Is behavior intervention coach allowed to sit in my classroom and observe?

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by MissEmily, Nov 27, 2019.

  1. MissEmily

    MissEmily Rookie

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    Nov 27, 2019

    There is a student in my class who is a behavior problem. However, I would consider it mild. Last year, it was severe but because I have developed a good rapport with him since the beginning of the year, his behavior has considerably improved. He does have an episode every now and then but it is not every day. Because of an episode he had a couple weeks ago, it has all these people (behavior intervention coaches, entire team of behavior specialists) on my back and they won't stop even though I have said there is NOT a problem. My principal is not supportive and is condescending to myself and other colleagues. I do not get along with the behavior intervention coach. I get along with my other colleagues, but she is very rude. She came in demanding to observe my student. When I said no, she accused me of lying and later returned and stood outside my room. I wrote to the principal indicating what happened and expressing that I don't feel comfortable with anyone except an administrator observing a student in my room. He sided with her saying any staff member is allowed to observe in my classroom at any time. We all know that even when they say they are observing a student, they are also observing you. I don't feel comfortable with it. Especially when I don't get along with this behavior intervention coach and she is really rude.

    Also, prior to this episode he had, he was doing perfectly fine. Another behavior intervention coach (not the one I don't get along with but another one who is super nice) said last year, that's all you heard is his name over the walkie talkie but not this year. She said "I think he really respects you." The other behavior intervention coach, however, pushed this program called Check In, Check Out. This has been the third time he has started this program but the first time it has actually been documented. This boy has OCD and he has to have routine. Anything out of his routine and he will flip. CICO is out of his routine. So his behavior since starting it has been SO much worse. He was doing fine and now he's a nightmare. I have requested numerous times that he be taken off the program. I have provided documentation that it is not working. They refuse to take him off of it, saying he requested to be on it. He has not met his goal at all since he has been on it or came anywhere close to his goal.

    I feel like even though I see this student for 6 1/2 hours a day, I'm not trusted and my opinion doesn't matter. They are just clearly going to do what they want anyway. I just feel absolutely helpless in this situation. Advice would be much appreciated. Thank you.

    ETA: Is it normal for behavior intervention coaches to not leave you alone and be breathing down your neck when you have a student with behavior problems? Or are they just available for help if you ask for it?

    And I really can’t decline an observation since my principal is demanding that I welcome them into my classroom?
     
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2019
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  3. agdamity

    agdamity Fanatic

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    Here’s my simple take on this situation: let the behavior coach observe. It never hurts to have an extra set of eyes, and if this person sees for the self that the student is doing fine in class, then that will help. Remember that everyone is working for the best interest of the student. You’re on the same team.
     
  4. MissEmily

    MissEmily Rookie

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    Yes true. Unfortunately, he’s not doing well right now so she will see him not doing well. They have put him on Check In/Check Out which he never does well on. Every time he is on this program, his behavior gets significantly worse. But maybe I can ask if she can observe with him on the Check In/Check Out program and then stop the program and observe again and see the difference.
     
  5. Obadiah

    Obadiah Groupie

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    I see a couple of potential problems. But first, I'm with you. If something's working, why stop it? On the other side of the fence, classroom observation is usually a positive approach; a teacher can't notice all the little stuff that might be important in a behavioral assessment.

    Problem number 1: The student more than likely is aware that he's the center of the attention. This inhibits the observation. I had this happen during a principal's observation one day. Although the principal did observe some stuff that I could not have noticed while teaching, we both determined the student was doing her thing just because the principal was there.

    Problem number 2: Although a student's differences need to be addressed, I know from experience of my own childhood how easy it is for a child to, frankly, feel like an oddball. OCD is real, and yes, it is a difference, but everyone, and I mean everyone, has a difference. Some differences are more noticeable or even easier to hide, but everyone has a difference. For a child to feel like everyone else is normal but I'm an oddball is detrimental to the child's social adjustment. When I experienced Sydenham's chorea in 6th grade, I felt like a jerk. A kid punching me in the stomach every single day didn't help matters any. My parents were wonderfully and perfectly supportive, and the doctor explained to me that it was the result of strep not a result of anything I'd done wrong, but I still felt like a jerk.

