Student trying to take advantage of my teacherliness?

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by Peregrin5, Sep 26, 2016.

  1. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Sep 26, 2016

    As a teacher, I've always been told to make accommodations and help students learn how they learn best. I believe a few students know teachers are eager to do this to help their students succeed, and try to take advantage of this quality.

    I think I have one such student this year, who I've mentioned in previous threads. The first day, she refused to follow the attention getting procedure saying she learns and listens better when she doodles, and doesn't want to face the front when I call for attention (I ask for eyes on me, pencils down, and conversations ended).

    I had heard of some research that showed that kids sometimes do listen better when they doodle, so I allowed it. That's number 1.

    Number 2, student refused to organize her binder according to the binder organization system my class uses. Said that she has her own system that works for her. I said as long as she doesn't lose papers and can find things in class then I was fine with it.

    Number 3, after misbehaving today, and refusing to get out work we were working on in class, student comes up to me after class and says she thinks all the work I give is "bull" multiple times, and that she won't do it, and that I should make work that she can complete at home because she'd rather do all of the work at home (and I assume sit around wasting time in class instead) because that's how she learns best and she is "taking charge of her learning".

    To this, I outright said no. I told her that I was glad she wanted to take control of her learning, but she was going to have to do it within the framework of the assignments and work I give in class. She often does and says things to try to rile me up, and she has been unsuccessful every time. For instance, I told her it was fine if she thought my assignments were bull, but if she wants a grade, she's going to have to complete the work. However her attacks are unrelenting, and it's starting to wear me out.

    This student is very smart and definitely knows how to game the system. I emailed the counselor, and asked her to have a conversation with her, but I don't have any faith that this will actually take place. Any ideas of how to deal with this student?
     
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  3. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    I would probably disengage and tell her that my plans were already made and that she needed to work on how to adjust her own methods to meet my expectations. Definitely sounds like a manipulator to me.
     
  4. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    I can see 1 and 2 being reasonable. (Not sure about the facing the front because I'm not sure if some of your students sit with their back to the front of the room. I've always thought of it being unreasonable to have a room set up with students with their back to the instruction. )

    3 is unreasonable. Happy you shut her down.
     
  5. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    They're facing each other, and they need to turn their head to the side to look to the front, but they can also just turn their chairs about 45 degrees. And thanks. I thought I was being reasonable, but I was afraid I was just letting her walk all over me.
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2016
  6. linswin23

    linswin23 Cohort

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    Uggghhh. I had a student like this my first year teaching--definitely a manipulator. You did the right things to shut her down. You've done your due diligence by emailing the counselor. Just keep following up. If she doesn't do the work, then girl isn't going to get the grades. Could you email the parents citing her saying she thought the work was "bull"? Maybe that would kick her in the rear?
     
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  7. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Sep 26, 2016

    I think the doodling is ok, as long as the work is done, she's not disturbing others. But the rest is just manipulation. I think with the second one, as soon as you gave in, she saw it as a 'weakness" and now she's trying everything else.
    My high school students sometimes feel the need to criticize and let me know how they don't agree with a certain procedure, or things they have to do. I always, always tell them this, in different ways, depending on what they're whining about:
    - if you don't like me, or my class, that's ok. I just don't want to hear it or see it. One day you're gonna have an awesome job, and you're not gonna like your boss. What are you gonna do? Complain and get fired? quit? or keep your opinion to yourself and do your job and get paid!!
    - you don't have to agree with what I'm asking you to do. One day your boss will ask you to do certain things, and if you want to get paid, you're gonna have to do it their way.
    - you need to learn to be organized, this is a skill you will need when you're out in the real world and will have a job.
    - you need to learn how to follow directions, because one day you will have a job and to get paid, you will need to follow directions.
    - you need to be able to sit quietly for 20 minutes and listen and take notes, etc etc, because one day when you have a job, you will have meetings where you will have to sit quietly and take notes.

    In other words, I always bring it back to how we're trying to get them ready to live and function in society, so they need to practice those skills now.
    It's your classroom, your rule, what you say, goes.- I also tell them that all the time.
     
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  8. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    I think on all 3 counts you handled it very well. I would have done the same.
    I think it is okay for her to make requests. Accommodate when appropriate, and don't when she is asking too much. I think that is exactly what you are doing.

    She sounds like she likes to have her way, and she'll probably be mad when she doesn't get it. So be it...life as an 8th grader.
     
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  9. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Phenom

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    I think it's best that she starts learning to follow teachers' rules now before her parents spend a lot of money on college and she flunks out due to her irrational demands.
     
