Student(s) coughing on purpose

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Anonymous000, Dec 6, 2016.

  1. Anonymous000

    Anonymous000 New Member

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    Dec 6, 2016

    My 6th grade class this year has been the most immature in all my years of teaching. One ringleader frequently coughs and is clearly fake in an effort to disrupt the lesson. The student does not cough at all in other classes. I don't know what to do as the student can just say it's a right to cough. I'm so frustrated and I didn't want to do a one-on-one yet because I'm afraid of blowing up. What would you do?
     
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  3. MathGuy82

    MathGuy82 Companion

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    Dec 6, 2016

    I had something very similar about two years ago!! I had a student that "cleared their throat" every time I started lecturing. I would ask the student, "are you feeling okay"? Do you need to go down to the office?" I would say it in a serious manner to let them know I knew something was up. After a few times that stopped for the most part. If I remember correctly after a few times the student tried to pull it again. I became silent from my lecture for about 30 seconds, looked at the student, until the student stopped to make them know I knew they were trying to cause trouble. But I was in the same position as you, I didn't do a one on one because I was afraid I would say something I shouldn't.
     
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  4. Loomistrout

    Loomistrout Devotee

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    Dec 6, 2016

    Don't worry about what the student might say. You are not stupid. He does not have a leg to stand on and he knows it. Consider: Letter On the Desk

    In advance prepare a form letter on school stationary. It should say the following (or similar):

    Date ______ (leave blanks for names, problem etc. - hand write these in)

    Dear _________ (parent name),

    Today I'm having a problem with _________ (student's name). The problem is _________ (be specific and name only one). I will be calling you in next couple days to schedule a conference to discuss this problem. I know together we can help ______ (student's name again) eliminate this problem.

    Regards,


    Teacher


    Before class or in a private moment show the letter to the student (filled in of course). Have a school envelope ready too with parent(s) names and some tape. Say, "Name, this letter explains what I've had to put up with. It may be going home to your parent. However, if there is no more coughing you may at the end of day and in front of me tear this letter up and throw it away. If there is one cough this letter will be going home even if I have to hand deliver it." Slowly put the letter in the envelope and (critical) tape it to the student's desk (a visual reminder).
     
  5. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Dec 7, 2016

    I would not do that with that letter. There's a 50 % chance the kid has a parent at home who will not make a big deal out of it 9they certainly won't be as annoyed as you are, so to them it will be a small problem) and then you're basically left with this threat, that means nothing.

    I know 6th grade is much younger than high school, so they're more immature, but if a 9th grader did this in my class, I would pull him aside, let him know that I know he's doing this on purpose, because one, I talked to his other teachers and magically he's not coughing there, and two, I'm not stupid, and it's obvious that he's doing this on purpose. Then I would add that he is being disrespectful when he's trying to interrupt my teaching / talking with his fake coughing, and he is disrupting the class and stopping others from learning. I would let him know that any further coughing will be dealt with the same way as if he was talking or making other noises, and the normal consequences would apply.
     
  6. Loomistrout

    Loomistrout Devotee

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    Dec 8, 2016

    There's always a chance any intervention won't work. In the case of the letter it's something to "consider". Looking at ranking of possible discipline techniques it is semi-private or something one might choose to use before upping the ante to more severe sanctions like involving the office. If talking to the student works by all means use it.

    It would seem that way but grade level is more an estimate of where we would like to think students have arrived on the maturity ladder. I'm sure many teachers can attest to the fact some of their high schools act like babies while I know 6th graders with social skills above that of some staff members.
     
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  7. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Dec 8, 2016

    I just recently called home about a student who kept giggling in class. He wasn't talking or anything to his friends, but he just was looking at them and they would break out into fits of giggling like every 2 minutes. It wasn't even particularly loud or disruptive, but because of his actions, he was not learning, and he was distracting his friends from learning who would see his giggling and giggle too. (Ugh... My middle schoolers were WAY more mature than this batch of high schoolers.) I just gave him consequences, moved his seat, and had him stay after class. It's not about a right to laugh or a right to cough. It's about disrupting the learning of other students.

    I called home, and he must have complained to his parents because they wanted to see me right away, and I could tell they were ready to do battle. I just opened up with "Your son is doing a lot of giggling, and is disrupting the learning of other students in the classroom." When faced with it this way, they had to change their point of view of "There's nothing wrong with laughing, everyone has the right to laugh. This teacher is just picking on my student!" to "This teacher is just trying to do his best to protect the rights of everyone in the classroom to learn. Even though laughing is okay at appropriate times, our son is doing this at inappropriate times and needs to learn to control it."

    Instead of being at odds with me, they saw the problem and effect it was having on the classroom, and I made sure to inform them of it in a non-confrontational way and in a way that made it clear that I cared about the education of their son and others in the class, though I was firm that if it continued, I would have to get an administrator involved because it was harming the learning environment and repeated interventions did not stem the giggling.

    It's often hard to see something as small as giggling or coughing as a serious problem especially when there are other students with so many worse problems like fighting, outright disrespect, etc. but it's your job to guard your students against any obstacle to their learning. I would call home and tell the parent your side of the story: "Your student seems to be coming down with constant fits of coughing in the classroom that I believe are being faked to disrupt classroom learning. I've discussed this with him ___ times, and taken these steps: ______. It's affecting the learning of others and the progression of our lessons. I'm informing you so that you know that this is occurring because I know you'd want to know as a parent. If it continues, the student may have to be sent out of the classroom or an administrator may have to be involved."

    It's very difficult for a parent to argue for a students right to disturb the learning of every other student in the classroom.
     
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  8. 3Sons

    3Sons Enthusiast

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    Dec 8, 2016

    I might reverse that one and two
     
  9. MathGuy82

    MathGuy82 Companion

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    Dec 10, 2016

    I would agree with Loomistrout. There is any chance than any intervention won't work but I think yours Loomistrout would be a good try. Any intervention us as teachers make may or may not work but this would be good. I definitely think it's worth a try. An intervention/warning like this would probably deter the student away because the student may think that the parents may have to come in. That usually means loss of phone and other recreational activities for the student if the parents have to come in.
     
  10. MathGuy82

    MathGuy82 Companion

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    Dec 10, 2016

    I would also agree with Linguist92021. This could be a good intervention too. The student is being disrespectful and a good idea would be to talk to a student one on one. We all have to try to see what's best.
     
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2016

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