Smarty pants help!

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by Bored of Ed, Mar 28, 2012.

  1. Bored of Ed

    Bored of Ed Enthusiast

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    Mar 28, 2012

    How do you respond to kids who are really fresh and think they're cute/smart? I talk adolescents. There's no "rule" they're breaking that I can call them out on but they are a huge, distracting, work-avoiding nuisance. And they have perfected that innocent wise guy look: "Who me? I didn't do anything wrong. You're the one who made the mistake of saying something that could possibly be taken out of context."

    So far what I've tried that hasn't helped: Looking down at them with an expression of "seriously? Come on...," telling them that I fully expect them to use logic and context clues to derive my meaning, things like that. I know, nothing very powerful. I seriously don't know what to do with these guys. There is one main wise guy but he feeds off the snickers and follow up comments from the others.

    This is in the same difficult group I've posted about before but it's a different flavor of problem.
     
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  3. Rox

    Rox Cohort

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    Mar 28, 2012

    What exactly are they doing that they shouldn't be?

    I'd try my best to ignore it, avoid arguing with them, and move on.
     
  4. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Mar 28, 2012

    1. "John!!!! I know what you're doing and cut it out."

    2. "John, I've already warned you. Now please see me after school."

    No arguments, no discussion until after school. Then you tell him that, while you may have been born at night, it wasn't LAST night and you're going to nail him every single time he pulls sneaky wise guy crap.

    And you do it.

    But.... you can't really punish for attitude,at least not in my school. You can punish for a lack of respect, but not for general adolescent snottiness.
     
  5. Bored of Ed

    Bored of Ed Enthusiast

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    It's silly things like trying to find smart-a$$ ways to wiggle out of assignments. They know (or ought to by now) that they won't get out of anything but they still get a great deal of enjoyment out of the attempt.

    For example, yesterday one kid was begging nonstop to go to the nurse for a tiny little barely-there scratch. It was a very simple power struggle kind of thing. He hadn't been doing his work or participating in the lesson, so I did not allow him to be excused. I assured him that his skin would heal itself momentarily and if he felt a need to wash it he could do so after class. Still, EVERY TEN SECONDS or so he kept piping up again with "can I go now? Can I go now?" and the like, and obviously was not tuned into the math lesson at all. Finally after concluding a part of the lesson and asking for a student to demonstrate a problem, he raised his hand again and I called on him and said "Can you solve this?" and he said yes. So I held out my marker to him and said here, go ahead. Knowing perfectly well what he was doing, he bolted for the door and when shouted for him to stop, put on that obnoxious face and said "You just said go ahead. So I'm going." Note: this is NOT a student with asperger's or language problems. He was very aware of what I meant and very intentionally fresh.
     
  6. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    He left your class knowing full well that you hadn't given him permission. I would consider it a cut.

    That said, I would have let him go to the nurse... knowing that he would have to make up the lesson, one on one with me, after school.
     
  7. Bored of Ed

    Bored of Ed Enthusiast

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    He didn't actually leave (he probably would have if I hadn't stopped him, but then he could have said "well, why didn't you say something?") he only went towards the door with the intention of making a scene.

    The make up lessons never happen. I have stopped trying to offer that as a consequence until such time that the school starts enforcing it. The kids never show up for their detentions and there's nothing we can do about it. It's a shame because it's the most logical consequence I can think of for wasting learning time. And I could even bill for the overtime so I'm not too concerned about wasting my own time.
     
  8. stargirl

    stargirl Comrade

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    Mar 28, 2012

    Is there a way you could have students serve their "detentions" during recess or even lunchtime?
     
  9. Bored of Ed

    Bored of Ed Enthusiast

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    Unfortunately I have no way to enforce these things. I wish I did. I have so little control because there's no backup. I'm working on trying to get some things tightened up around the school, but meanwhile I'm a lone warrior, the best I can do for motivation is things like showing a video clip at the end of class if everyone does their work (I could send out one kid for the video if he didn't work, but usually it doesn't work like that - usually the loafing is a group project) I have a sticker chart for prizes but that's very limited, 12-year-olds enjoy getting prizes when they do come but don't care ENOUGH about the trinkets to actually change their behavior for them. And other positive reinforcement programs going on here and there. But there is almost no negative consequence I can hand down that would be meaningful. I can try calling home sometimes but it doesn't have such a dramatic effect and I save it for the really big deals, like when one kid was acting bullyish to another I asked the parents to get involved.
     