    Problem 3: When a kid is experimented on, he might react to the experimentation rather than adjust positively with the experimentation. I don't have time to double check myself, but if I recall correctly, this is called the Hawthorne effect. I've seen that happen a couple of times when a student was evaluated.

    But again, I do agree with observation, as that's the only way to spot invisible clues and symptoms.
     
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  6. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    Nov 28, 2019

    The Behavioral Coach has an obligation to observe in the classroom and anywhere else the behavior issues occur with the student. I am sorry that you are uncomfortable with this woman, but it is her job and her obligation.

    Just because he is struggling with the program doesn't mean he should be taken off of it if there are interventions that can be used to help him learn to adapt to change. That is really the skill he needs to learn for life. Life is always changing. If he can't adapt to change and methods can't be put in place that help him learn to deal with his disability, this student will not have any success in life. It is sort of like anxiety. You don't get over anxiety over things without being exposed to them and using tools to learn to deal with the feeling.
     
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2019
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  7. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Nov 28, 2019

    The only way that the Behaviour Coach can objectively know what is going on the classroom is to be there to observe first-hand. You say that the new program is causing problems; seeing how the student is responding to it will help to determine how he can be most successful. An objective observer can see where the program is breaking down for your student and at what point in the process interventions may be necessary. As well, it isn't uncommon for changes to make things worse in the short term before improvements are seen (short term pain for long term gain).

    I find it difficult to be able to do complete behavioural observations on my students when I'm teaching them. I'll often see the behaviour and can follow through with the consequence, but it's challenging to see the antecedent when I'm dealing with 28 other students. I may think that I know what the cause is, but I don't know for sure. Right now, I'm using my planning periods to observe one of my students, and I'm learning that a lot of my assumptions weren't correct.

    I've spent most of my career, both as a Special Ed teacher and as a classroom teacher, fighting for the kinds of supports you are receiving. Accept the support and expertise when it is offered.
     
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2019
  8. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    You are interfering with that person’s job.

    While I would prefer people leave me alone and let me do my job, it just doesn’t work that way. There are always people who need to do one thing or another.

    As far as watching ME, they can do that if they want. The only observation that is evaluative is the one that comes from my assigned administrator, so that’s the one that matters.
     
  9. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    It seems like your principal gave you a pretty clear answer to your question. Yes, a coach can observe, assuming that’s the policy of the district, and, in this case, it seems warranted. I think you’re just going to have to accept it this time.
     
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  10. Tired Teacher

    Tired Teacher Cohort

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    Yes, and it is the norm here that the more people who get involved w/ 1 kid who is a behavior problem, the kid tends to get a lot worse. ( Lack of consistency and divide and conquer) It is a shame that you were getting it under control and she came and made it worse. Something very similar happens at my school too. Fortunately, I don't have to deal w/ it again. You do have to do what the P says even though it is counterproductive and maddening too.
     
  11. vickilyn

    vickilyn Magnifico

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    I think we are not getting the whole story. I doubt that the school would send in the behavior interventionist for a child who was under control. OP states that there are episodes, just not every day, but apparently the episode from a couple of weeks ago was bad enough to get everyone's attention. Perhaps, if OP becomes less adversarial towards the behavior interventionist a better outcome could be achieved for the student. I would be interested in knowing what grade we are talking about and some idea of the behavior. Some behaviors result in an unsafe classroom for the rest of the students, resulting in parental pressure for better control on admin. There's always more than one side to any story.
     
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  12. Obadiah

    Obadiah Groupie

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    Nov 29, 2019

    Tonight while I was reading, my thoughts wandered back to MissEmily's student. A word, a key word needed in this child's life is tranquility. My Webster's app's definition also defines my thinking. "Free from agitation of mind or spirit....Free from disturbance or turmoil." Definition 2 can't always be obtained, but as teachers we can guard against disturbing forces. Definition 1 is the most important attainment. In spite of outside interference, tranquility within the child's mind keeps him in stable condition to withstand turmoil.

    My grandmother taught me this. She taught me that I cannot always control problems, but I don't have to let problems control me. Sometimes I can resolve a situation. Sometimes I can't. Either way, inner peace is mightier than any medicine. Tranquility gives health to the body. Tranquility guides the brain. Tranquility keeps the person moving forward rather than stopping to panic or moving backwards away from progress.
     
