I am very concerned because a disruptive child has told me "what happens at home stays at home"

Discussion in 'General Education' started by ladybugteacher, Sep 8, 2016.

  1. Obadiah

    Obadiah Groupie

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    I like your idea of respecting his creativity and I agree with the counselor that this could be a positive experience, especially with guidance from the parent/s, but....I also agree with Caesar, that this could be treading on dangerous territory. The key is to stay calm and remember this is a fantasy of a little boy. This is not an uncommon twist in today's experiences for children. For example, often an organization will plan a pirate activity for children where they dress up as pirates (good pirates of course, as if there really was such a thing) or in McDonald's Land, the Hamburglar is a bad thief but still appreciated as a character, and currently (as of the last time Ronald visited our school) the Evil Grimace is a good guy (when I was a kid, he was one of the crooks in TV commercials). However, I also disagree with my above thoughts--I'm seeing both sides--I can see him glorifying an evil mandarin and praising his future self as a murderer and a thief. Again, that can be an outlet for him to write from a kid's viewpoint and learn from the experience of how evil evil really is. Hey--an idea just popped into my head. If it wouldn't put him on the spot in front of his peers, an excellent video on this would be the old TV series The Brady Bunch where, according to my memory, the little boy is fascinated by a western outlaw, and he meets a real older person whose family was negatively impacted by the outlaw. Just a thought.

    Anyway, my main concern, as I and others have mentioned, it's important to keep the class in perspective. These are little kids, not adults, and they think like little kids. They do not have the understanding to comprehend all that they are saying and doing, but saying and doing is how they begin to comprehend and make sense of the world. In the process, some of what they do and especially what they say will be offensive. I don't see him as bullying the little girl. It was wrong to be inconsiderate, but he has to learn how to phrase his conversations in a more considerate manner and respect others' feelings. This isn't automatically poured into kids' heads and there's no Knowhowtodoeverything Pill for kids to take. They learn by trial and error, and that's where the teacher, parents, and other trustworthy adults come in.

    I do believe you are a great teacher, otherwise you wouldn't be so concerned, but the key to teaching is to grow as a teacher. We've all been there. Sometimes I think my greatest expertise was in making mistakes. Teaching is a profession of growth and I've learned much from all my mistakes and was the better teacher for it.
     
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  2. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Phenom

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    :dizzy: is what I would look if the student told me about those "4 Chinese career choices". I can just see is resume now. "Objective: To be come the best Evil Mandarin I can be".
     
  3. stephenpe

    stephenpe Connoisseur

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    I would love to teach this kid. I had one Chinese kid and he LOVED to dance. My last one (a girl) was quiet smart and fun to talk to. His culture and his dad are what they are. If he breaks rules enforce them. Smart kids that do not walk the straight and narrow (as we define it) are a REAL challenge.
     
  4. stephenpe

    stephenpe Connoisseur

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    You cannot win. You go to their level and it is over for all intents and purposes. They are more experienced at it at that age and now seem to have a brilliant leader. What is the old adage. Dont sweat the small stuff and most of it is small stuff.
     
  5. ladybugteacher

    ladybugteacher Companion

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    This is why I gave him a bad grade initially but was forced to change it.
     
  6. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    How are things going today? Have the social issues calmed down?
     
  7. ladybugteacher

    ladybugteacher Companion

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    Everything is pretty much the same. Other students are still acting up as the result of his prompting. Only difference is he is being really really sweet to me in class. Says he wants to eat lunch with me again (he brought me a slim fast :sweat: ). I hadn't had a chance to read his assignment yet but skimming it I already saw the words "rings of power", "alien dragon space ship" and "fantastic four". Also looks like he got a hold of his dad's public engineer stamp so I am sure I am in for a treat.
    I am still being called Lyin'Dye but I am just taking the advice I guy here and ignoring it. One boy drew a sketch of me tied up over a fire with an apple in my mouth, I am almost certain it was at the behest of another student, but this I am letting administration handle. That boy I had removed from my class. So I guess things are not much different.
     
  8. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Be very sure, when you are grading his writing, that you are objectively following the rubric--don't let your opinion about what he has written cloud your judgement. If I think that I may not be objective with grading something because of who the student is, I often ask someone else to have a look at it.

    Glad that admin is dealing with the drawing.
     
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  9. ladybugteacher

    ladybugteacher Companion

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    You suppose it was smart to decline little juniors lunch invitation right? Also the boy who made the drawing is kind of a dum dum so I am sure administration is not going to hesitate to punish him. The counselor gave me some forms to fill out to detail how threatened I feel by the boy and his drawing. I haven't decided if I really want to drop the hammer or let it go yet.
     