  10. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    Mar 28, 2012

    Wow, you must be pretty tired by the end of the day.

    Some ideas.

    1. Don't join in at all when they complain or talk back...verbally--ignore it. Complaints and attitude will get really boring if they have no audience.

    2. Personally, I tell the students "see me after class". I then tell them exactly what they are doing that must be stopped. I tell them if it doesn't stop, I will call home..even better see #3

    3. I am sure you have templates/forms to send home with a child when he/she misbehaves. If the child does this you calmly tape the form by wear he is sitting and talk to him/her one on one. Tell him that is a note that you will be filling out about the problems today. However, if he/she is a perfect angel the rest of the day he/she can throw it away. This works amazingly well to get a child to see you are serious and they will stop.

    4. These are adolescents. They will continue to test you as far as you let them. I would not save calls home until something major. You need to get some parents on your side. They want their children to learn not disrespect you. There might be an exception, but most want their child to learn.

    The kids never show up for their detentions and there's nothing we can do about it.

    There is plenty you can do about it. You can have them miss out on a fun activity, set up your own detention or change detention to a recess or lunch. You can also call home if a child misses a detention. Find out what other teachers do in your school to deal with misbehavior. You must be incredibly creative to get this far with so few consequences. Without enforcing consequences...the children will be in complete control as they outnumber you.
     
  11. Bored of Ed

    Bored of Ed Enthusiast

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    Yeah, tell me about it. It's a real problem in the school and they're in the process of working on a total makeover but it's not going to happen overnight.

    1. They have an audience - each other. And when I ignore it, they automatically win. I have tried ignoring but their patience for being ignored is endless. They consider it as "getting away with it."

    2. And what happens if they don't see you after class? Same consequence problem. I do use that line as a response to off-topic questions. "We can talk about it after class." Of course they never do but sometimes it helps make them stop asking. Until they come up with the next thing.

    3. Good idea, I will try that.

    4. The parents aren't that effective, though. If I call them every day, they'll just start calling the principal and asking what's wrong with this teacher.

    There is really nothing I can do if students don't comply. I have them for 40 minutes a day, I do try to make time for some fun activities but I don't have anything major like a trip to hold over their heads. I have no authority over recess or lunch, when I've tried to demand that they make up the lesson during recess or something I had no backup to enforce it. If I tell the kid he has to stay with me and do work, and instead he runs off to the yard, what can I do? I can't physically haul him back. All I can do is assign escalating amounts of detentions or recesses that they know will never be enforced. I'm not in charge during recess or lunch times and I don't have the authority to hold them back after dismissal. So yeah, I'm pretty stuck. I've learned not to be too hard on myself and just accept for now that I won't be the most effective teacher until the school gets their act together. I pat myself on the back when I get anything across at all. The positive techniques do work some of the time. And thank God only one of my classes is like this (1 period every day, 2 periods 2 days a week), the rest of my kids are just easier to motivate and not as devoted to noncompliance. Besides this group, the worst I have is whiners and latecomers. I can deal with that without calling in the reserves.
     
  12. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    I teach first graders, so I'm not sure if this applies, but I pick up the phone! Most of the time, I even let little Mr/Miss X explain to mom/dad/grandma exactly why they are being called from their teacher's cell. Usually mom/dad/grandma thanks me for the call afterward! Of course, there are those for whom this still doesn't work... Sometimes stopping class and giving them "the look" will nip it in the bud... sometimes I look at him/her and say "Really?" or "Seriously?" which often stops the behavior so we can resume our lesson.
     
