Constant Putdowns

Discussion in 'Middle School / Junior High' started by JackTrader, May 14, 2010.

  1. JackTrader

    JackTrader Comrade

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    May 14, 2010

    I subbed for a middle school resource classroom - teaching kids basic skills, math, science and reading. I expected them to be really frisky, but they were over the top. These are 7th graders in a pretty new school in a well-established school district, not inner city.

    Incessant talking, constant putdowns of each other. Wouldn't stay on task. Just plain horrid. All those Fred Jones techniques just didn't work on them, they just kept at it (get their attention, reseat them, etc.) I actually had to send out a student to the office and do a referral for a really stupid action on the student's part - she had stuck a magazine in her back pocket, hid it under her shirt and I asked to see it - she said, no, none of your business. I warned her repeatedly that yes, it is absolutely my business to see it, and it is not worth it to suffer the consequences of defiance. Well, she wouldn't and I removed her from the classroom. Just pure stubbornness.

    I also issued "citations" which are like parking tickets - where kids have to serve a short lunch detention the next day - for being tardy, for wearing a hat/hoodie, other more minor infractions. I don't see that however, having much of an effect on their behavior though.

    Interestingly enough, the nastier students were the girls, rather than the boys. Some of the girls would belittle a couple of the boys who had not gone on their growth spurt yet.

    The office people said that I did have a challenging class. Usually with a resource or special ed class I would have an aide there but there wasn't one today (I think).

    What would someone do with kids at this age? I'm most concerned with the constant belittling that goes on -- how does one redirect and teach them to respect each other? I told one of the boys that if you're always going off on another person, he might come back and retaliate, and the cycle never ends. He didn't see to get it.


    Granted I know that kids can be pretty cruel to each other at this age - I had a pretty bad time as a middle schooler because I was small for my age and a late bloomer.
     
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  3. Unbeknownst

    Unbeknownst Cohort

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    May 14, 2010

    I dunno. I would have suggested the Fred Jones techniques you mentioned in your post. I'm surprised none of them worked.

    I think the biggest suggestion I would have would be a combination of patrolling the room while nipping the bad behavior in the bud without letting it go by once.

    However, you would have done that since it is a "Fred Jones" technique, so I'm at a loss for words.

    Sorry you had such a rough day!
     
  4. JackTrader

    JackTrader Comrade

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    May 14, 2010

    You know, thinking back on it, I did all that, but I should have came outn really firing out from the get go. Like when a kid called another kid an ethnic slur - I should have tossed the kid right out of the classroom right then and there, instead of verbally telling him that was not appropriate. Establish a no tolerance zone for putdowns. As one of the teachers in the school said, sometimes you need to "kill the chicken to scare the monkey (s)" by establishing you mean business. Although when I threw out the disruptive student, I figured it would moderate their behavior a bit, but not as much as one might think in reality.

    I pretty much ended up fighting "prarie-dog" firefights all day.

    I don't know - I've had middle school students that were incredibly well behaved and some who were in between, but these youngsters took the cake.
     
  5. Elocin

    Elocin Comrade

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    May 19, 2010

    This sounds EXACTLY like my subbing day on Mon--except luckily it was only for one class-5th grade--but it felt like YEARS. They were just absolutely disrespectful and would out and out ignore me. Nothing worked-- they didnt care that I sent one kid to the in-school suspension (swore at me). They actually started throwing things at each other and then me. I had to call the P's office and leave the room. I was humiliated but the P, their homeroom teacher and another sub all told me that behavior is typical for this class. I just wish someone would have warned me!
     
  6. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    May 20, 2010

    I love middle school, but they're certainly a different breed. I don't know exactly what to tell you do do with them, but you have to be firm and consistent.

    We gender group some of our classes, and I will take the boys any day over the girls.
     
  7. JackTrader

    JackTrader Comrade

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    May 24, 2010

    Really? Why is that?
     
  8. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    May 24, 2010

    There is a lot of drama that comes with girls. If two girls get into a fight, they'll have all their friends drawn into the mess, and they'll hate each other forever . . . or at least they'll make it seem like forever.

    Last year I had two boys get into a fight in my first period class, and two hours later in lunch they were sitting together like nothing had happened.

    They boys and girls both are better behaved in single-gender classes because their audience is removed. The girls don't have to flip their hair and giggle all the time. The boys don't have to act stupid to impress the girls. Basically it helps keep the hormones in check.

    I taught four all-male classes and one all-female class last year. They're all mixed gender this year, and I don't like it nearly as well.
     

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