  10. jadorelafrance

    jadorelafrance Cohort

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    Once you get this kid on your side I bet all of the other behavioral problems will cease, since it all stems from him anyways.
     
  11. ladybugteacher

    ladybugteacher Companion

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    We'll see, I have him for detentions for the next 2weeks
     
  12. danqatsi

    danqatsi Rookie

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    I have very little experience as a teacher but a bunch of experience with managing belligerent employees and working with overly sensitive supervisors. I've had people under me try to get me fired because they didn't like me and have had to document inappropriate supervisors. I can't offer more help than has been given already on the educational front but I can advise that you stay far, far away from anything which might seem like an unfair workload. I'd also be very careful to not mention his culture other than in the abstract even though he has gone there himself. If he brings it up, follow where he takes you with it and ask questions. If you feel that it needs to be referenced, be sure to lead in with something like "you mentioned the other day that..." or "you talk about Chinese culture a lot, I was wondering..." Even if things seem to be turning a corner he already knows that he can get to you and he doesn't seem like a particularly nice person. You need to remember that if he gets bored or just wants to get to you he needs to have as little ammo as he can. His dad seems to know his way around the legal system and I can see an unlikely but unfortunately very real situation where they might decide to claim discrimination just because it might amuse them.

    As someone who has also been "that kid" to some extent (minus the political angle), I can also tell you that giving him detention is probably not a very real deterrent. I had detention almost every day one year and saw it as more time my teacher had to spend at school, with me. I knew that she didn't like it so it was like she was actually punishing herself. Besides, didn't he say that he didn't mind detention since the middle school got out later? I Think he was being completely honest.
     
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  13. ladybugteacher

    ladybugteacher Companion

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    I need to re-read his composition tonight. He's sitting in detention with me right now actually. I am really really unsure how to grade his composition. On one hand he fulfilled all of the requirements of the rubric, such as length demonstration of use of sentence structure, grammar ect. Also I hate to admit but I did find the entire composition hilarious. I actually laughed so hard that I almost choked on my soda. However, the argument could be made that the content did not respond to the prompt.
    The prompt was how he plans to achieve his career goal, his selected career goal being Evil Mandarin. So to sumarize he plans on becoming an evil mandarin by finding magic rings in a space ship, defeating the fantastic four and then murdering Chairman Mao and the premier of China to reclaim his ancestral temple. Somewhere in there was a reference to mushu the dragon. Seeing as how this assignment WAS NOT a creative writing assignment I am tempted to give him a zero as he failed to respond to the prompt.
    The counselor asked me to hold off on giving him a grade so she could have time to fully digest his piece and see if she can make any insight to his personal life. In passing I asked him if his dad helped him on his writing since I noticed that it was written on the letterhead of dad's engineering company and dad's stamp was haphazardly affixed to some of the pages. He said dad proof read it for him. I asked him if he was sure he didn't want to be a civil engineer like his dad since he is so smart in math and science, and he told me that civil engineering is his "back up plan".
    So right now I am not really really sure what I want to do. For the first time this year he isn't acting condescending and overtly disrespectful of me and his composition is well written and truly hillarious but on the other hand is arguable the assignment isn't done properly.
    Also the history teacher pointed out that I can use this assignment as an excuse to make dad talk to me. You see, dad's engineering stamp was affixed to a few pages. It is obvious that junior found the stamp and was playing with it. According to the history teacher letting someone else affix your seal to their work is an infraction of the Texas engineering code (his wife is also a public engineer). He said that I can use this as an excuse to call up dad and tell him that his kid got ahold of his stamp to "let him know in order to prevent it from falling into the wrong hands since now there is a document that bears his seal ". Does that seem like a good idea?
    Just for any one wondering he isn't in detention for his composition, I gave him 2 weeks hall because he called me a fat Christmas pig last week.
     
  14. danqatsi

    danqatsi Rookie

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    Well it's not exactly a real career path.
     
  15. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Do you have a set multi-task rubric? Follow that with ALL your might. Definitely praise his creativity, but also point out the lack of prompt fulfillment.
     
  16. ladybugteacher

    ladybugteacher Companion

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    Yes I do, and like I said he hit every last one of the points. It is just the content veered from the prompt by alot. I remember in AP English this would have been an automatic 0.
     
  17. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Is there something wrong with your rubric? If he didn't respond to the prompt, then he shouldn't be hitting every point on the rubric.
     
