I have a couple classes (middle school) where students come in with a very severe attitude of disrespect and not caring. They escalate each other constantly. (To balance this, I have a couple sections of the same exact course who are angels.) Regarding the rowdy classes - - 1/3 to 1/2 the class is ADD/ADHD type boys (some are diagnosed and some are untested) who can't/won't/refuse to sit down, focus, or quiet themselves. They come in completely, utterly distracted with everything from a lost pencil to an "urgent" restroom need, to a conflict with a classmate, and each of these little dramas seems to render them to be loud, out of their seats, and completely unable to function. I'm not sure if I'm dealing with an emotional disturbance (diagnosed or undiagnosed) of if this is a big act (but for this many kids to put on this big an act on a daily basis would be really unusual.) - They know the procedures for the quiet signals, but on the bad days, its taken upwards of 30 seconds to 3 minutes for the class to respond to the quiet signals. In the meantime, the students who do quiet themselves, after a few seconds, decide to start shouting "shut up" to the students who are not responding, which escalates the entire class into a screaming match. - We've practiced Level 1 volume talking, but the class often, OFTEN escalates to Level 2 and 3 volume and can not keep a steady Level 1. (This is a class where some peer to peer discussion is often necessary due to the projects we are doing. I have alternated seatwork days with project days. Despite the behavior, at least 50% of the class is succeeding in their projects and even the roughest kids seem to be enjoying the projects, when there is enough peace/order that we can get them off the ground. The set curriculum for this course which I am mandated to teach, is project-based.) - This group really dislikes their classmates and get in the most ridiculous, petty conflicts with each other constantly. They escalate each other and this starts the "brush fire." Writing a random detention (random because I can't write the whole class, all I can do is pick the nearest misbehaving person and write one) has somewhat worked. I see the unfairness in this and I don't like it, but it feels like one of the only options I have. On the worst days when I am waiting much too long for quiet and these conflicts erupt, it has been effective to call Security or the principal to come upstairs and pull 2-3 kids out. When they see four adults with walkie-talkies come into the room, things get very quiet. I've been supported by administration and they do want to know when they are needed. What is occurring in these two classes is not the school culture we expect or have as a norm. We haven't had anything dangerous occur. It is just a ridiculous level of immaturity and uncooperation that should have been left behind in 3rd grade or maybe at age 2. Some of these same students are able to perform, cooperate, and focus when its a different time of the day or when they're surrounded by different kids. They are doing some of these same things in other teacher's classes. If it continues then several of them are going to find themselves expelled within a short amount of time. I've already referred 6 to the principal, have documentation (three strikes policy for minor offenses) for 6 more, and called 5 parents (most of whom don't answer their phone and don't return calls.) Tomorrow I'm planning to march kids right to the phone and we will call parents/guardians right then and there, and every offense in these particular periods is going to merit a detention and a documentation. It'll have to be a zero tolerance situation for the minute we get into the room. What else would you do? I'm a positive person, teach a fun class (according to the majority of my students over the years), tend to see the good in people, and get along even with these troublemakers (they see me in the hall and are usually very friendly outside of class.) I'm not even getting the chance to teach what I need to, and the 50% of kids in these rough classes who do care are getting cheated. A teacher who had a similar situation last year, said that after the first few weeks of school, most of her students realized it was easier to just cooperate instead of having run-ins with administration and discipline every day. I'm just amazed that it might take that long for the message to get through. What are some talking points I could use in conversations with these classes, and with individual students?