Major Classroom Management Problems

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by Samy, Aug 27, 2019.

  1. Samy

    Samy Rookie

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    Aug 27, 2019

    I’m looking for management tips. My kids are a complete disaster and I'm wanting to see what you would do, if these were your kids. I have a student who runs out of the room frequently. If I go out there in the pod area and see what's wrong, sometimes he'll go back in. Sometimes he won't. Sometimes it's just the fact that he doesn't want to read anymore (he's on a kindergarten level which is why he doesn't like to read). If I just ignore him and leave him out there, he'll turn the lights on and off to where I have to end up going out there anyway. My lights to the room are outside the room (yeah I know, ridiculous). He keeps moving cabinets out of the way so he can hide behind them. Today, he lost 15 minutes recess time for flooding the sinks in the pod area yesterday and for calling me "pitiful." It was indoor recess. In order for the time to count, the students must have their head down. He refused and drummed on the table with two colored pencils. So I added on time. When his time was originally supposed to be up (according to a timer on the screen), he got up and got an iPad. I tried to grab it from him and couldn't get it. He then knocked over a table, knocked over chairs, tried to peel stickers from the calendar (I stopped him), and then sat down and tried to play on the iPad. I grabbed it from him and he took a chair from the room and dragged it all the way down the hallway and flipped it over. There were witnesses so luckily he was out of my room the rest of the day. I don't know what to do with him and honestly, I'm sick of him being in my room. He stops us from getting any learning done. He's not the only behavior problem, but he's a big one. He did this same kind of stuff to his first grade teacher. Destroyed her room, bulletin boards, books, threw desks, chairs, etc. She couldn't get him to behave all year. Yet another teacher in my pod gets onto me because he's walking ahead of the line and not in line. And said there are some students that are taking advantage of me. There is literally NOTHING I can do about him walking ahead. He does it every day. I tell him to get in line and it's just constant defiance. "No." "No." And then if I tell him he lost his recess, he either doesn't care or gets angry and runs off and storms through the halls. From the beginning, my strategy with him was relationship building. I truly thought it was working. Along with a reward system. But now I'm really starting to think he was fine the first 2 weeks because it was unstructured fun stuff (like painting letters) but now that it's time to do reading and writing (which he hates), he doesn't want to do it so he's acting up. Last week he picked up a chair and put it behind his head like he was going to throw it!!!! All the students took cover under tables like this was an earthquake drill.


    Another boy in the class has started repeating some of the same behaviors he has seen him do (taking chairs and putting them where they don't belong, running out of the classroom, blatant defiance, taking the camping chairs and folding them up, etc). Today he ran out of the room for having to serve recess time, he went to the office and came back later. When he came back, he wasn't better. The assistant principal saw him at parent pickup and said how he worked with her for a little bit and how she hopes his afternoon went better. I said how it didn't. He said "I'm sorry Miss (my name)." And the assistant principal said "Awww that is so sweet!" and hugged him. He made my day horrible!!!!! Are you kidding me?? You're really buying that? Apology not accepted! And he'll do the same thing tomorrow.


    They have been so unruly the past two days, I've barely been able to get anything done. I'm so mad about their behavior today that tomorrow they will write their spelling words 5x each. They will then write their sight words. And they will complete a math worksheet on evens and odds and spell out "Even" or "Odd" on each problem. I've had ENOUGH! And the entire class has lost their whole recess tomorrow and yes, that means the entire class. There is no one who is getting out of the punishment. If they have behaved which is very few, sorry. I put a tally mark on the board when the entire class is talking, and each tally mark is a minute off their recess. They’ve already lost it all and they don't care. They don't care about recess. Some of them have point blank told me "I don't care about recess." They told me right after I accepted the position, that this is a VERY hard school behavior wise. That's why they hired this new principal who has experience getting difficult kids in line. It's very bad. Lots of kids who just run out of the room in the school (3 from my class who do it). But then again, if there were doors, they wouldn't even get the idea that they could run out of the room! They're VERY loud and unruly during a lesson to where I can't get anything accomplished. Even while I'm doing the tally marks. They don't care. Dojo helps them quiet back down but then as soon as I stop giving out points (while I teach the lesson) they get loud once again. They have no respect for authority. They are very defiant (a lot of no's, not doing what I say, moving their nametags to a different seat (NO, I choose their seats), drawing when they should be working - I crumbled up one girl's drawing and threw it in the trash when she was supposed to be on Epic completing her quiz). Parents are not involved here. A lot of students living in rundown homes or trailers with no power. Some living with aunts and uncles or grandparents. And most of the parents are missing teeth. Quite a few I’ve seen have no teeth at all. It's bad. Some of my students are -51 Dojo points, their behavior is that bad!
     
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  3. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    Aug 27, 2019

    What grade do you teach?

