tattlers

Discussion in 'Behavior Management' started by kikiboniki, Oct 2, 2011.

  1. kikiboniki

    kikiboniki Rookie

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    Oct 2, 2011

    So I am a substitute teacher, but this is a problem I have encountered numerous times. From when I was working day camps during my summer vacations in college, to when I was student teaching, to now, as I am subbing.
    What do you do with tattlers? My approach after a student tells me something their classmate does is usually something along the lines of "thank you so much for letting me know that", and I usually don't do anything about it. I hate that kids rat their friends out for the dumbest things.
    For example, I was subbing in a classroom for a teacher who was hard core about students pushing their chairs in, to the point where their names would be written on the board if they were not. Every five minutes or so, I'd have a student raise their hand and say "Jonny left his chair out".... it was so irritating to me. (sorry to ramble)

    but where do you draw the line between a tattle that you do not deal with, to a student telling you something another kid did and you doing something about it (I hate to rely on students words when I have not seen /heard the action...)
     
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  3. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Oct 2, 2011

    I have to tell you: my youngest daughter has the HARDEST time differentiating between tattling and lying.

    She'll tattle on one of her siblings, and we'll talk to her about tattling. Without fail, her response will be: "No, mom, I promise: it's the truth!!!"

    We're at the point where we ask: "Is anyone hurt? Is anyone about to get hurt?" and leave it at that.
     
  4. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    Oct 3, 2011

    It's a good question and often a point of confusion for kids because a lot of us give conflicting messages to kids - kids often get in trouble if they see something happen and don't report it, yet sometimes when they do report things we get annoyed and tell them not to! In reality, I think we adults understand a few more nuances than kids, and expect kids to process those situations the same way we would. So, we need to teach them!

    I think the first step is some good social skills training teaching kids how to think more effectively about those situations, and giving them some more options.

    Starting with the second part - skills needed - there are a few options kids have when they see someone else misbehave - they can tell the teacher, they can ignore, they can continue watching and see what else happens, they can fix the problem themselves, or they can address it with the student directly. Each option can be used effectively, but under slightly different circumstances.

    That brings in the first part - processing the situations effectively. What kinds of situations are appropriate for telling the teacher? Are there levels of seriousness? If they are expected to be quiet, is it okay for them to whisper/talk to solve the problem? I would do two things here - first, come up with some guidelines for kids that help them know what to do. So, your guidelines might be: if it's safe and you feel like you can and it involves you, try to solve it with the student directly; if it has to do with "property management" and it isn't something that keeps happening (e.g., someone left their chair out), fix it yourself (e.g., go push the chair in); if you aren't sure, ask the teacher; etc.

    Second, I would go through multiple situations/examples with kids and discuss what they would do, and why. Give them your feedback and interject your expectations when there are any points of clarification.

    This whole topic really goes beyond just fixing this one issue, but - in my opinion - gets to the heart of what education is. Education, to me, is beyond just teaching academic subjects, but teaching social lessons as well - teaching kids how to function with each other. Those lessons are often as important to kids' later-life success as the academic ones.

    A side note here about "seriousness" - if you tell them it's only important to tell "if there's blood" or if it's serious, you run the risk of communicating to that student and others that more minor rules/expectations aren't really important, despite you having them. So, in general, it's probably a good idea to give students some option of response if you have an expectation. Maybe they don't tell, but they address it with the student. Of course, you could say with rules where no one gets hurt (e.g., tucking chair in) that they
     
  5. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    Oct 3, 2011

    Julia Cook has a wonderful book called A Bad Case of Tattle Tongue. It's about a boy who has a hard time stopping himself from tattling. The book develops 4 "Tattle Rules":

    Number 1-Be a Danger Ranger - is telling an adult going to keep someone safe?
    Number 2-Be a Problem Solver - can I help solve the problem myself?
    Number 3- Now or Later??? - is this something that can wait until later to be told?
    Number 4- Mind Your Own Beeswax!!! - self explanatory!

    You can also purchase an activity book with this that has scenarios to practice. Great book.
     
  6. soleil00

    soleil00 Comrade

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    Oct 4, 2011

    This is kind of our school policy.

    Basically, unless someone is hurt, was hurt, or is about to be hurt by whatever is being done or said.... it is tattling and we don't want to hear about it. My kids are slowly getting there. They've slowed down the tattling. They still tattle a little bit, but I usually ask them "did it hurt you? Did it hurt them?" and they say no and go on about their business forgetting all about it.
     
  7. Loomistrout

    Loomistrout Devotee

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    Oct 4, 2011

    Assuming you can tell the difference between someone really hurting and a child quality control supervisor consider directing students to write their "complaint" down on paper. Tell them you will need a paragraph and any errors in mechanics or form will have to be corrected and redone. Most kids will opt out at this point. If not, save the paper in a box (folder) with explanation you will address the "paper" at the end of the day.
     
  8. jen12

    jen12 Devotee

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    Oct 4, 2011

    UGH! I was in 5th today and the tattling was deafening! I tell them that unless somebody is physically hurting someone else or doing something dangerous, that they need to mind their own business.

    In terms of non-subbing, I saw a "tattle box" in a classroom and I thought it was a great idea. The students could write down thier little police actions and put it in the box. I thought it was a good idea.
     
  9. mkate

    mkate Comrade

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    Oct 8, 2011

    I was going to suggest the Julia Cook book as well-- I know there are some others that are good too. I like the tattle box idea.
     
  10. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    Oct 14, 2011

    Nice! Very helpful - I'll have to check this out...
     
  11. snapples

    snapples Rookie

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    Oct 23, 2011

    In one classroom I saw that the teacher has this corner of the room dedicated to the tattling turtle. It is this kit from Really Good Stuff where the kids can tell, write, or draw their tattle and give it to the turtle so the teacher is not constantly overwhelmed with tattling. I know this might not translate for substitute teaching, but I thought it was a neat idea.
     
  12. MsRuby

    MsRuby Rookie

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    Oct 29, 2011

    As a sub, I also deal with endless tattling. At the beginning of the day, we discuss my rules, and I always remind kids to worry about themselves, not others. I feel your frustration!
     

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