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  18. ladybugteacher

    ladybugteacher Companion

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    It was an assignment about grammar, sentence structure and mechanics. And he properly used the list of vocabulary words. Those were the things on the rubric
     
  19. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Well then I suppose you've backed yourself into another corner. It would have been pretty easy to include a rubric category for adherence to the topic.

    Honestly, this is getting ridiculous at this point. It seems like literally 100% of your day is packed with dealing with this kid and thinking about dealing with this kid. Are you even able to teach the rest of the class? Plan your lessons? Grade the other students' work? You seem hyperfocused on this kid and everything he does, and that doesn't seem healthy to me. I have concerns.
     
  20. ladybugteacher

    ladybugteacher Companion

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    You ever play hot potato? That is what this boy is. There are things that should be the counselors responsibility and some things that should be admin's but they try to shuff it to me. To answer you question because of this boy my other work gets pushed late into the night. Really honestly I should have just ignored some things at the beginning. But like a dummy when this boy was writing about assassinating Chinese politicians I referred him to the counselor. That is when he started giving me a hard time. (Like I said the trump wall thing was a tiny minor issue that just lead to a disruption in my class). I didn't want this kid to be the next Sehung Cho, you know the VT shooter who wrote the violent skits all the time.
    Basically everyone thinks there may be issues but no one wants to really handle the issue. So I became this kid's baby sitter

    BTW I wasn't joking about possibly going back to dancing after this kid costs me my job
     
  21. 4815162342

    4815162342 Companion

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    And this is where i realised we must be on punk'd.
     
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  22. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

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    I think you're in a bind now because you told him he could write about his Evil Mandarin aspirations, and also the rubric didn't include a "staying on topic" category. I know others are saying to stick to the rubric, which I do agree with mostly, however I'd count this as just not completing the assignment. He wrote fiction when he was asked to write fact.

    What do you have him doing in detention? He gave you a good starting point for something else that might interest him. I'd consider having him try writing his paper again. Teach a mini-lesson on informational writing, versus imagined narratives, and then tell him that unfortunately his assignment didn't accurately answer the prompt and he needs to try again. Word it positively. Suggest he write about a career he can research, his "back up" career. Maybe consider letting him do some very monitored research on the career of engineering during his detention if possible.

    Now, this is what I'd do, but I'm not you and don't know exactly how this student would take that. In my classroom, I'd consider it an reasonable request. If it will cause more issues, than I'd suggest not trying that.
     
  23. ladybugteacher

    ladybugteacher Companion

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    I have decided to give him 95, I did tell him verbally he could do this and I am not in the mood for a fight. I am kind of a geek girl so for all I know this could happen,and like I said before it truly was well written and hilarious for a 10 year old. During detention I normally just let him work on whatever home work he has. I figure I will just grade whatever he writes to the letter of the rubrics and not concern my self with what he writes about unless he threatens himself or another (I don't consider his plan to awaken Fin Fang Foom to kill the premier of China a credible threat to an actual person). Parent teacher conferences are in 2 weeks so maybe I can just talk to his parents then.
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2016
  24. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

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    I think your decision to give him a good grade is fair. However, I do think that you need to set some boundaries and let him know that it's absolutely not okay to write about violence (murdering Chairman Mao) in future papers. And there's no reason to let him be off topic in the future... just add a category that says stays on topic to your rubric. For past assignments, there's not much you can do, but for future assignments, definitely require him to provide better work. He's smart, he can do it.

    I hope that you're able to establish a good connection with the parents. He sounds like a kid who could be very successful if he's aimed in the right direction (although I totally admit he's a punk now).

    In my class this year, I have one boy who is also quite smart but pushes behavior to the limits. It was a rough first week. Every time I calmly enforced a consequence for breaking a rule I got "what did I do?" or "but I didn't do anything!" to which I just walked away and didn't engage. But once he found out I am consistent with consequences, and that I wouldn't hesitate to contact his parents, his behavior turned around, almost to the point of night and day. He's happier, I'm happier, and I think he enjoys being successful in class. I hope you can get your student to that point. Relationships make a big difference. Try to find one positive thing he's into, like a science topic or a hobby, and then talk with him about it. Maybe share an interesting fact you learned. It goes a long way. (I'll also share that I have some kids I'm still working on. But, his story of success reminds me of your student.)
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2016
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  25. ladybugteacher

    ladybugteacher Companion

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    Thanks for the advice. Yeah I have addressed the killing Chairman Mao thing, this isn't the first time he has wrote about that in particular,he had also wrote about committing terrorist attacks on Chinese targets (of course with mutant powers rather than IED'S).When I made an issue of this with the counselors and the District social worker (the child of course flippant accused me if being a communist) they spoke to the child and I think to mom too and I was told to leave it alone. The reason I was given was because their family is a Nationalist family and were on the "right" side of the Chinese civil war so to them Mao et al are bad guys no different than Bin Laden, Stalin, Castro or Hitler.
    I am not going to lie, I love a lot of the comics which I think he draws the bulk of his reference material and misconceptions about Chinese culture from but I don't know how good an idea it is for me to bond with a 10 year old over geek culture.
    (I would just DIE if he ever came across pics of me in cosplay)
     
