How do I handle this student?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Ms.Holyoke, Jan 31, 2019.

  1. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

    May 14, 2012
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    Jan 31, 2019

    I am struggling with attitude from one student. She seems to get upset easily and has a temper. She does no like me.

    Today, I gave her a golf pencil when she needed one. I do not give kids regular pencils for class (only for tests) and I give kids golf pencils if they need them. She saw a regular pencil and asked why she couldn't have it. I said "not today" and she continued to argue. I told her I wasn't arguing and I needed to get class started. (I realize that I could have told her that it was my pencil or something but again, most kids just respectfully take the golf pencil!)

    When we were going over the Do Now, she picked up a chair at another table with her foot during instruction. I asked her to please put the chair back and she shoved it back loudly (causing a disruption.)

    The student got a tissue during the lesson (which is fine) but she chose to walk through the middle of the classroom when her seat did not require her to do so.

    She was out of her seat twice and she was upset when I told her to return to her seat. This is my most difficult class in terms of behavior and all of the students know that they can only get out of their seat to get a tissue. They can't get out of their seat to go speak with someone at a different table and I make them ask permission to sharpen their pencil. (Before, I would have 3 kids at the pencil sharpener if they didn't ask and a few kids went over to sharpen their pencil all the time.) She was out of her seat today talking to another student. I told her to go back to her seat. She then yelled at me and said "why are you always snapping at me? you're always snapping at me and rolling your eyes at me!" She then tried to switch seats and work with another group. There are two students in her group who don't work, but there are 2 students who do work and that she can work with. I have the kids in groups now so they can at least have one good student to work with. However, she was out of her seat AGAIN and switched to work with a different group. I again told her to go back to her seat. She complied, but again yelled at me and said "you're always snapping at me. I was doing my work and I wasn't even doing anything wrong!" I was happy that the student asked if she could take a break, I said yes, and she was able to calm down. I spoke with her after school and said that she owes me after-school time for her behavior today. (I wasn't sure what to do or if this behavior warranted a consequence. I just think it is disrespectful to yell at a teacher.)

    Last week, she was upset at another student (the student was apparently kicking another student under his chair.) She was out of her seat yelling at this student. She refused to sit down when I told her to and then told him she would ****ing kick him. I had to call admin after she said that.

    Mom came in for parent conferences today. I gave mom lots of positives (improved grades, she asks lots of questions and participates). I also told mom about class today and mom agreed that she has to stay in her seat. I told mom that her daughter told me I was snapping at her and rolling my eyes at her and I said it is just not appropriate to speak to a teacher in this manner. The student did not seem to understand even with mom present.

    Does anyone have any advice for handling this situation? I'm going to be honest and say that this student is in my most challenging class and the behaviors can be tough. According to other teachers, this student is not much of a problem in other classes but she has an issue in math. I just feel like i have to expect that students stay in their seats during class.
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2019
  3. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

    Feb 4, 2010
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    Jan 31, 2019

    What this student is doing is "low level disruption". This is used to drive me crazy and got the best of me for usually way too long. She is doing things that are technically breaking rules, causing disruption, etc, but in very subtle ways so you overlook them, for example walking around the classroom doesn't cause for detention, or send out of classroom or whatever. She does 2-3 other subtle things like this and you still don't think they're cause for consequence. And what happens is that class is almost over, she has done 15 things that she shouldn't have done and got away with it without a consequence. (I have fallen for this so many ties and I realized later).
    What can make matters worse is if the student is very verbal and will loudly accuse you of picking on her, or being racist, etc. Not that I'm afraid of accusations like this because I don't get defensive but I usually want to avoid any further drama.
    So then after a day or more you decide enough is enough and now you're going to be strict with her and hold on accountable, right? So the first time she walks around the classroom you firmly remind her if her wrong doing and the next time she gets out of her seat you assign a consequence or whatever. So now she really accuses you of picking on her, even worse, says that you're a moody who's got PMS, etc.

    I've found the only thing to do is have a one on one conversation with her (or maybe another teacher / admin present) and simply tell her that you know what she's doing and let her know any of those little things were not ok. She simply has to stop because every time it causes a disruption and you will hold her accountable. Don't let her make excuses you're smarter than that, you can't let a teenager out-slick you.
    What will probably happen is that she will behave for 2-3 days, you will be very happy and then all this will start over. The first time she does something you will let it go because she has been so good and it has been such an improvement. You're afraid if you correct her, now she will really lose it. And it will never end. What do you do to avoid? Don't let her get away with one little thing, I don't care how long she has been good. If you don't let Johnny get out of his seat, then don't let her.

    I gotta tell you, this brings back memories and not good ones. I've had students who kept this up for basically ever (I had a lot of other issues in that class). Turns out the kid really liked me, had no problems wth me it was just fun getting away with things and seeing me stressed out. So just remember that and you will probably handle it better than me lol
  4. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

    Jun 14, 2013
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    Feb 7, 2019

    The minute you say you're not arguing... You're already arguing.

    I have a very similar kid and had an almost identical situation a few days ago.

    I give them the pencil and walk away. Not rudely, just quickly hand it off and then carry on to your next task... "Jerry, did you still need help with question 2?" Back turned, walking away, not listening to the grunt of the kid complaining about the pencil you gave her/him.

    It doesn't always work but I've been trying to do it more often. It diffuses a lot of situations.
  5. Pi-R-Squared

    Pi-R-Squared Groupie

    Jun 23, 2013
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    Feb 7, 2019

    When you have time, get “Tools for Teaching” by Fred Jones. If you have the book, re-read the section on backtalk.

    From what I read, once you responded back to her comments, she took the upper-hand. Jones says “Calm is strength. Upset is weakness.” Do you best to remain calm during these times of student testing limits. And follow Linguist’s advice.
    otterpop likes this.

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