    First of all, what is the procedure for a student running out of the room? You should be able to call someone for assistance to find the kid if they leave and you aren't able to get them back.

    It must have been frustrating when the student took the ipad. However, I would be careful and not attempt to grab it from him next time. It just gives him the chance to try to take keep the ipad. Instead, I would try to redirect him calmly but firmly. Most kids will stop. Otherwise, keep the ipads out of reach of the kids. I would definitely contact this kid's family too.

    Is the other boy copying the behaviors that he is seeing (from the kid who dragged the chair)? I would try to have a private conversation w/ him saying that you know he can do better and can be a role model. Tell him that if he does better today, you will call home and let his mom know.

    I don't have experience with younger kids but I'm not sure if being punitive (especially so early in the year) is the best way to go. Eventually, kids will stop caring about losing recess, etc. and it won't be effective. In addition, you will probably find it difficult to manage the kids during a worksheet if there are some kids who don't know how to do it. I would actually start over and reteach your procedures and expectations. This would mean procedures like how to come to the carpet, how to sit during read aloud??, etc. I'm sure primary teachers would have a better idea. But I would model it yourself, and have kids practice the procedure in small groups. Maybe they can work towards an incentive (extra recess?) for correctly demonstrating the procedures.

    I would also teach an attention signal and stick to it. Tell the kids exactly what you expect and have them practice it. Then you can preview the attention signal any time before you need to use it.
     
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2019
  4. vickilyn

    vickilyn Magnifico

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    Aug 27, 2019

    The first thing that went though my head when I read the OP is that all IPads not in appropriate use should be under lock and key. They are expensive, for sure, but by not having them secured, the power play, which the student won, takes place and creates a crisis for the teacher. I would, for sure, be looking to see past records and check for IEP's and past write ups. If this child hasn't been evaluated by the CST, I would be asking them for suggestions, and see what needs to happen for them to become involved. That's not a quick fix, but it does set the wheels in motion for long term relief, maybe in the form of an aide or para.
     
  5. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

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    Aug 27, 2019

    ^^ This.

    *Do not* chase him out of your room. Stick your head out the door for a second and direct him to come in, sure. But leaving your other 25ish students unattended to attend to 1 is a liability. As soon as the student leaves the room, call the office, counselor, or administration and report it. Make sure you document each and every time it happens.
     
  6. Samy

    Samy Rookie

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    Aug 27, 2019

    Thanks everyone for your thoughts and advice. I didn’t leave my other students unattended. Our team is set up in a pod area. I don’t chase him into the main hallway. I chase him into the pod area. Every time he leaves the room, he flickers the lights on and off so whether I want to or not, I have to go outside my room into the pod area. My lights are outside in the pod area, not in my room like they should be. So if I want my lights back on that he turns off, I have to go out there.

    As far as I know, he’s not on an IEP. But the special ed teacher sent me a long behavior plan that included everything he did last year. How he destroyed his first grade teacher’s room, threw desks, tables, squirted hand sanitizer everywhere, destroyed her bulletin boards. But yet they didn’t expel him. This is second grade but he was held back in kindergarten so he’s really a third grader.

    I always leave the iPads locked when the students aren’t using them, but it was indoor recess and they were using them. So that’s why the cabinet was unlocked. As far as each iPad being locked, the school doesn’t have that. It’s only the cabinet that is locked.
     
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  7. Samy

    Samy Rookie

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    Aug 28, 2019

    Sometimes he’ll leave the room and flicker the lights and be back in a minute later, and leave for 2 more minutes and come back in. This kind of stuff. Am I supposed to keep calling the office and saying “He left...oh wait he’s back?” I don’t know what to do because he’s being ridiculous and won’t just behave! I’ve never had a student just run out of the room before.
     
  8. Samy

    Samy Rookie

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    But the students are causing me so much stress that during my lunch one day, I just sat and cried. I’ve always had good classroom management but not here because the kids are unruly and don’t listen to authority because they don’t have discipline at home. Other teachers are talking about how they’re having a hard time too. I hear teachers yelling frequently. One morning, we could hear the first grade teachers way down the hall in their pod yell at the students all morning long. And I can’t quit because all the districts with involved parents require years of experience. So I basically just have to suck it up and serve my prison sentence for a year and then get out.

    But the kids aren’t going to learn much. I’m eager to teach them. Some of them really want to learn. But I can’t teach when I’m having to constantly deal with students running in and out of my room and when they’re all talking and being unruly during a lesson. Not much gets accomplished.
     