  26. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Phenom

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    If his parents even BOTHER to show up for the parent teacher conference do you think you could ask admin or someone else to sit in on it? I would NOT want to be alone with these nut jobs!
     
  27. Obadiah

    Obadiah Groupie

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    I'm seeing another side to this essay, and other further information is providing insight into this boy's thinking. First of all, the boy did meet the rubric's requirements and he did stay on topic as I understand your description. To become an evil mandarin would require fictionalized resources. I can see where a 10-year-old would unabashedly include killing of whom he sees from his history as the enemy forces; and he might be obtaining opinionate information about current world situations and sorting through his learning of that. If he's hearing political stuff from either side on TV, that's a lot for a kid to sort through. I wonder if he truly meant for the essay to be funny; if he feels threatened by the teacher's or class's perception of the essay, most kids will resort to proclaiming the essay as funny, but otherwise, I see this as a serious attempt to create an excellent assignment.

    I am also seeing where this boy is extraordinarily creative. Often creativity is shoved away from students as misbehavior, and certainly misbehavior should never be tolerated, no matter how creative it is, but creativity needs to be encouraged. I see this in my piano arrangements and compositions. Had I been discouraged in my creative attempts, I would never have grown as a pianist. (Same thing with your dancing).

    His reference to the Fantastic Four (my favorite when I was a kid) I recall fantasizing being able to stretch like the one character. I also recall wishing I could wiggle my nose like Samantha so that my vegetables would disappear.
     
  28. ladybugteacher

    ladybugteacher Companion

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    DEFINITELY! I am not going to be alone with these people. The counselor said she wanted to speak to them too.
     
  29. ladybugteacher

    ladybugteacher Companion

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    This is part of the reason I let him have a good grade. Perhaps if he is getting good grades for this stuff he will have less of a need to find an audience with his peers. Also, I am guessing you liked silver-age fantastic 4?
     
  30. 2ndTimeAround

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    With this last assignment, grading him only with the rubric was the wise choice. In the future you can require students (in the rubric) to stay on topic.

    Years ago I had a very slightly similar issue with a student paper. I don't remember what the topic I assigned was, but the student submitted a beautifully written story involving a hamburger joint and grandparents. It was completely fictional. Which would have been awesome in an English class, but I teach science. It had absolutely nothing to do with the topic at hand. He got a zero for the assignment, with a note telling him to re-submit for a late grade. He flipped out. His parents were irate. That was some of his best writing! They all took it to the counselor and then up the chain to the principal. The kid's English teacher was new that year and they convinced her to "grade" his paper so they'd have proof that my grade was unfair. How could she give him an A but I give him a zero? lol. Because the student and his parents refused to resubmit as they fought the original grade, he ended up keeping his zero.
     
  31. ladybugteacher

    ladybugteacher Companion

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    That is nuts. I hate when PARENTS ask for a regeade. Before this boy came into my life, I always had a certain amount of respect for a child who would ask me for a regrade and then present to me reasons why he or she believes it is warrented (I don't always do it btw).
    With this little boy, I noticed he really doesn't care what grade he receives in my class, it's been about 4 weeks and he is hovering around a 65-70. On objective assignments such as spelling and vocabulary he would normally get perfect scores, but then on composition assignments like journal entries he would either flat out not do them (like when he was asked to write about what he did in the weekend he wore one line saying "on the weekend I didn't go to school". I asked him if he did anything else he told me he would "take the zero plus what ever punts the one line was worth". The only time he complains about wanting a regrade is when he writes some way faroff politically charged rant with full of threatening references. Based on his the last assignment went and the insight of the fine people here, it is very obvious to me that validation of his political ideas/comedy routine is more important than the grade he receives. I am actually very surprised that never once did either of his parents contact me about his school work (partially because I know for a fact that they are constantly in contact with the 8th grade math and science teachers who apparently love them).
     