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  13. MissEmily

    MissEmily Rookie

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    I don’t look at it as interfering with that person’s job. Their job is not to observe me or evaluate me or my teaching. That’s an administrator’s job. Even if she’s there with the sole purpose of observing the child, she still will be observing me. What I’m doing. How I’m teaching. How good my classroom management is. Whether she means to or not. And she can report back to the principal about what she observed regarding me. This student hates science and always becomes upset when it’s time for science. She may suggest “You’re making science too boring. If you make it fun and engaging, he won’t get upset.” Or “Try moving science from the morning to the afternoon” Even though all my grade level colleagues teach science in the morning and this is what we discussed together.

    The sad part is this student was fine. One of the behavior coaches (the nice one), you can tell she feels bad that I’m going through this. She doesn’t think it’s needed. She even told me how last year you constantly heard his name over the radio but not this year. That’s due to the relationship that I’ve built with him. It’s sad to receive no recognition for that, for one. It’s also sad when you have a student mostly under control and “100 times better than last year” (as said by a staff member). And they get involved and think they know best and ruin all the progress I’ve made with him. Just a sad situation.

    Someone said it takes time to work. Respectfully, how long of him acting out every hour and receiving 0’s on his CICO sheet would be sufficient to deem that this program isn’t working?
     
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  14. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    I don’t like people in my room observing either. It gives me anxiety. But it’s part of the job. It’s possible that her job is actually to observe you, too, and give you feedback. Often times, we don’t realize things we are saying or doing that could contribute to or resolve a behavior. It’s not her role to evaluate you, that’s true, but it’s within the realm of her responsibilities to observe the student and your interactions with the student.

    Also, don’t be so quick to take credit for any improved behaviors. There are often many factors that lead to a change - positive or negative - in behaviors. More often than not, it’s a combination of factors. It’s great that you have a good relationship with this student, but it’s highly unlikely that your relationship alone is what has led to the improved behaviors. Keep in mind that there might be factors, past or present, that you are not even aware of, and that could be why other staff members are getting involved.

    Again, I think you’re going to have to let this one go.
     
  15. vickilyn

    vickilyn Magnifico

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    OP, respectfully, we need more information. What grade are you teaching? This is the first time that you have mentioned the content. I would avoid the use of hyperbole - “100 times better than last year” (as said by a staff member), " last year you constantly heard his name over the radio but not this year.". You are speculating about what may happen, about "interfering" with your job, even though nothing has happened yet. You assume that you will be blamed for things and criticized, without knowing what those specifics might be or what they would look like. You are not the only person who has a job to do, something you might want to consider. As was mentioned elsewhere, your relationship might not be as relevant to any change in this child's behavior as, perhaps, an additional amount of maturity, because this student is now a year older versus last year. There are too many variables and too little information to be pro OP or pro behavior intervention coach. Everyone involved has a job to do, and the duties are going to overlap. Best suggestion is to lose the chip on your shoulder and accept that working with the behavior intervention coach as the principal has requested is what admin wants and what may actually help the student in question.

    I am curious what you have specifically done to help with this child's behavior problems, beyond the vague "relationship". Perhaps you would care to share.
     
