Is this "normal" behavior?

Discussion in 'Behavior Management' started by rchlkay, Sep 18, 2008.

  1. rchlkay

    rchlkay Companion

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    Sep 18, 2008

    Ok, a little background first. I'm a Jr. and Sr. High special ed teacher. This is my first year at this age range; I previously have taught primary elementary. I have spent a lot of time working at the high school level as a paraprofessional but I was working with students with multiple disabilities who were much lower functioning that the kids I see now. So, I know some of the behavior issues I'm having can be attributed to working with special needs students, but I was wondering if it's typical to see the types of behavior that I'm seeing. Just today (and it's only 10:30 ) I've dealt with tattling, spitting, kicking, refusal to work, swearing, walking out of the room without permission, all sorts of fun things. Not to mention that in my first class 60% of the kids either "forgot" to bring their homework or flat out let me know that they didn't get it done. And no, I'm not working with EBD kids. All of my students have learning disabilities or health issues, such as ADHD. I feel like a failure and really need some encouragement. The only good thing about this is that I'm not the only one seeing this type of behavior. I've spoken to many gen ed teachers in the school who are having the same problems that I am. I guess I was hoping that jumping up to a secondary setting would mean the students were a little more mature. My first and second graders from last year behaved better than these guys. Is this normal??
     
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  3. synapse

    synapse Comrade

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    Sep 18, 2008

    It depends.

    Does it really matter if it is normal or not? It is what you are experiencing and you have to work with it.

    We probably need more information. To get the ball rolling...

    What are your expectations? Are the students clear about them? How do you know? What are you teaching and how? Is it interesting, engaging, and developmentally appropriate? What was the homework? Was it relevant, interesting....? What are you doing to develop relationships with your students? How are you developing a sense of community within the class?
     
  4. rchlkay

    rchlkay Companion

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    Sep 18, 2008

    You're right. It doesn't matter if it's typical or not. As for expectations, I started out the year with very simple rules and expectations that I spent the first few days (and have consistently reviewed) going over. For example, the typical respect yourself and others. We went over the different areas this included such as coming to class prepared and on time, treating others the way we wanted to be treated, participating in class, etc. I really did a lot of reviews from the character counts program that they've been using for several years. I quickly realized that my group was not mature enough to handle this. So, we sat down and created a very specific list of rules and consequences. So, our list now includes not throwing pencils at others, not swearing at the teacher and other students, keeping hands and feet to ourselves. I have a very specific list of consequences, a five step system that starts out with the loss of privileges such as restroom and locker passes think sheets, behavior and attitude social stories with questions to answer, lunch in the classroom, loss of passing time in the hall, morning and afternoon detentions, and office referrals. Obviously, each step has a different result. What I'm still seeing is that the majority of the kids just don't care and while the problem behavior may disappear for a day, I'm right back where I started the day before. I really don't think it's just me. With the exception of one student that I struggle with, the gen ed and other sp ed teachers are seeing the same things with all of the other kids. As to what I'm teaching, everything is directly based on IEP goals. I do my best to make it engaging and I'm really trying to make things relevant to their lives. For example, in social studies, one of the things we've done is go through the newspaper and find things that they don't understand or are interested in and then go into more details about it. We've spent the last few weeks learning about the middle east because they were curious about 9/11. As for the homework that no one turned in, we had spent the last few days using graphic organizers to get ideas down on the paper we're working on. The topic was "if I could change anything about the world, I would...." They already had a list of ideas as well as pros and cons for each choice. They were supposed to write one paragraph about one of the things they would change. I don't know. They seemed interested in this when we were discussing it in class. They actually seemed like they were having fun coming up with crazy ideas. But the minute I asked for them to do something independently, it was a whole different story. I don't know. Maybe I'm just not reading them right. What can I do to turn this around? As for developing relationships with the students, I think I've come a long way with this. I have many that will come to me when they're upset or just need to talk. I think that most feel comfortable expressing themselves with me. But, a lot of time, I'm the bad person too which makes me unpopular at times. I'm the one that their gen ed teachers come to with their missing work or to tell me about problems they've had so for several of my students, I'm the one constantly checking up on them to make sure they have their math done, have made up the science lab they missed, talked to about their attitude in PE. I feel like I'm constantly nagging at some of them and if I'm tired of doing this, I know they're tired of hearing it. Advice please???
     
  5. rchlkay

    rchlkay Companion

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    Sep 18, 2008

    Ok. I've been rereading my posts and I realize now how whiny and desperate I'm sounding. :eek: SO, sorry, it's just been a very long week and we're all ready for fall break. But, I'm determined that tomorrow will be a better day!
     