  10. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Now that I'm cracking down on her, she's just showed outright defiant behavior. I asked her to move seats, she refused. I asked her to stay after class, she just left, in front of everyone. I had to write her a referral, since I have no other way to hold her accountable. I can't force her in at lunch, and apparently parent doesn't ever return calls. I don't think our admin really does anything except woo-woo rah-rah stuff where they just suck up the kid and such because they want "good relationships" with them. I doubt this is going to result in any change in behavior. Worse, her attitude has spread to the rest of the kids. They see her doing whatever she wants and they admire her for it. This is going to be a fun year.
     
  11. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    You put yourself in a power struggle. Calmly let her know if she doesn't work she gets zeros. Don't fight her. Let everyone know in the class that you will collect work at a certain time and it will be graded. Don't make a big deal about it. Don't argue. Just do it. When others feel the sting, they won't be following much longer (hopefully).
     
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  12. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Yes. The power struggle this time wasn't about doing or not doing work though. She was speaking and making noises during instruction during a time I specifically instructed them needed to be quiet. Hence why I asked her to change her seat. I didn't engage in any argument (or at the very least I pulled myself away when I realized that's what she was trying to get me to do). I told the entire class to wait for dismissal as I always do, and she just left when she pleased, which drew approval from some members of the class who hate waiting to be dismissed. So there was no outward arguing. I have done my best to hold everyone accountable to the rules and make sure I'm not focusing too much on this one student so if their behavior gets to a point where their action merit consequences they will feel the sting of the consequences even if she doesn't.

    I guess this just comes from me really wanting her to succeed. I looked up her cum and her behavior and attitude goes way back and extends to all her teachers from MS though I seem to be the main target (or at least the only one to come forward) of her ire this year. I've decided I can only control what I can control, and I'll have to write her up referrals since that's my only recourse outside of calling home (which doesn't work), since she refuses to follow my classroom consequences and there is nothing in place at this school to help teachers keep students accountable such as lunch detention, Saturday School, etc. My only thing is if I write a referral, I do NOT want to send her out unless she is actively making the classroom unsafe. The next time I ask her to change seats and she refuses, I will call admin and ask them to help escort said student to her seat and not pull her out of class.
     
  13. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Phenom

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    I wonder why...:whistle:
     
  14. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    If I got nonstop calls from the school for my child's behavior, I'd probably get tired of answering/responding to phone calls too. lol.

    But I do feel that it's a good accountability piece when done right - simply informing parent, and asking for permission to enact a consequence at school so the responsibility is on you to decide what to do about it. Good parents will enforce consequences at home in addition to what I usually suggest, even if it's just painful lecture to sit through.

    But this year, we're not allowed to give lunch detentions, or after school detentions, or hold students accountable in any way aside from what we secretly do in class, because the admin wants us to "build a good relationship" with students. Because great student-teacher relationships are built on the foundation of having to beg students to behave and giving them a high five when they meet the bare minimum requirements of decency and respect. The admin at this school are far-gone.
     
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  15. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Couple of thoughts
    - I don't wait to send a kid out until they make the classroom unsafe. I send them out when they make it impossible for me to teach / others to learn. This can be excessive disruptions, arguing with me, cussing is a given, etc.
    - I think you care too much about her success. I always tell my students: "i cannot care more about your education than you do." I also tell them: "I cannot make you learn or do something, but i can make sure you're not disrupting others from learning".
     
  16. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Phenom

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    Yeah, and that apple probably doesn't fall too far from that tree either LOL
     
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  17. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Linguist nailed the best way to put at least a temporary end to your current power struggle, especially what to say to this student. It allows you to step back and concentrate on the class as a whole, shifting the responsibility for her success off your shoulders and onto hers. If you have a place where you can document this conversation, do so.
     
  18. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    I would agree also. I don't think she's done anything that's made it impossible for others to learn though. She's disruptive up until a certain point and then she's smart enough to stop. It's the defiance I'm having trouble with.
     
  19. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    I've had quite a few students who always knew how far to go. They would be disruptive or quietly defiant enough for me to warn them, even give them detention, but then they would ear getting taken off because they'd be good for the rest of the class. The hardest ones were those who would quietly talk the whole time, so they wouldn't be disruptive for me to send them out, and I'd just put up with them, no knowing I was making a huge mistake.

    This is where I am today: if a kid doesn't follow my directions, especially if they're defiant about something, I kick them out. (we have currently have no detentions, not enough staff)
    They have assigned seating. here's how it goes:
    - can I sit here, ma'am?
    - no, that's not your assigned seat. Please it in your seat.
    - no ma'am, just for today, I won't talk.
    - you can sit in your seat, or you can leave (SRC), and I'll write you up.
    - ok, I sit in my seat.