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  16. MissEmily

    MissEmily Rookie

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    Dec 2, 2019

    I’m teaching 2nd grade. This student acted this same way in kindergarten (he was held back in kindergarten) and first grade. Until he came to me. In May of last year, he was destroying his teacher’s room, throwing books, tearing up stuff and he came to me in August and was fine. My AP commented the first day and said how he seems fine and couldn’t believe it. What I’ve done differently, I have a soft voice and caring demeanor and rarely yell but the main thing...I care about him and I can relate to him. Sometimes all a student needs is a teacher who cares. You would think all teachers care about their students, but sadly some teachers give up on a student. I can tell that last year, his teacher didn’t have a relationship with him. She gave up on him. He spent barely any time in her room. He was mostly running the halls, suspended, etc. A security guard at my school has told me he’s dangerous and refuses to go near him. That comment is funny to me because I’m not worried to be around him at all. Maybe he’s dangerous if you don’t have a relationship with him, but I don’t have to worry. As far as building a relationship with him, what I have done, he struggled with spelling and was making F’s on his spelling tests. His teacher last year said how he hates spelling. I started working with him and quizzing him. Now he makes A’s on his spelling tests without my help. He came to me on a reading level B (he’s technically a third grader and on a kindergarten reading level). That breaks my heart. He wants to learn to read so bad and gets very frustrated because he can’t. He’s now at an E so he’s getting better. But I read with him. She clearly didn’t last year. He was never in the room. He also hangs around my desk all day and spends time with me and I don’t make him go sit down. He has OCD and I do too so I understand him and his issues that he has. For example, when taking a spelling test, we do repeats at the end. He missed several in a row. I told him to wait until the end. He started to get upset and said “I can’t. I can’t skip these.” I immediately realized and reread those words to him. Most teachers wouldn’t have and would’ve let him have a meltdown. There are tons of other OCD things that I understand because I have it. He also is really sensitive to noise. I understand because I’m the same way. He kept having episodes in music and running out because of the noise. I got him a pair of headphones that the school had. Now that problem is resolved. I also give him responsibility. Before school started, I received a note from the special ed teacher to not let him leave the room alone. Within like 2 days, I figured out there was no issue and I could trust him. He is a bathroom buddy for boys who can’t be trusted to behave properly in the bathroom. That’s how responsible he is. I also have him go pick up papers from the copy room. He knows I trust him and that goes a long way too.

    There are 2 behavior intervention coaches at my school. One I don’t get along with. The other I do and she sees that I’ve built a relationship with him. She said “I think he really respects you. After he acted out, he said how he yelled really loud and needed to apologize to you.” I also wasn’t saying that I heard his name on the radio last year. She told me that. She said last year, you heard his name constantly but not this year. That comment came from her.

    Relationship building is the key to successful classroom management. Sure it’s not the ONLY thing, but it goes a long way. There was a time he did something that really upset me (a long time ago). I yelled at him and was really mean (yes I regret it now). He instantly started acting up and banging very loudly. Grabbed my arm. Cussed at me. So yes, I know that it’s my relationship with him that has made all the difference.
     
  17. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    I am absolutely positive that a good relationship helps tremendously when it comes to teaching children (and working with adults also). The fact that he came to you in August a different child tells me there is more going on in this child's life than just your classroom and relationship. It is very rare for a child with a disability to magically come back from summer break a new child without something radically changing over that time period, especially if the prior years didn't show the same pattern.

    Check-in/Check-out is really a concept more than a hard-fast procedure. It must be tailored for the child in question. This child must learn to monitor himself, with the work of you, specialists, and other adults. I know the way the program is instituted has been an issue for him, but it may be how it is being done that is the issue, not the program itself. Deciding that the school will not take any measures to teach the child to monitor himself, which is basically what a check-in/check-out procedure is, isn't necessarily the way to go. Tailoring the program to the child's needs makes much more sense and a behavioral specialist is the one to do this.

    You will have to be prepared to be told that not everything you are doing is the best for the child. I know, based on what you say, you look for ways to avoid triggers with this child which at some level I do agree. Melting down constantly doesn't allow for learning, but one of his learning goals must be how to handle or advocate when things will trigger him.

    Don't hold the grudge against the woman who will be observing. The observation is out of your control. Better to find a way to work with her than avoid her.

    Something to think about: Could she be a trigger you are trying to avoid? (I'm not judging; just putting something out there for you to think about in a different way.)
     
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  18. Lisabobisa

    Lisabobisa Companion

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    Dec 2, 2019

    Building relationships is important and you have done a lot of great things to foster that with this student: reading with him, working with him on spelling, showing him one-on-one attention.

    Just be careful not to cater to or enable his OCD and behaviors. Examples: allowing him to spend all day at your desk and not sit down (maybe instead move his desk closer to your desk) and rereading the spelling words as soon as he protested (instead of having him wait to the end, perhaps he could wait until a certain number of words are read).

    Also please be careful about letting a 2nd grader wander around the school alone, especially in this day and age. What would he do if there's a fire drill or heaven forbid something worse?
     
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  19. greendream

    greendream Cohort

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    This isn't your call to make. When I was a classroom teacher, I had parapros, instructional coaches, co-teachers, sign language interpreters, and teachers of the deaf in my classes. There are times when staff have to be in there, so you need to be ready for that as a teacher.
     