  6. languageart83

    languageart83 Rookie

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    Sep 18, 2008

    You don't have to apologize. Everyone needs t vent. I am going through the same thing, different behavior but "odd" to me nonetheless. I am gen. ed teacher with 2 inclusion classes so I am not sure what is acceptable. I have accepted that I have to deal with it but I am not sure if the behavior should be like it is at this level (r. high)? I, too, say tomorrow will be a better day. All you can do is go and try your best.
     
  7. synapse

    synapse Comrade

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    Sep 19, 2008

    No need to apologize.
    In my opinion you are doing several things right. You just have to realize that this is going to be a long-term project. No advice that you get or tool that you try will produce overnight results for the whole class.

    My thoughts may be all over the board here....

    My first suggestion is to quit worrying about how other teachers perceive these students. At this point, this is only between you and them. When you were in school, you had the ability to understand what different adults in your life expected and you changed your behavior accordingly. These children, regardless of disability, have the same ability. So, focus on you and your students. Your relationship with them is critical.

    I firmly believe that we cannot control the behavior of our students. We can influence it, but the control belongs to them. What we can control is our own behavior. So, think deeply about what you are bringing to the table....how you communicate, how you respond to misbehavior, how you construct your lessons, how you set up the classroom environment...etc.

    Maybe some are not ready for independent work...how can you support them in learning how to do this?
     
  8. Loomistrout

    Loomistrout Devotee

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    Sep 20, 2008

     
  9. KAM

    KAM Rookie

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    Sep 20, 2008

    After reading what you put up with in your initial post, I would not feel the need to apologize because you think you sound whiny and desperate. The truth is you probably deserve triple your current salary for putting up with your current situation.

     
  10. sciencewrestler

    sciencewrestler Rookie

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    Sep 23, 2008

    Relavancy: personally I wouldn't concentrate too much on this aspect when teaching.

    Many subjects a young person will be exposed to will inherently be very or 100% foreign to them & if a teacher tries to make them "relevant", IMO all that will do is water down that subject (because they will have to delete much of the completely unknown portions of X subject) so such lessons will end up boring the student and plain not teach them much of anything useful.

    Personal example: science fiction is my favorite genre of my book reading hobby. If my literature teachers had only assigned me a list of books that I could "relate to" back in the late 70s (I'm 43) then technically-speaking I would never have been exposed to this genre and instead would only know about books that related stories about regular/everyday happenings i.e. mundane stories :( about a new grocery store being built down the road, how Mrs. Hoolihan's rose garden is coming along or other similar boring & unenlightening stories.*

    I already know about the things happening around me (I can just walk out the door to find that out!), so what I want to REALLY know about is the unknown stuff that is happening out there, what is happening with people who have special talents past or present, what special events happened in the past that altered the present world........or what events might happen in the future. ;)

    I think if an adminstrator told a teacher to always limit the horizons of his/her students in the name of relavancy, then that would make a mockery of the word "education" and would help to dumb-down the learning environment. :( This will also end up causing students to be bored & restless which then could very easily lead to discipline problems.

    * this is a bit off-topic but: I love music, so it worries me a lot to see the very limited playlists on most modern radio stations and TV music channels which don't allow kids to hear so much of the great music from the past (even recent material from the 90s!). This has occurred because large corporations have been allowed to take over many more radio stations and TV music channels than they used to, and typical of such organizations, they are frightened of anything that may lower profits just .00002% :rollleyes: & most will not schedule anything that has the slightest chance of making just a few listeners change the station or channel.

    This is mostly why you hear so many hit songs or inoffensive-but-ultimately-boring songs repeated over and over and over, whatever the station format.........and why I am worried because young people will miss out on all the other - and probably better quality - music that is out there.
     
  11. synapse

    synapse Comrade

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    Sep 24, 2008


    Sorry to take this a bit off the original topic, but..

    I think you are confusing relevancy with familiarity...of course content has to be made relevant, otherwise, why would you want to learn about it? ...how deep would your understanding be?

    As human beings we put very little effort into learning that which is not relevant for us. That is not to say that we shouldn't be exposed to new ideas or topics...the unfamiliar...but in terms of school curriculum, students must be shown that what they are learning is relevant for something. When students ask, "why are we doing this" it is a sure sign that the teacher has not made the appropriate connections.

    In my opinion, teachers must constantly attend to relevancy!
     
  12. sugar001

    sugar001 Rookie

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    Oct 4, 2008

    I had my older children do projects as a group- they knew how I would grade
    20% attempted objective- we even set this between the two of us- I had an ESL typing student/ inclusion he set his goals even higher that I would have.....
    20% was just good attitude-
    20% participation verbal and otherwise
    20% following directions
    20% staying on task with zero reminders,
    I learned this method in our dyslexia classes- since they are not always able to produce highest quality of work- they had to be TRYING TO-
    bottom line- isn't that what society will want from them?

    it was easy to make a 100 every day for coming in with a good attitude and trying hard-
     

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