Difficult student...please help

Discussion in 'Secondary Education Archives' started by EngTeacher15, Sep 22, 2006.

  1. EngTeacher15

    EngTeacher15 Companion

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2006
    Messages:
    138
    Likes Received:
    0

    Sep 22, 2006



    I have a difficult student that I don't know how to handle. First for some background, I teach two regular 9th grade English classes and one remedial 9th grade English class. The remedial class is kinda "babied." They don't get much homework, and the work that we do is really below their grade level (I have to follow the department coursework for the class). My difficult student is in the remedial class. I'll repeat general instructions 2-3 times and I'll also have a student or two repeat them back to me. A minute later she asks (outloud, without raising her hand) "What are we supposed to do?" This drives me crazy. She NEVER listens.

    She also makes inappropriate comments. Half of the time when I tell her the task that she is supposed to be doing, she responds by saying "That's dumb" or "That's stupid." Sometimes she also claims that she "can't do" whatever it is that I've asked her to do. Also, when she asks a question that she can find the answer to for herself, I tell her where she can find it and she lets out an exasperated sigh and says "Why can't you just TELL me?"

    She also is constantly talking out and fooling around while I'm teaching. I'm getting very frustrated with her behavior. I've told her that if I need to ask her to be quiet or to pay attention more than once that I'll give her a detention and this doesn't help. I've moved her seat several times and this doesn't work either. Sometimes I feel like she just wants to push my buttons.

    I need help. Any ideas??
     
  2.  
  3. myangel52

    myangel52 Comrade

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2005
    Messages:
    431
    Likes Received:
    2

    Sep 22, 2006

    I don't know if my response will be too helpful, as I teach 6th graders... but I did have a similar situation with a student recently. Only two days ago, in fact. He was doing all the same stuff, except instead of being so rude as to say "that's dumb" he was just being disruptive and inattentive. He kept asking if he could draw, or do anything besides the classwork. And was saying how he wants to be moved to advanced math. (I told him he has to show me he can handle the regular class first -- I hadn't seen any of his work yet.)

    I pulled him out into the hall and told him how innappropriate his behavior was, how much it was frustrating me and the students around him, and that he needs to make bette choices. He was in danger of serious consequences, such as a pre-referral (which involves him calling his mother), a parent conference (in which case mom, who works at a different school, would have to get out of work for a while, not a good thing), and/or detention. I also contacted mom, and let her know exactly what had taken place today. (We had already been in contact about the homework not being shown to me.)

    He went home and he and his mom apparently figured out some sort of reward system for him if he can behave and pass with a good grade. Yesterday, he was much better behaved, and I saw several of his missing assignments! We'll see how it goes.

    Maybe you need to discuss with her, at some point outside of class, and with her parents if you can manage that, what it would take for her to choose appropriate (or at the very least, non-disruptive) behavior. She doesn't have to like the class, after all, but she does need to not interfere with your teaching and other students' learning.

    Like I said, it may or may not help, but that is my suggestion. Best of luck with this young lady.
     
  4. mshutchinson

    mshutchinson Comrade

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2004
    Messages:
    268
    Likes Received:
    0

    Sep 22, 2006

    I'd pull her to the side as well. Tell her that she is making poor choices and exhibiting inappropriate and disruptive behavior.

    A lot of what comes next depends on the type of person she is.
    you can take the:
    'work with me buddy' approach
    'you're better than this'
    'challenge you to do better'
    'if you don't do better, you will have to ....'
    'this is the rule, and zero tolerance'

    You know the girl, so you'd know better than anyone here which will wok.
    Every day she continues will make it that much harder for her to change.


    I would start writing down instructions as they're given, or beter have a kid write them. Call up a stud. and tell them to write what you say. Then it's written AND verbal, if a student doesn't know, she can read the board.

