Rude Students--how should I deal with them?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Kenz501, Dec 2, 2016.

  1. Kenz501

    Kenz501 Cohort

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    Dec 2, 2016

    I work at a detention center, and occasionally I get kids who just want to make me, and sometimes their classmates, their entertainment. They usually target my appearance and their classmates' intelligence. (I'm a little overweight, don't have the best fashion sense, have a hormone imbalance that causes facial hair, and could use a little makeup, but I still think the kids should be nice). I think it's probably at least partially related to not wanting to be at the facility; they're taking out their frustrations on me and their peers because they don't like the environment. It's not acceptable, though. I was told by the other teachers to put a stop to it immediately; write them up and send them out of the classroom. The problem, I guess, though, is that it perhaps happens to me a bit more often than everyone else, because the students know I will tolerate it, to a point. Besides writing them up and putting them out immediately, what else should I do?

    This happened to me often as a substitute teacher, too, but I just took it. I was berated for having "poor classroom management" as a sub, but no one ever really shared with me what to do, so I really didn't believe it was my fault. Had someone told me to "send them out immediately or call for backup from the principal," maybe I would have done a better job, but I was really naive and thought the reason the kids were acting out was because they didn't like my lessons.
     
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  3. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    I worked at a detention center for 2 years.

    Put an end to it, now. Give the kid one warning, and then send him out. I doubt you will have many more to follow.
    Also find out what happens if a kid is sent out of the classroom.
    I sub at the detention center here during every summer. If a kid is sent out, nothing actually happens to him, unless it happens a lot, or if it's something serious.
    In San Diego, after being sent out, sometimes their status would change and they would lose 3 days, meaning 3 days would be added to their sentence, which is a big deal.

    The kids at this environment have a different state of mind, they try to have that "institutionalized" mindset, that they're still too young and inexperienced to have, but they are on their way. They will manipulate and use anyone they can, just so they can. They will steal a marker or pencil, just so they can say they did it. They will smell your weakness, niceness or fear and will use it.
    Put your foot down, and you will have a lot more respect within a week. Expect some pushback, in that case, kick out anyone who is disrespectful.
     
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  4. Kenz501

    Kenz501 Cohort

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    I think I'm going to try that, but I was afraid to at first, because the kids threatened to write complaints on me, and my supervisor acted like those were a big deal, even though the other teachers brushed it off and said that it really wasn't a big deal, as long as I keep proper documentation. I think that's what I've been missing; I haven't been carefully documenting these incidents, and then it's just their word against mine.
     
  5. Tyler B.

    Tyler B. Groupie

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    First off. Never argue with a student. Here's a blog entry I found that I share with my student teachers that tells you some tricks that work.
     
  6. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    A student can complain about you all he wants if there is nothing to complain about.
    Make sure about the following:
    - have a system and be consistent with it. For example you give 2 warnings and then you send them out (3 strikes you're out), or something more strict
    - follow it consistently
    - what do you have for more severe behaviors? For example sexual harassment, cussing you out, threatening you or another student, gang related activity that could escalate to a fight - send them out right away.
    - being consistent means you're not singling out anyone, so they can't cry racism. A lot of African American students will play the race card, they claim that you're racist ("is it because I'm black?") and then they watch your reaction. If you are the slightest defensive, they know they can use it against you.
    - I'm sure you already know this, but don't touch them, don't give them personal information, don't do special favors for them, don't talk bad to them, don't yell, be strict, professional and always calm, and there is nothing they could ever complain about.
     
  7. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Read up on PRIA (I think that's the abbreviation, Prison Rape ...(something) Act.) It is very inclusive of all behaviors that are not ok for authority figures in lock ups, obviously not just rape, but small things, too and they take everything seriously.
    I don't think you have anything to worry about, you just have some smart mouth kids trying to misbehave and scare you into not disciplining them. Handle it :) Everything will get easier.
     
  8. Kenz501

    Kenz501 Cohort

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    Yes, PREA--the Prison Rape Elimination Act. The students get a PREA orientation when they first come in. My supervisor made it sound like the complaints were a big deal because the state department just counts the numbers, not whether they're legitimate or not. Hopefully he was mistaken.

