just sitting there in class...

Discussion in 'Secondary Education Archives' started by ms_chandler, Oct 27, 2006.

  1. ms_chandler

    ms_chandler Comrade

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    Oct 27, 2006

    Just curious...

    What do you (secondary teachers) do with a kid that just sits there unprepared. I'll tell you what I do... I give him morning detentions, call home, write him up, etc. Even though he's not making noise and not being disruptive, he's NOT DOING ANYTHING!

    I have a student that just sits there in every one of his classes. He'll take out his notebook but he won't write much in it. I've talked to mom 3 times (she's full of excuses), and he sees me for detention twice a week or so. When my 7th graders don't do homework, they must serve a detention for me. He racks them up. Once again, I call mom. She makes up more excuses. The latest one: He has a crush on me.

    I wrote him up for the 8th time today. He has no other write ups because his other teachers just let him sit there and fail. My asst. principal hates talking to the mom because he's tired of hearing excuses. I don't think this kid belongs in alternative school. I've contacted Special Ed. His mom wants him out of my class because the kid in now scared of me. Well, he's obviously not scared enough... I've seen an improvement definitely, but he needs to improve more. I know he can do it. Mom doesn't seem to think he will fail 7th grade, but it looks like he will if he doesn't improve.

    So, I'm a little ticked at these other teachers that just let him sit there. I feel like I'm letting a student down if I let them just fail. I do everything I can to make them do their work. Every single kid has turned around.... but he hasn't come full circle. The rest of my students in that class dislike him so much because we have to stop class to deal with him.

    So, what do y'all think? What measures do you take... or do you let him just sit there?
     
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  3. TeacherShelly

    TeacherShelly Aficionado

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    Oct 27, 2006

    I can tell you really want him (and all of your students) to learn in class. If that's your desire, I think what you've been doing may be driving in the wrong direction. Kids need to feel safe and connected to learn. This guy doesn't and he's zoning out. Would you consider asking him what it would take to get him to participate? If you can gain his trust (remember... you are the person who's been writing him up, giving him detention, etc... you've got your work cut out for you in gaining trust now) he may just tell you something you can work with. Good luck!
     
  4. ms_chandler

    ms_chandler Comrade

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    Oct 27, 2006

    Yeah, I've tried that. He said he just doesn't want to do the work and admits he's lazy. He's basically been passed all of his life. He has improved, but it's not enough. Then he complained about being picked on by other kids (he's overweight) but he doesn't mind drawing attention to himself during class. He just needs to grow up. I'm talking to his other teachers again on Monday.
     
  5. Malcolm

    Malcolm Enthusiast

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    Oct 27, 2006

    Sounds at bit like a kid I have in a math class. He is smart enough to pass but absolutely hates math and initially was doing zero, and he was disruptive. I save the negative reinforcement for the disruptions. You cannot make a kid learn. It has taken me nine weeks of positive reinforcement on the learning side, every time he did the least little positive thing, to get him to the point where he sometimes does his homework, sometimes participates in class, etc. He still has an F in the class, but at least it is a higher F than he would have had otherwise. By the end of the year, I may have gotten him engaged enough that he will have a D or even a C. If he fails, he gets to take the class again because it is required for graduation. Even if he does nothing, he cannot help but learn something. Sometimes it is a victory just to get the kid to not be disruptive. You cannot save them all. And, in my class, he is not the big problem anyway.
     
  6. wunderwhy

    wunderwhy Comrade

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    Oct 30, 2006

    I had a kid like that last year. He had already failed 10th grade English. I was able to coax him into doing his work, basically just by appealing to the fact that the kid liked me. But after a certain point I began to feel like I shouldn't have to cajole an otherwise capable student into doing every assignment that I handed out. Little by little I stopped trying so hard. I remember one day I accidentally got him to do his work by reverse psychology. I had forgotten to make a copy of the worksheet for myself, and I figured he wasn't going to do it so I might as well use his. All of a sudden he was protesting, no, no, he would do it.

    Eventually he dropped out to get his GED. His girlfriend sent word to me that he did the best on the English section of the test. I know he wanted me to know because he liked me and was glad that I tried to help him . . . but at a certain point I just couldn't do a dog and pony show every time I handed out a new worksheet or quiz. Ultimately the responsibility falls upon the student, who must sink or swim. His employers aren't going to beg him to do every little task he's expected to do, so once I realized that he wasn't going to meet me half-way, I began to let him suffer the consequences of his inaction. Sometimes it's actually doing the student a favor not to shield him from the natural consequences of his or her choices.

    I'm not saying to give up on this child, just that if they remove him from your class, you will no longer have the opportunity to be the one caring teacher he has. And better that he mess up and pick himself up by the bootstraps sooner than later.
     
  7. hojalata

    hojalata Comrade

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    Oct 30, 2006

    You've been trying to scare him into learning. So far, has it done any good? It doesn't sound like it. So don't keep trying something that isn't working-- it's not going to. Try something else. Maybe try developing a relationship with him. Make sure he knows that you care about him. Notice things about him. It sounds like he has a self esteem issue. I bet if he really liked you as a person, he'd want to try harder. Hey, it's worth a shot, isn't it?
     