  32. Obadiah

    Obadiah Groupie

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    Ladybugteacher, if I might give another "been there, done that" post, there have been times when I've read more into a situation than was occurring. This is because I think like an adult and kids think like kids. Also, I'm often surprised how my estimation of home life differs from reality. One humorous example, I thought one of my students was seeing things. (He wasn't the type to make up a story). The school was inside of a church, and he told me that he thought the sanctuary was spooky because when he walks past it, he sees bats flying around. I passed this off, because during this time, we had a unit on mammals andI had a bat display in the room. And of course, I was sure the sanctuary wasn't "haunted" by spooky bats. Well, early the next morning while walking up to my classroom, lo and behold, there was a bat hanging from the ceiling!
     
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  33. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Phenom

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    I remember in elementary school there was one friend of mine who told the teacher about her home. She described what sounded like an alter in the living room, about 1000 chairs (a bit of exaggeration there) and lots of very "creative" sounding pictures on the wall. The teacher told her to stop making up stories and the truth. Well, turned out her family lived on the top floor of an Indian temple and the 1st floor was the meeting room for the members of the temple (therefore LOTS of chairs LOL). I thought she was lying too until I went to her house for her birthday party!!
     
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  34. EMonkey

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    You might try sending him down to a kindergarten class, at the very least it will get him out of your hair for a while, it might even get the father to respond. I would give in school consequences the fact that the administrator is even bringing up whether it can be proven or not is showing a lame admin. The likelihood of the teacher lying about a student's actions to this extent is ridiculous-too much stress too busy to be making up this stuff. I would organize with a buddy teacher to give a place for the obnoxious kids to be sent. Send them with a huge load of work to do, letters of apology to write. Every time the child even begins to argue or act out take a minute off of recess free time for each word said. Do not discuss or argue anything with PITA child-explain that you do not argue with 10 year olds. Give the same consequences to all the kids including the PITA child. Have them sit out and write down the activity for any cool stuff they are trying to interrupt.
     
  35. Obadiah

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    EMonkey, I agree with you that rules need to be enforced and even reinforced. Teachers need to be strict with expectations. I would like to expand on some of your ideas. I'm not so sure sending a 5th grader to Kindergarten is effective in the long run. It might diminish the observable symptoms, but will it treat the cause of the symptoms? This boy is like any other 10-year-old. He's trying to learn, grow, and survive. Embarrassing him in front of his peers could create more of a problem than it will solve. Rather than searching for a punishment that works, I find consistency to be more effective and fair. I do agree that within a societal grouping, such as a classroom, established penalties for infractions is essential, but in a learning environment, such as a classroom, the most effective management of decorum is to teach and guide proper behavior. Not that you're promoting the following, but on the opposite end of the spectrum, for a teacher to present her/himself as stronger and/or more important and to consider the students as weaker and less important is a scary lesson to teach kids. The idea, "I'm bigger than you so do what I say", is not a lesson I'd prefer to teach students; too many countries are following that philosophy. I'm currently reading a book about a cult that uses these same tactics with its members. No, I don't argue with kids: I don't argue with anyone. I teach students that arguing doesn't solve problems; usually, the purpose of an argument is to see who can outdo or often out-yell or out-fight the other. I always allow students to discuss with me within certain boundaries: we discuss at an appropriate time, we discuss respectfully, we listen to each other (yes, I always listen carefully to my students without interruption and expect that they do the same with me and each other), and we seek to find a solution to our differences (without compromising school or societal expectations). When students have a disagreement with each other, I teach them to do likewise with each other. I will listen in as a mediator but not as a dictator telling how the problem will be solved--and again, this is done at an appropriate time in a respectful manner.
     
  36. ladybugteacher

    ladybugteacher Companion

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    Sep 18, 2016

    For now, it seems like the situation has calmed itself down a good deal. I still have trouble with his band of merry men but he himself had not been doing anything, at least nothing I can drop the hammer on in class. He still shows little interest in doing well in my class (he is more than happy to take zeros on writing assignments but when he does do them they are crazy but well written). It seems like his parents will be attending the parent teacher conference next week so that would be interesting. On a side note, on Friday I learned the oddest thing. The child actually is fluent in Spanish and Chinese.
    Turns out mom is actually a Latina and a Mexican national. I would have never guessed except on Friday he got into a shouting match (in Spanish) with the mother of the little girl who was offended by his border wall comment. He claimed she was trying to lure him home with candy and she claimed he threatened to get his uncle to "bury her out in Tamalupis". I don't speak Spanish so I had the bilingual campus security officer deal with this. Little boy's mom came to pick him up, and I tried to speak to her about class. She refused to speak to me because she said dad wasn't present but did agree to attend parent teacher conferences with dad.
    Weird family.
     
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2016

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