     
  9. otterpop

    otterpop Phenom

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    Do you have another adult in the room with you? Hopefully this is already systematically in place for you, but try not to be alone in a room with a kid. If everything is public or witnessed by another person, then it's much harder for anyone to claim you did something that you did not do.
     
  10. Kenz501

    Kenz501 Cohort

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    There's another adult in the room with me, but it's usually a detention officer. I don't really know what's going on, but they don't always support the teachers' decisions.
     
  11. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Sorry, it's not obvious, are you male or female? Unfortunately that often makes a big difference with the officers.
     
  12. Kenz501

    Kenz501 Cohort

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    I'm female but an odd overweight one...
     
  13. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    There are some male officers out there who have no respect for females, and are difficult to work with. Overweight or not, young or old, it doesn't matter.
    In San Diego, during the 2 years or so, I didn't have problems with most of them. They saw that I could hold my own and handle the kids pretty well, as a sub, and when they saw me there all the time (9 months LTS) then they had even more respect. But there were a few who were just disrespectful, and honestly, the only thing I could do is to stand up for myself and not let them disrespect me. In front of the kids, if I had to. After that, they backed down.

    Here where I am, starting in summer 2013 I've been subbing about 2 weeks, days here and there during the summer. It wasn't until the summer of 2015 that I didn't have any problems with anyone, and this past year I finally felt a friendly atmosphere. In the beginning some male officers were rude, a sergeant tried to intimidate me and talk down to me. I was already friends with the teaching staff since we work for the same district, and they said that some officers don't like subs, but they told them I'm a teacher so back off lol. Still this sergeant got on my nerves, but it wasn't until the following summer that I felt confident enough to nonverbally let him know that I'm not some stupid kid he's talking to.
    I was told that some male officers don't like female teachers / subs, because they think they're a liability, they have to be more on alert and watch them, because there could be more problems (kids being more disrespectful, trying to grab them, make sexual remarks, etc). All of this is stupid in my mind, you can either handle the kids or not, male or female, it doesn't matter.

    It seems the same with officers and students, you have to let them know that you're the boss and stand up for yourself and then they will respect you. You don't work for the officers, you are the authority in the classroom, they're attention is really on the kids outside of the classroom. They're there to support you, but at the same time if you do something really wrong, they have to authority to override you, since kids are in their custody.
     
  14. Kenz501

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    Some of the male AND female officers are extremely lenient with the kids; it makes reinforcing the rules a little difficult. I mean, imagine how difficult it would be if you were to enact a perfectly logical consequence for a child being rude to you or his or her classmates, and the detention officer escorts the child out of the classroom with a smile on his/her face laughing it off. What kind of message does that send to the kids? The other teachers have definitely experienced this.
     
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2016
  15. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    I would bring these concerns to the principal. The p works with teachers and probation, and it's their job to ensure that the two departments work together, not against each other.
     
  16. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    Exactly!
     
  17. Kenz501

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    Here's more information. This kid is the only person in my classroom currently. I found out she has ADHD. I've gone really easy on her because she is currently the only kid in the classroom, and she has some sort of "problem" the detention officers won't share with me. I was told to ignore her rude behaviors, but the other teachers have told me not to tolerate it.
     
  18. otterpop

    otterpop Phenom

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    On a positive note, this could give you some great 1-on-1 time to build a relationship and be proactive at preventing future issues.
     
  19. Kenz501

    Kenz501 Cohort

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    Maybe, but this kid has been a little rude to me and done things that I really don't enjoy having done. She's walked up to me, announced she was going to pass gas, did it right by me, and asked me I could smell it. She also tried to blame it on me! She called me odd names, like "(poop) head (she used another word)" and "butt *****." She also asked me somewhat embarrassing personal questions and loudly accused me of embarrassing things. I tried to ignore it or laugh it off and calmly correct her, but there were times I felt like she was just doing it on purpose to get a reaction from me.
     
  20. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    How is it that you have a class with only one student? Is that the norm or the exception where you are?
     
  21. Kenz501

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    I normally deal with really small classes, about 3-5 students, and the turnover rate is pretty high; I usually keep kids for only a week or two before they are shipped somewhere else. There are even occasions where I have no students at all. The department I work in is crisis management. The last teacher who worked there had a degree in Sped and years of experience. Some of the kids are dealing with issues, family drug abuse, rape, truancy, and waiting to be placed in other living situations.
     