  8. ms_chandler

    ms_chandler Comrade

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    Oct 31, 2006

    Problem solved. I met with the mom today with our asst. principal. Yes, the scaring tactic (though I don't prefer to use it) has worked, but it hasn't gotten him to the level where I need him. He is just plain lazy, and mom realized that. She actually said she wants him to stay in my class (WOW!) because I'm the only teacher that cares about him. She said the other teachers just let him sit there and fail.

    So, there's NO DOUBT in my mind that I've been doing the right thing all along!

    HOJALATA - I do have a relationship with him, but he has a crush on me. So, I have to watch my boundaries. He's a hormone crazed 7th grade boy and I'm 25!
     
  9. Tigers

    Tigers Habitué

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    Nov 1, 2006

    I don't think that giving him detentions, writing him up, and calling home are necessarily scare tactics. I think you are holding him accountable. This is something we all need to remember to do. You did make the comment that the other kids dislike him because you have to stop the class to deal with him. On one hand, that is a natural consequence; on the other hand I think we should do everything possible to foster communication and good relationships between students. But I can hardly say you haven't done that. It sounds like you have spent a lot of your time dealing with him individually and I don't believe you are trying to embarrass him. I definately think you should talk to the other teachers...just be careful. How skilled is he in your subject area? Is he just not putting the effort because of laziness? Or does he not know or understand the subject? If it is the former, perhaps he is not challenged or does not find the work meaningful. If it is the latter, or both, perhaps you could offer another student extra-credit for tutoring him. I agree that he has a self-esteem issue, and I think you breathing down his neck telling him he is better than this actually...well...helps.
     
  10. dehabel

    dehabel Rookie

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    Nov 5, 2006

    As much as I hate to say it, the students do have a right to fail. I am their biggest cheerleader and helper, but if they won't help themselves, I am too busy to write them up and call Mom every time they won't pick up their pencil.
     
  11. ms_chandler

    ms_chandler Comrade

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    Nov 5, 2006

    TIGERS:

    His mom and I met (along with the asst. principal) on Halloween after school. He basically admitted to being lazy. I see that he's now at least trying. The bad part is that his hand hurts after writing like a paragraph. He hasn't had to do work for so long that his hand hurts after writing several sentences. Isn't that ridiculous? His other teachers agreed with me. They've had just as much trouble and no progress whatsoever. But they haven't been able to reach his mom.

    His mom actually thanked me for caring so much about her kid... what a flip side to wanting him out of my class before she even met me! lol... how funny!
     
  12. dehabel

    dehabel Rookie

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    Nov 6, 2006

    good for you - and him!!!
     
  13. h2omane

    h2omane Comrade

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    Nov 6, 2006

    You are doing the right thing. Keep at it.

    One thing you could say to him is "what Can I do to help you get excited about learning?"

    Sounds like his motivation is dropping. "no friends" I hope not.

    Try and build some cooperative learning, in groups if possible. Are they sitting all the time, get the class up and energized. try a 5 minute aerobic jazz up right after morning announcements.

    Dont do detentions, partly because you have done nothing wrong, and you are in detention babysitting. Talk with the student first thing in the morning, and say today's a new day. At the end of the day praise him for writing 1 sentence.

    Find out why his hand hurts after writing, is it an excuse or is it a wrist condition? Does he wear glasses? is his prescription old, or is he squinting?

    does he have any goals, dreams, wants, desires? If not, he needs help. A grade 7 just doesn't float though life without wanting to rush home and play online games, or Xbox 360. Get to know him personally.

    He probably has a crush on you, because you are the only girl that has noticed him besides his mom.

    speaking of her, keep the communication open. If all she has are excuses, call her with good news about her son's progress. Have faith in him. 12 years ago he was learning how to walk and talk, 12 years from now where will he be?

    Mr. Skinner :D
     
  14. h2omane

    h2omane Comrade

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    Nov 6, 2006

    Also talk to him, and have him tell you what he likes about school.
    If he has moved up the ladder and not learned very much he wont suddenly improve dramatically for your grade 7 class. Try and get his skills up enough so that he doesn't drop out of highschool, because the material is too hard.

    Is he a nice kid, or a disrupter?

    And if he is trying a little, say c'mon "joe" impress me. If he likes you he will want to keep you impressed with him.

    Also try and do a prompt, with less attention focused on standing or sitting beside him. (If thats what you do) Say "good job, now what about this one", then walk away. You will slowly build independance in him, and maybe by Christmas holidays he will be able to do a whole day without your supervision over his shoulder. (wouldn't that be nice)

    Mr. Skinner :D
     
  15. h2omane

    h2omane Comrade

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    Nov 6, 2006

    I agree, but try and build some skills into him so he doesnt end up like the boy in this example in senior high. The kid's in grade 7, you might be able to get him up to basic level for highschool, so that he tries.
     

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