  9. Samy

    Samy Rookie

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    I also have a student who told me he acted out last year, but so far (except for today) he’s been wonderful! My best student. But today he ran out of specials and ran back to the classroom (apparently kicked someone but I don’t know the entire story). Prior to specials, he was banging on the wall when they were lined up (I was busy talking to a student) to where the teacher next door had to say something to them. When he ran back to the classroom from specials (during my prep time which I NEVER get) we talked and I think he’s okay now. But there’s that fear that he could start acting just like he did last year. And I have so many that are acting out that if he starts acting out too (after he’s been wonderful for a month now) I’ll just have them write sight words and spelling words all day every day. I’ll be so done and so angry. He started crying and said how he deserves to be at -100 points for what he did today. And that he’s been great in here but today he turned into his old self. I hope talking about it helped and that he’s okay now, but right now I’m extremely worried he’s going to start acting like he did last year. I’m so upset about their behavior from the past two days that I don’t even want any of them near me. They can sit and write their sight words and spelling words all day tomorrow and not talk to me. I’m a pretty patient person, but this is how fed up I am and how out of control they are.
     
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  10. vickilyn

    vickilyn Magnifico

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    Aug 28, 2019

    Without any additional identifying info, what state are you in? Kind of curiosity, but also some states have been mentioned over the years notable for not the best teacher support, as well as no ESL support.
     
  11. RainStorm

    RainStorm Phenom

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    Aug 28, 2019

    Samy,
    It is always a difficult situation when a student acts out like this. Here are a couple of observations. Do not go out into the pod to get him. He is attention seeking -- and you are feeding right into it. You are giving him exactly what he wants -- attention and all the power.

    If he flicks the lights, so what? Keep teaching. Ignore it!

    If he turns out the lights, so what? Keep teaching! Ignore it! Can't see the books to read? Teach orally. Or get a bag of mini flash lights and let your children enjoy a Flashlight Friday, even if it isn't Friday. Keep going no matter what, as if it doesn't bother you at all.

    And the second he leaves your room/pod call admin and tell them. If he leaves 15 times a day, call admin 15 times! It is a dangerous situation for a child to be out of your sight. You MUST do this for the safety of this child. There is no question -- his safety comes first! Remember, he has already demonstrated that he uses poor judgement. You must call admin.

    And you never leave your room/pod to go after a straying child! Never! First, it is a safety issue. You are setting yourself up for a huge liability issue. Second, you are feeding into his attention seeking and giving him all the power, which leads him to escalate even more.

    You are setting up a power struggle, and I hate to tell you this, but it is a power struggle you will never win (as the first grade teacher can probably attest to.)

    Document everything in writing! Every single day, even if it means you have to stay late to do it. Only write facts, and actual observations. No opinions or conclusions. No emotions or concerns. Just the facts. Just the actual facts in a neutral voice. This child needs HELP! Be his hero and make somebody help him! He needs more than a classroom teacher who has the responsibility for 20 other students, can ever give.

    Ask for a student service study (sometimes called a behavior or special ed study, depending on where you are.) Put it in writing. Keep asking. Be the squeaky wheel. Keep following up. Keep documenting.

    If you don't, they will allow him to destroy your room this year! Because you see, right now it is YOUR problem. It doesn't bother admin at all, because they aren't having to deal with it multiple times a day! Make it THEIR problem, and you'll be surprised how quickly it gets resolved.

    If admin tries to turn it around and say it is your fault, turn it right back and say "I need to watch an expert deal with this appropriately, since obviously I'm not doing it correctly. When can someone come in and demonstrate how to do this correctly so I can watch and learn?" Put it right back on them.

    One last thing I want to say, and I say it with the best of intentions. Please, don't give school work as a punishment! Writing spelling words as a punishment? Do you really want your student to associate spelling with "bad" behavior? Spelling is to learn to spell, not to be punished for bad behavior. And please, don't dole out whole--class punishments when it isn't every one who is misbehaving. This only works when peer-pressure can solve the problem -- and peer pressure can't solve this one. This boy wants to be the center of attention. Having his peers all glaring at him because he is getting them in trouble AGAIN is exactly the attention he is seeking. Your whole class punishment is making the situation worse.

    Only take recess away as a response to poor choices or unsafe behavior ON the playground. In many states, it is actually illegal to take a child's recess for any other reason. (Not all, but many.) But as a general practice, it just doesn't work. As you have already observed, they just say "I don't care!" after a while. And the children who misbehave the most, usually are the ones who need recess the most! If you take it away, you are only punishing yourself (or who ever is their teacher after recess.)

    I'd suggest the following:
    --Go to your admin and tell them that his leaving the pod is a safety issue and you need a protocol to follow each and every time it happens until the behavior is extinguished. Then follow up in a written email, saying you want to make sure you understand exactly what admin wants you to do each and every time this child elopes. Make them put it in writing, or at least have your emails for when something awful happens because of this situation. It will prove you tried to do the appropriate thing and that your admin was unresponsive.