    If they don't, I kick them out.
    And I do that, because if I let one kid do that one day, then others will ask every day and eventually no one will care about my seating chart, so why have it? And then when I refuse to let a kid sit somewhere, it's all about me being racist or favoritizing, etc.
    If they refuse anything, and they're arguing with me, now they're disruptive enough to stop others from learning, because I had to stop teaching to deal with them.
     
  20. greendream

    greendream Cohort

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    This is a really disturbing trend.
     
  21. HSEnglishteach

    HSEnglishteach Rookie

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    Here's the thing, and this might sound a little out there, but it IS a power struggle. And guess what? You have to win. The other students are watching, and if you lose you're going to be stuffed for the remainder of the year.

    I just changed schools, and I have a student like this. On the very first day of school he interrupted, made noises, and generally made himself a spectacle before I'd even taught my expectations or behavior plan. I consistently followed my behavior plan with him and had him in lunch detention a number of times, but it reached a point where it simply wasn't enough. So here's what I did:

    I put him in a desk in the hallway with the door cracked open enough for him to hear my instruction. I made copies of the PowerPoint so he could follow along. And I made it very clear to him that he could not be a part of our classroom if he was going to disrupt. I told him that I cared about him enough not to take his education away from him, but that he simply would not be allowed to disrupt his peers from learning.

    He was out there for two days and he hated it. It sent him a message, but more than anything else it sent his peers a message, and that was just as important.

    If she won't listen to a direct command from you, I don't think she should be allowed to be in your room until she shows she is capable of basic respect.

    Just my two cents...
     
  22. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Hi! I've done something similar with students, but these students were usually compliant enough to actually follow the consequences. One major thing I'm having an issue with is that I can't enact consequences on my own anymore. We aren't allowed to give lunch detentions or keep them after class. In addition, we're supposed to not kick them out unless they are causing huge disruptions to learning or being a danger to themselves or others.

    I have been following my behavior plan with everyone in the class, including her, but she simply refuses to adhere to it. For instance, if I asked her to change her seat she would simply say "No, I don't feel like it." I then tell her "Okay, well if you don't, I have to call home." She doesn't care. I usually move on and have to write her a referral after class because I don't want to get into a verbal argument with her. I also call home after class.

    I don't know how much support I would have from admin for keeping her right in the hallway. Especially since she is the type that would just get out of the seat and leave and wander around the hallway looking for friends. She also has a lot of friends in my class who would "use the restroom" to see her, and if I deny them the right to use the restroom, then I would just come across as a power-monger.

    I guess as what Linguist said, I just have to realize that I can't care more about her education than herself, and just kick her out to the P's office if she is being defiant.

    It's just frustrating because I don't want her to miss instruction and I've only had to write like 2 referrals in the past three years, so I don't want to have to build up referrals. I guess this might just be a special case where I have to.

    At the very least I got a little break today since she didn't show up. I don't know if it was because of the referral, but without her there and a few others, class went as easy as pie. I think some of the kids were shocked at how well class was going. I was going to change her seat on the seating chart today to move her away from her friends, and I fully expected her to try to escalate tensions. This is good though since I'm feeling a little sick today and didn't really feel like dealing with it.
     
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2016
  23. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    I would have a chat with the other teachers to find out what they don. what they don't do and how it's working for them. then I'd go and have a chat with the P about these concerns. Your hands are tied, how are you supposed to provide quality education, when students are disrupting your classes and there's nothing you can do?

    At my school things got a little tricky, because now we don't have enough staff to hold lunch detention. So they told us to keep emailing them and eventually we'll catch up. Yeah right. How would haveng a kid serve 2 detentions from 3 weeks ago be effective? And by that time most students would owe 10 detentions from all the teachers.

    So I told the kids, because there is no detention, I'm bypassing it and instead of detention, I'm kicking them out, and writing them up. Then I found out nothing is happening with the write ups, I email it to 2 people (but not the P because I wasn't told), and the one that's supposed to handle it sometimes chats with the kid, but once he said I should call home. Umm, I'm already supposed to do that! That shouldn't be the end of a write up for a kid who's on probation!
    So I talked to the probation officer and gave him the 3 write ups for one kid. He said he'd talk to him and tell him if he gets kicked out once more, he'll lock him up (he gets locked up all the time, it's a cycle). I wasn't supposed to do this at the old school, but P always handled write ups. Until I'm told not to do this, this is my plan,. The kids that are not on probation? I'll be emailing them to my P, at least the major cases.
    My P is supportive, but she's technically fulfilling her role as P and her boss' role as director. So she's busy.

    what I'm trying to say is to do what you can. In your case, your hands are really truly tied and you need to ask your P what you're supposed to do, otherwise how can they expect you to teach?
     
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