  13. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    Actually, I just thought of this - I have about 4 kids (boys) who think it's so much fun to get up and clown/dance every time I turn my back. I just ordered & received two webcams. Since I have 2 teacher computers - one at the front & one at the back of the room, I plan to set them up and record (yes, I have photo/video releases on all students!). That way, if mom/dad/grandma ever does appear for a conference (very few actually do), I can show them what their little darling is doing~
     
  14. PenguinPie

    PenguinPie Rookie

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    Mar 30, 2012

    There is no use in trying to win them over or "teach them a lesson" with their attitudes. Respond positively to positive behavior. The "look" often works for negative behavior. You can always enlist parents' help, but they are more likely to help if the behavior hasn't been going on for too long.
     
  15. Croissant

    Croissant Comrade

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    Mar 31, 2012

    Bored,

    I have no advice, but I just wanted you to know you're not alone. I feel like I could have written your post! All positive reinforcement but no consequences and no power for the teachers. On more than one occasion I have caught myself in the mentality of "teach to the ones who care, and too bad for the others," which I know is not the way to handle it.
     
  16. Samenames

    Samenames New Member

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    Apr 3, 2012

    Start making tallies on the board without telling them why. If John asks to go to the nurse and you've assessed his injury and determined it's not nurse-worthy, then I would say, "This does not look serious enough to warrant a visit to the nurse. If, at the end of class, you have completed all your work and been respectful, and you still feel like you should have this checked out, I will let you go a few minutes early to see her."

    If he continues to pester, start tallying on the board. Make no comments about it. He'll figure it out and then he'll either stop or do it a lot more to see how many tallies you'll do. I suggest to just let him. Then, at the end of class, release everyone else except him. Then say something like this, "John, I tallied every time you interrupted the lesson. You interrupted our learning 27 times today. I understand you got an answer from me that you didn't like about seeing the nurse. However, it is not okay to interrupt class to discuss it. Next time, I'd like you to just say, 'OK, Mr/Ms. ___.' and leave it at that. Now, please turn and watch the second hand of the clock. When exactly 27 seconds have passed, you are free to leave. If this happens again, you'll stay 2 seconds for every tally on the board."

    The consequence is having to stay later than everyone else and get the lecture. However, in total, you've only taken up a minute of his and your time. Staring at the clock for 27 seconds can feel like an eternity for some kids.
     
  17. iteachbx

    iteachbx Enthusiast

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    I feel like *most* students who make comments like that are looking for any response from a teacher or another student. My first step would be as the teacher to completely ignore it. If it continued my next step would be to afterwards, in private, reprimand the student. Finally, I would begin to reprimand the students that are giving this student attention. It might seem unfair, but if the student is seeking attention its the best way to really stop them. You don't need to give the child a consequence just say, "Bobby we need to focus on people who are doing the right thing." Or "If someone is doing something inappropriate we need to ignore that." Eventually the students will see that you're not going to pay attention to it and they shouldn't either. I've had a kid in my class flipping tables over and the other kids literally didn't look up from their books they had become some accustomed to ignoring his behavior and doing what they needed to do. In most situations when the kids sees his comments aren't getting him the attention he wants, he'll start to do the right thing in order to get positive attention.
     
  18. juli233

    juli233 Companion

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    Apr 3, 2012

    chocolate bars? I remember one class I was in seventh grade I think? The teacher threw you mini chocolate bars when you participated. I still remember it today.
    This is a tough one at 12 yrs old. For me in grade one we have one kid who thinks he's god's gift to humanity. He always has the opposite opinion of everyone else just to try and be ornery. He constantly makes remarks that he thinks the teacher and I can't hear and then has that smug smile on his face like he got away with something. Some things we have done??
    called him out. right there in the moment in front of the class.
    L You are hear to learn and so are the other kids this is not a place to put on a show, when you act like that it only makes you look silly. Please don't disturb the other kids learning.
    Now of course that is easier to enforce at this age I suppose. We have a make up segment twice a week. The kids who are done get to do centers or computers the others have to stay behind and finish up work.
    Maybe you could have catch up and allow the others to watch the videos while the others catch up on work?
     

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