Discussion in 'General Education' started by Leaborb192, Jan 29, 2017.
Jan 29, 2017
I absolutely think you handled it right by turning it into a teachable moment.
Personally, I would not have talked to the class using terms gay, faggot, or the like, I would have left those out and only talked about "terms" used to put people down, feel uncomfortable and unwanted...etc, but not the actual term in this case.
However, when issues of race, or sexuality like this become issues, I almost always use it as a teachable moment and then immediately send it up to admin.
Yeah, I completely understand why many would use the actual words, I still choose not to simply because I do not want to go there with admin and parents, especially when I have to tell parents why their student may need SPED services for reading when the year before they got an A in reading.
In my experience separating those kids doesn't typically work, they just corrupt other students in their class. We have seen that students with behavior issues have been separated from certain kids going into 3rd grade and then at the end of 4th the same students simply are being separated from different kids.
I happen to be gay, and sometimes when this happens, I'll turn directly to the offender and say something like "What if I am gay? Would you have a problem with that?".
When they're called out like that they realize that saying they have a problem with it will put them in opposition to most if not all of their peers who couldn't care less if someone was gay. The person saying it just wants attention, and think that the word holds some sort of power. They always say no, and we move on. (Often they'll even say something positive about LGBT people to deflect attention away from the fact that they were trying to use it negatively.) This would work for a straight teacher as well (as long as the teacher didn't care whether or not kids thought of them as gay or straight), because I rarely end up actually giving them any information either way.
Even if a kid said "yes, they have a problem with it" I would just say something like "Well too bad, because you're going to have to get used to working with all kinds of people in your future," and move on.
This interaction takes less than 6 seconds, and doesn't give them the benefit of disrupting the entire class to teach a lesson on it, which is sometimes what they want, because their main goals are attention and disruption, just like kids love throwing giant rocks in placid ponds to make huge ripples. It also doesn't frame being LGBT as something negative or give power to students using it as an insult, which is something super important to make sure you don't alienate the LGBT students in the classroom.
EDIT: Something else I realized. By quickly resolving it in this manner and making it seem like you don't give two flips if someone calls you gay (by not punishing the student or extensively lecturing them) you're modeling for students both straight and LGBT that being called gay doesn't have to be something that they have to get offended by and start fights about.
I would still however uphold a consequence for a kid calling another kid the f-word or gay (if it was clearly in a derogatory way) simply because they are trying to be disrespectful and that breaks my number one rule about respecting others.
I do not deal with tattle tellers. They said "gay," big deal. I would have just left it on the playground. If you didn't hear it said, then you shouldn't make something out of it. You are there to teach not police.
Yes, I understand. I just would have moved on. The teachable moment was ineffective. You are not going to convince a 5th grader to not say the word "gay." The problem is that there were no consequences so therefore just forget the pep talk. I think back to when I was in 5th grade and would have laughed in your face if you tried to teach us how the word "gay" is offensive.
This is my fourth year teaching--generally the kids LOVE me (to the point of having to tell them to go sit down and get from underneath my feet---and these are SEVENTH graders!). However, a girl last year didn't like me (or anyone else for that matter) and made a snide comment about my makeup to somebody. When I found out, I shrugged it off and said "okay, I don't care." Inside I was thinking "that girl needs to worry about her own face, not mine!"
Bottom line is, never let kids think something they say about you is a big deal. When you brush it off and move along, they have lost their ammunition. When you make a spectacle about it, they dwell on it. I fear every time you sub in there, "gay" will be an issue.
I wouldn't have equated being called gay with being insulted.
Honestly I think I would have handled it differently. Your approach seemed to have gone on too long and was not as effective as you had intended. I would have very briefly addressed it and then ignored it and moved on. Teachable moments are great, but I think that they are most effective in very specific circumstances and when you have a long-standing relationship with your students.
You are going to find then that your "bullies" and troublemakers will be able to get away with near murder with you. Bullies can constantly say whatever they want on the playground to other students and you are going to do nothing if you don't hear it yourself? If this is true, you are going to find out the fires are going to get really large, and they are going to be hard to ever be put out.