  22. Kenz501

    Kenz501 Cohort

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    I know that I'm too nice. I like for the kids to say that I'm the teacher they like. I like to avoid complaints, confrontation, and having to defend myself. I also genuinely like to see the kids enjoying themselves, sometimes even if it's at my expense. I know I should take a little more authority, but I came in really authoritarian at the beginning, and it just didn't work.
     
  23. WarriorPrncss

    WarriorPrncss Companion

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    Dec 14, 2016

    I worked in a Detention Center for 3 years-- as an Officer. Our facility had cameras EVERYWHERE-- even classrooms. I worked Control, so I'd listen in to classrooms often and one thing that really was a make or break for teachers was behavior management and consistency. These kids make fun and (I'm sorry) are jerks because they can be-- and if you let them get away with some-- they'll push and push until you can't push back the other way. They do it to make their buddies laugh and to work their way up the totem pole. Be FIRM and CONSISTENT ALL THE TIME. If one kid stares in, stop-- redirect-- give ONE warning, with your consequence stated and the second it happens again-- follow through--- make an example of him. (This is much easier out of a facility setting, but consistency is key.) Make sure you lay out ground rules so they know what to expect.


    As far as the 1-on-1 girl you are talking about--- why is she in a position to be walking up and asking questions? If it's 1-on-1 instruction, sit her down and focus her on work. Keep her busy and do not give her a moment to ask stupid or personal questions-- and if she does-- you tell her it's inappropriate and that she needs to be respectful and that she needs to get back to work--- AND that you'll only be answering questions about the classwork. And YES, she's doing it to get a rise out of you-- she's a criminal, likely a gang member--- 95% of the girls are, and just like the boys they get their kicks by pushing around anyone that will let them.

    Teaching in a facility is much different than "normal" school. These kids need much more strict structure and behavior management.

    As for the officers--- they'll respect you much more and won't undermine your authority if they see you being strict and not a push over.
     
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  24. WarriorPrncss

    WarriorPrncss Companion

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    This is your problem--- you are the teacher, first and foremost. You are NOT there to be their friend or favorite and this is especially important in a facility setting. In being strict and firm-- they'll end up respecting you, which means they like you and at first they resist like he**. I'm not sure why in the world you'd be okay with students enjoying themselves at your expense-- that is NOT okay-- for you or for them. They learn that being rude and disrespectful is okay--- and what do you get out of it? You're letting a criminal belittle you and laugh at your expense. (Yes, criminal, because 95%+ of the kids that are locked up are there because they broke the law--- rape, murder, theft... very few are there because their only crime was missing too many court appts.)

    If you came in "really authoritarian" at the beginning and it didn't work it's because A) you really weren't, or B) You didn't stick to your guns for long enough to set a routine.

    I hate confrontation-- you can avoid that but having a set of rules and consequences-- have a reason for everything you do. These kids are going to complain, they might threaten to file a complaint, but the truth is that by the time they've left the classroom they've likely forgotten and even IF they write a grievance, unless it's a major thing and there is really a big issue-- they Supervisors really won't even look at it.

    I don't mean to be negative, but you have to follow through or they will, eventually, break you down-- I've seen it happen.
     
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  25. Kenz501

    Kenz501 Cohort

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    Dec 15, 2016


    Unfortunately, my supervisor has looked at every complaint the kids have filed on me since I've been working there. Many were exaggerations, and a few were just downright lies. He warned me about getting them, though. I think he said something about the state department only looking at the number of complaints filed, whether or not they are legitimate. He actually told me that "making too many mistakes" might lead to me getting fired. He recommended I be nicer to them, ignore their rude comments, and appeal to them with candy or other rewards--unless I totally misunderstood him. Later, we were told not to give the kids any snacks, so I started showing movies and giving them pictures to color. I've learned to tolerate a lot, but I'm not trying to let them get away with anything. I just, apparently, was too harsh on them in the beginning, prompting them to write complaints about me. It's gotten better since then. I don't get the amount of complaints I once got, but I do sometimes let the kids get away with more than I should as the trade-off. I think I will gradually try to take more authority in my classroom so that the kids don't walk on me.
     
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2016

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