    As far as her comments... "This is stupid"
    We've all had the same thing, and my response depends on the kids & the class. With some kids I'd say, "Are you sure it's the story?" (that's dumb). I only do that with the 'rowdy groups' who are always trying to 'outwit' each othr and the teacher. The oher kids chuckle or say 'ooohh' if/when they catch on. That makes the kids think twice about being th one to make that comment.
    In other groups, I'd say, "It's dumb? Good, then it should be easy."
    or "That's b/c it didn't pass 9th grade English." It takes the wind out of their sails as they take a moment to try to figure it out.
    In a higher level class, I'll actually address the 'dumb'ness of the assignment as it may be a valid concern.

    "Why can't you just tell me?" argh.
    "That's what hapens when you work at McDonald's; the boss 'just tells' you. " or "because then you'd be using MY brain instead of YOURS." or "I did tell you, it's right there on age 45."

    In most cases with 'low level' students, a smart quip and a quick distraction are most effective.

    For the kid who is really determined to be a pain, be sure to establish consequences and FOLLOW THROUGH. Empty threats make the kids lose respect right away. Use referrals if
    Also, most kids have a rapport with some teacher, if you can find out who that is, maybe you can get that person to speak to the child in general.


    good luck!
     
  5. Veronica

    Veronica Rookie

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2005
    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    0

    Sep 22, 2006

    Hi. I've had kids like this before. She is not motivated. Find out if she likes computers or whatever and try to gear some lessons toward her. You would be suprised what you'd find.

    I had two beauties in a class of 4/5/6 once and I gave them a check mark throughout class if they were paying attention and could repeat back instructions. They hit 20 checkmarks and I gave them 20 minutes to play on the computers together. It usually took them two lessons.

    Good luck.

    Veronica



     
  6. pi lover

    pi lover Rookie

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2006
    Messages:
    47
    Likes Received:
    0

    Sep 22, 2006

    An earlier comment referred to McDonald's. Be careful. Some parents may work at McDonald's (or some such fast food place) and the kid will then think you're making fun of their parents. I've seen it happen with a coworker. Not pretty.
     
  7. wunderwhy

    wunderwhy Comrade

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2006
    Messages:
    323
    Likes Received:
    0

    Sep 22, 2006

    When students call out, I try not to respond verbally so that their attempt to turn my lesson into a conversation between the two of us isn't successful. I'll put my finger to my lips and then raise my hand, reminding them that they need to raise their hands. The first few times I might say, "Please remember to raise your hand when you have a question. It may very well be that I'll answer your question before I get to the end of my instructions." After that I'll just give the student a friendly look and the gesture I describe above.

    How are her grades? "This is dumb" could mean two things -- she could feel frustrated that she doesn't understand what is going on, or she could be bored because she feels that the class is beneath her level. If she is not doing well in class, I'd suspect that she has difficulty with verbal instructions and is legitimately in need of extra help. I might seat her next to the brightest student in the class and ask him or her to make sure she knows what to do.

    Does she have an IEP? That might give insight into whether or not this is a problem in her other classes as well.

    I had a student my first year of teaching high school who would say similar things about the assignments being dumb and how much she hated English. She was in the "middle level" of class. She did very poorly on just about everything and failed for the year. I think she was just expressing her frustration that she didn't "get it." Now I make an effort to identify and move such students before it gets that bad, but sadly, it didn't occur to me at the time.
     
  8. mathandme

    mathandme Rookie

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2006
    Messages:
    35
    Likes Received:
    0

    Sep 22, 2006

    I had a few students like this.
    I told them that if it is so dumb then they should be able to do it in five minutes, then I picked the assignment up and graded it. Then don't say that anymore.
    But I still had problems with them not following instructions or listening, and interrupting me with questions. So I give my instructions and right after I ask who has any question, if they don't say anything and interrupt me with questions after that, then I give them a warning, and at the second time they get detention.
    And you really have to use the teacher voice...
     
  9. mshutchinson

    mshutchinson Comrade

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2004
    Messages:
    268
    Likes Received:
    0

    Sep 22, 2006

    Good point, but it is the truth. The way kids react will depend on where they think you're coming from.
    I often try to relate their present actions with their future positions, someone should.
     