    I have been though this many times, and I've learned from those experiences. I know it is difficult. I know it is trying. Remember, you are in control! Don't raise your voice. Don't get overly stern. Don't be baited into leaving the classroom, or to reacting to his attention seeking. Just be "matter of fact" and keep going.
     
  12. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    Yes!! I would call the office EVERY time he leaves your room and document. Attempt to get him back before you do but I would make the call. If something happened to him outside, you might be responsible if you don't.

    I would also email and ask admin about a plan for what to do if he leaves.
     
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2019
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  13. ChildWhisperer

    ChildWhisperer Groupie

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    Aug 28, 2019

    This is honestly great advice!

    Our district has many behavior problems. At our school anyway, if a child is disrupting the class or running out of the room, the office is called. Every time. They have a separate classroom the students will go to if they can't behave in their own classroom. Sometimes it's for as little as half an hour, sometimes, it's for a few days. It's a punishment and the kids hate going. They still do work in there (teachers give them up to date work to keep on file).
     
  14. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    With the huge amount of advice you got, this item is the #1 most important one.
     
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  15. Tired Teacher

    Tired Teacher Cohort

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    I truly feel for you. I had him last year or his twin. I taught for many years and never had runners before the last 5 yrs.
    Rule 1 as mentioned above, never chase them. Call the office.
    Try not to react. Even when you feel really irked inside, look away or step over him without looking. Mine threw himself on the floor a lot too.. :) . Don't make contact and keep your voice calm to the kids.
    1 thing I learned fast last yr w/ the twin...was to switch into fun mode the second the runner/lights off boy flipped out. I'd tell everyone else I had a really fun ___ ( book, game, music video, computer game, or PE idea) It took the attention off of the commotion and onto something fun..
    I kept fun activities stashed for these moments. We'd get into something fun and he'd eventually end up back in the room. I made sure he always got to see the tail end of what he missed.
    The kid was labeled with a disorder, but he really had just never faced any consequences for his bad behavior. About 1/4 of the way through the yr, he realized he was missing too many fun things. I wasn't going to be able to teach normally with him flipping out, so at least I kept happier.
    If he picks up a chair calmly tell your class to line up for something you want to surprise them with....and get out. Go have an extra recess or gym until he is removed. Call the office. They need to deal with that level of crazy. It is above your paygrade.
    Try to win some of the kids over. I never liked everyone gets punished for the bad behavior of others. I would not like it if that was done to me. I know decent kids will give up...just like adults if it is a no win situation.
    I laughed a little about your tug of war for the ipad because I remembered doing that 1x with a ruler. I knew better, but let myself get into a power struggle w/ a 6th grader.. You seldom can win a power struggle w/ a kid because you are not allowed to give strong consequences anymore. I ended up "winning"...lol and got the ruler back finally.
    I wish you the best of luck. I am sorry you ended up w/ such tough kids.
     
  16. Tyler B.

    Tyler B. Groupie

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    Sep 5, 2019

    During my first year of teaching, I had a first grader like this. What transformed my ability to successfully deal with the situation was my principal had me observe the PE and music classes to see how they handled the student. And once he came in and taught a brief lesson. I learn SO much from watching him. I changed what I was doing and had nearly no problems the rest of the year.
     
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  17. wendy 31

    wendy 31 Rookie

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    Sep 14, 2019

    I have a few students with similar behaviors due to PTSD, autism, or mood disorders.

    This would not help all behaviors you are seeing, but may help head off some behaviors. I have a cool down chair in my room. Two of my students I loosely treat as if they had oppositional defiance disorder. They tend to be frustrated when a task is too hard or at the moment a task is given they are over stimulated. (Sometimes, they haven't listened to instructions and think the task is really bigger than it is. After clarifications, they get to work.) The student can choose to do the work now or later during recess. Sometimes they do it and other times they choose to do it later. It hangs on the whiteboard or is taped to their desk. Most of the time when they choose later, they actually start it just a few minutes later because they don't want to lose recess and it was all about not giving in. I have a cool down chair in the back of they room. If they feel like they need a few minutes they can sit at the cool down chair. The only item they are allowed to have is a stress ball. Sometimes they just need some time to make the decision to follow directions or just have a moment to breath. There is a poster close to the chair for them that gives them some de-stressing options. A picture of Antarctica is posted close for a cooling visual affect. There is a five minute timer. If they need more time, I add two-three minute increments until they've been there ten minutes at the most.

    I notice the poor choices are during or after transitions or recess. If they come in visibly upset I offer the choice of the cool down chair immediatley.

    The chairs are not for them exclusively. Some times students with good behaviors need a break from the bad behavior of a few. :)
     
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  18. Tired Teacher

    Tired Teacher Cohort

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    Sep 14, 2019

    Laughing! I used my own "cool down chair" for myself last year. :) Some really knew how to push buttons.
     

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