about 10, I was in an AWANA club at my church. Pastor H. politely asked a boy to sit down. The boy put up a fuss, and Pastor H. quietly insisted he sit down. This continued and suddenly the boy shouted, "You don't care about me, you dirty reverend!" Every kid in the room gasped, but Pastor H. stayed calm and continued with the activity. (Knowing Pastor H., I'm certain he politely talked with the boy afterwards, resolving the situation at the more appropriate time).

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