  10. english9teach

    english9teach Rookie

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2006
    Messages:
    74
    Likes Received:
    0

    Sep 24, 2006

    I have a student who constantly argues with me or says "this is dumb", etc. What is was really trying to do was to get attention. Whenever she started some negitive talk, she was ignored. A few times she did not except being ignored and had to be sent to the principal's office, but after a while she got the point. However, when she did something well, I gave her lots of attention.
     
  11. Docere

    Docere Rookie

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2006
    Messages:
    60
    Likes Received:
    0

    Sep 26, 2006

    Say the instructions once. If you keep repeating it, that means they don't have to listen when you speak. If they ask specific questions like, "What do I do now?" or "What do I do after this?" then that's okay. But asking "What're we supposed to be doing?" is not okay. If they ask this, just tell them to read the directions or something. Don't explain everything again.

    I'd repsond by simply shrugging and say "Darn" and move on.

    For the "why can't you just tell me" comment, say, "Because I'm not the one doing the work." And the "I can't do it" comment, just reply, "Just try and see what happens."

    She most likely does want to push your buttons, that's why you can't let her bother you. Try to get her involved in what you're saying when you're teaching. Ask her questions, things like that. And you have to remember, if she's talking while you are, she's the one missing your words. Let her take the fall for it later, if that's what she really wants.

    Good luck.
     
  12. grade1teacher

    grade1teacher Companion

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2006
    Messages:
    249
    Likes Received:
    0

    Sep 27, 2006

    Of course, I teach 1st, so there is a huge difference in development, (or there should be), but sometimes, students can behave a certain way across the board. When I have students who constantly ask questions which I have already answered or who make comments such as "this is dumb" I try to use verbal as little as possible. For example "What page? What do I do now? What are we doing? Where are we???" (all in one breath!) my answer is a simple point to the board. (hopefully that info is consistently on the board, and they know it.) They get the hint: This will not get you negative attention.
    But when I see they have taken the responsiblity to use the information around them, I'm happy to say "nice job, you knew where to look and you're in the right spot." Smile sincerely. Finished. Too many words and you've lost them.
    I just ignore comments like "this is dumb". If I comment, others join in, and then, I'm in trouble.
     
  13. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2005
    Messages:
    14,070
    Likes Received:
    1,886

    Sep 27, 2006

    My grade 7 and 8 LD boys act just like this. What's happening, however, is that they really don't know what to do (auditory processing weaknesses, so they don't understand and process verbal instructions), or can't do it. It is far easier and more socially acceptable to act out and give the teacher a hard time than it is to admit you can't even do the remedial work.
     
  14. Mrs. R.

    Mrs. R. Connoisseur

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2006
    Messages:
    1,629
    Likes Received:
    0

    Sep 27, 2006

    Docere gave all of my suggestions. I tend to parent and teach using the same style, and I am a firm believer in not making students' problems mine (especially in a case like this). When they complain, I say "I'm sorry you feel that way." and move on. The kids know that whining won't get anywhere with me and that they have a choice to either comply or not, and if they choose not to, there will be a natural consequence. I do teach classes with LOTS of students with IEPs (I co-teach with a special ed. teacher), and I do make sure that I meet those students' needs in a way that will move them toward independence.
     
  15. mrs.oz

    mrs.oz Companion

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2006
    Messages:
    192
    Likes Received:
    0

    Sep 30, 2006

    If you get the chance read Ron Clark's Essential 55. It may give you a great idea for those difficult ones. I currently teach Preschool but I am wanting to transfer to middles school I have taught the young children for 12 years. I am ready for a change.
     
  16. teachmemath

    teachmemath Companion

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2005
    Messages:
    146
    Likes Received:
    0

    Oct 1, 2006

    The next time the student becomes a distraction....whip out your cell phone and have her call her parent in front of the class and to tell them what she is doing in class to make the teacher not happy. Believe me it works wonders.
     

Share This Page

Members Online Now

  1. REW,
  2. kelly33
Total: 292 (members: 5, guests: 257, robots: 30)
test