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  20. vickilyn

    vickilyn Magnifico

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    As someone who has worked with a multitude of students with significant behavioral issues/classifications, I want to second what a2z has had to say. I have seen students who work wonderfully for a single teacher, but remain almost impossible to control in other classes. After doing some observations of my own, I have come to understand that many children do know how to control what is being asked of them, in exchange for the teacher not overly asking for much in return, or the child wants to teacher to leave out what stresses the child in exchange for less drama in the classroom. It is a slippery slope when the student starts calling all the shots, especially if they have learned to utter the magic word "trigger." Soon, trigger is just an alternate word for no, or "I won't", no matter what the cause.

    My son has OCD, and I was his one on one teacher away from school. There has to be a little give, but that means that the person who is getting the break has to be giving something meaningful back for that. I have been through meltdowns at home, when my son could hold it together at school. That was the thing that finally clicked in my mind - he had some self control, but he was stingy in how he used it. He didn't want his teachers to dislike him, so he was a model citizen at school, but it was OK to meltdown at home. Long story short is that we found ways to help him educate himself, to a large degree, as he aged, and it was a godsend. To this day, there are people who have known my son for years who wouldn't believe some of the stories I could tell. The fact that my son, as an adult, has chosen to teach tells me volumes about just how important teachers who expect students to strive for goals that may initially seem unattainable really are to the academic and social growth of these students with disabilities. My son's desire to be seen as normal at school was a strength to build on. He would try harder and hold it together much longer if one of his favorite teachers challenged him. By accepting the challenge, he often found he was capable, and that brought him true academic growth.

    As a SPED teacher of HS students, I have become wary of the student who tells me I am their favorite teacher. I am suspicious that I am not challenging the student to meet their highest potential. I'm also going to say that, as much as we know it isn't right, we do, on occasion, have a favorite student. The trick is to know that about yourself without sharing that with your student. As the years go by, I have noticed that my favorites, or most memorable students, have shared my love of science and are excited about as many new things that you can show them. That is enjoyable and selfless work, and any student who wants to get a ticket for that "ride" is always welcome to join. That is a pure joy.

    Miss Emily, may I ask how long you have been teaching? Also, have you had classes in graduate school for special needs students? Not implying anything, but just curious and wondering if your answers will illuminate some of your feelings.
     
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  21. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    Right. I had 5 or 6 staff members in my classroom at one time on the first day of school this year. It was majorly anxiety-inducing. Now, I have either a para or a sped teacher in my classroom for the majority of the day. I don't like it, but it isn't a decision that I get to make.
     
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  22. RainStorm

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    Wow. So on the very first day, you made all these changes to the child? On the very first day? So in the first 7.5 hours you established this wonderful relationship and everything magically changed in this child -- from being with you only 7.5 hours? You must really be amazing!

    I think you are crediting yourself with a miracle!

    A more likely explanation would be that the child had matured over the summer and it was very evident on the first day of school.
     
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  23. RainStorm

    RainStorm Phenom

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  24. MissEmily

    MissEmily Rookie

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    Dec 8, 2019 at 11:37 PM

    I've talked extensively with his first grade teacher, that's how I know. I voiced my concerns regarding his reading level at the beginning of the year. She said how she was never able to read with him because he was out of the room most of the time. He also refused to participate in guided reading groups. She didn't even know what reading level he was on when I talked to her. It's not hearsay when it comes directly from the teacher. Not to mention, I read her long, detailed notes of what specifically happened every detail of the day regarding this student. He was so bad last year that the special ed teacher was involved and she advised his first grade teacher to keep detailed notes and document everything. I read through all her notes and talked with her personally.

    As far as the copy room, maybe things are done differently at different schools with different principals. My principal has no problem with sending a responsible student to pick up copies. They should never be making copies, that is inappropriate. But a responsible student can pick up the stack from the printer and bring them to you. You are also allowed to send a responsible student down to the cafeteria with your lunch count (our lunch count isn't done on the computer, just attendance). Different principals, different rules I guess. That's completely normal here. Teachers here send responsible students down to the copy room all the time. I don't know why you guys feel it is a big deal for a student to be alone. You do realize students are alone when they go to the bathroom right? My principal gives us the choice of individual or class bathroom breaks. I do individual with the exception of times when everyone has to go. Students walk down to the bathroom on their own, wash their hands, and come back to class. I don't know how that is a big deal. But again, it depends on the principal and what they will or won't allow.