When making discipline decisions something to consider is to ask yourself, "Is what I'm about to do going to make the problem larger or smaller?" If discipline can be kept small and private it protects students. Although I agree with the teachable moment idea the "moment" is possibly not best served when those involved are excited and running on adrenaline - during or right after the incident. Not much of real significance is going to be solved when students are in an argumentative he-said and denial state. It is often beneficial to wait until students have reigned in their horses and the chance to be talking to receptive minds has better odds. Some teachers have success putting "action" on hold with the line, "That seems like a problem. I'm going to have to think about what should happen." This gives the teacher time to come up with a plan while telling students the behavior is not being ignored. If you can stifle behavior in the short-run what you do later on is a judgment call.
Jan 30, 2017
Something that caught my eye. Your a sub. I don't mean that to be disrespectful because I did my fair of subbing on my way to having my own classroom. That being said there is no way in heck I would have ever had a "teachable"moment with another persons classroom. I would have left all that for the teacher to handle when she got back. Since it seemed to be hindering classroom learning I would have called the principal or the counselor. Now if you were the teacher of record whole other story. Just my opinion.
In my opinion and it is just my opinion yes.I subbed for my friend a lot too would have not touch that subject with a 10 foot pole and they were 6th graders.
In my opinion, no. You did what you thought was right at the moment, and it did need to be addressed, so you addressed it as you were capable to do so. It's no big deal. The worst that could happen is that the kids didn't learn their lesson.
Jan 31, 2017
On the playground, kids need to learn how to solve their own problems. They will find ways to cope and resolve their problems, and that may include fighting and a butt whooping. It is healthy for kids to figure out their own social difficulties and handle it.
I get that teachers shouldn't always interfere with playground problems, but your total disregard of student's issues on a playground is rather extreme. Just being there as a teacher to listen can really comfort a child who always gets picked on. Also, some students struggle on the playground because they lack conflict management skills. A bit of coaching or at least helping them see their options can be a big help. Experience has shown me then the students are better prepared to enter the classroom when conflicts are sometimes lessened while on the playground.
I think what you did was the correct choice. You redirected their behavior by discussing it in class with them, and let them know it wasn't acceptable. I'd inform the lead teacher too, so she can possibly hand down any discipline.
Feb 1, 2017
I am also a substitute but I personally would not have made it into a lesson. I think students should learn that gay is not an insult but should also know that they should not make assumptions about people. I may have just said to the students "why does it matter if I am?" and "gay is not an insult but it is not kind to assume things about other people." I would have left a detailed note for the teacher to handle.
(I don't actually think that's redirection.)
Feb 2, 2017
It actually is redirecting their behavior, when he taught them a life lesson in this situation inside the classroom. It's a matter of opinion. And next time don't post replies to me using parentheses like that, it's very rude and sarcastic. I won't be back to check on your reply. And you shouldn't make posts like you made to Leaborb here, claiming his teachable moment was "ineffective":
I used parentheses because I didn't want to derail the thread. Thanks for taking care of that for me. I just think that we might have different definitions about what "redirection" is. You seem to be defining it as "teaching a lesson" or "addressing a problem as a whole group after the fact", but that's not how I define it. That's all I was getting at. It's too bad that you took it as personally as you did, because it could have made for an interesting discussion or even a teachable moment. Hmm.
I'm sorry that you felt my comment to the OP was...ineffective. I kind of want to point out that me having an opinion about what the OP did, and sharing that opinion when I was asked to share it--literally, in the title of this thread--is an awful lot like you having an opinion about my opinion. Hmm. I obviously won't point out your hypocrisy, though, because that would be snarky. And definitely ineffective, since you wouldn't be reading it anyway.
It all boils down to what the kid did was completely disrespectful and wrong. When I was a sub I eventually just wrote all the classroom problem children notes down to the teacher. At times it seemed like the entire class needed to be disciplined. It's hard not to want to discipline and scold these children for doing such but I turned into a "DATA" like guy from star track and just started ignoring this behavior. Subbing is quite hard and students can be more disrespectful. Subbing caused my emotional stability scales loose it's balance at times and I had to quit after a year because of similar incidences like this one. I didn't act out in front of the students emotionally but my family members and friends could sense something wasn't right so I quit. When I subbed I was grumpy and quick to write students up because of these similar things until I turned into "DATA". However, "DATA" was pretty much a babysitter and didn't do much else. I waited until I got a full time teaching job and enjoy teaching for the most part. . I applaud anyone that subs these days and thank you for what you do!!