    You're absolutely right, some of it is the fact that I give in to him so that he stays calm and doesn't have a meltdown. Just like with the spelling test. He definitely should learn how to cope instead of me having to give in to him to keep him calm. But if you and your kids had to endure what he does, I'm sure you would give in to him too. When he gets upset (either the class is what he feels is too loud, they really aren't but his ears are sensitive, or he doesn't want to participate in a certain subject area), he will go outside in the pod area and bang very loudly. He turns my classroom into total chaos. My students are crying because he's hurting their ears so bad. They're becoming increasingly agitated and upset. And then no teaching gets done. He has told me before how he wants to hurt their ears the way they hurt his ears when in actuality, they aren't hurting his ears. They aren't too loud. If we're doing a subject area he doesn't like which is basically every subject area, he will go out and bang loudly. He also turns the lights on and off. At first, we started ignoring it. But then it got worse because he wasn't getting attention. Now when he turns the lights on and off, he does it repeatedly (on, off, on, off, on, off) hurting everyone's eyes. After he is FINALLY escorted out (which takes forever), the other students are so wound up that they can't concentrate and have to be calmed back down. And a lot of times they'll send him right back 10-30 minutes later. I've seen how much the students learn and how much they thrive when he isn't in the room and is in detention or suspended. It's sad and I hate to say it, but it's true. My students have even said, "Why do you have to do this every day? It's every day!" (to him) "I'm telling my dad I want to move schools!" And when he does all this (like say he doesn't want to do science or social studies), we don't end up getting to science or social studies and that's what he wanted. And he deprives all the other students of science or social studies time. Sometimes it's because he doesn't want to do the subject area, sometimes it's because he wants attention, and sometimes it's what he calls "revenge" because he wants to bother his other classmates. We are WAY behind in math because of him. I don't know what to do at this point. CICO is not helping and I'm really frustrated!
     
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  25. vickilyn

    vickilyn Magnifico

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    Dec 9, 2019 at 4:13 AM

    What state are you in? No other info is requested, but the state would help.
     
  26. MissEmily

    MissEmily Rookie

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    Dec 9, 2019 at 6:06 AM

    California. And I do want to explain that despite him doing the banging, his behavior is significantly better than last year. His first grade teacher and other staff members have even acknowledged that. But it is still at a point where it’s interfering with the learning of the other students.
     
  27. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Dec 9, 2019 at 6:29 AM

    This is what the behaviour intervention coach can/will assist with. That is their area of expertise.
     
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  28. RainStorm

    RainStorm Phenom

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    Dec 9, 2019 at 7:33 AM

    Based on what you said, this is EXACTLY why he needs a behavior intervention coach.

    You are talking in circles. He's fine with you, but then you say he is so disruptive in your class that other students say they want to move to another school...so which is it? If he's that disruptive in your class then he definitely needs a behavior intervention coach on a regular basis.
     
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  29. vickilyn

    vickilyn Magnifico

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    Dec 9, 2019 at 8:44 AM

    A student with this much disruption going on may not be in the correct setting, which is what the behavior intervention coach needs to see. This is about more students than this one student with the LD or special needs. Without piling on, this most recent post suggests that this single student is holding an entire class hostage for his own twisted reasons. That doesn't sound like positive progress - it sounds like a captor who is wearing down the captives.
     
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  30. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Dec 9, 2019 at 2:25 PM

    If a student with this behavior was in my classroom I would welcome anyone and everyone to see how is. Obviously he has a long established record so I wouldn't feel defensive and think they're there to observe me.

    According to you, this student disrupts learning so much that certain subjects don't even get covered on some day, you're behind in math, students are crying, agitated and want to move schools. If he was doing worse before, I'm afraid to find out how he was. I would want him out of my classroom and get him in the right setting. A very small group instruction with a behavioral aide seems fitting. Staff members observing him seems like the first step in documentation and getting things rolling.
     
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