"[Teacher], so and so did this to me!"

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Tek, May 7, 2012.

  1. Tek

    Tek Comrade

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    May 7, 2012

    For elementary and middle school teachers, I'm sure you get a lot of students coming up to you and saying something like

    "Adam hit me!"

    "Sally stole my eraser!"

    "Michael won't let me play with him and his friends."

    "She started it!"

    etc.

    I'm a bit embarrassed to admit it, but how can a teacher improve their conflict resolution language? I remember my master teachers looking/sounding very "professional" when dealing with these daily classroom scuffles but I feel like I still have a lot to learn. I don't feel decisive enough, and I worry if I just let it slide too much.

    It might go like this:

    Boy: Mr. Tek, she hit me!

    Girl: No Mr. Tek, he hit me first!

    Me: Nobody is to hit anybody

    B: But she started it!

    G: He started it!

    Me: I don't care who started it. No one is to hit anyone.

    I don't know. I feel like I'm getting them to move on rather than really patching things up.

    One time a girl told me during PE that this boy and his friends wouldn't let her play with them.

    Rather than bring her over to those same boys, I told her "Amanda, why don't you play with those girls over there instead? Come on, I'll walk you over" and then I'll bring her to the group of girls and say something like "Girls, may Amanda join?" while giving those girls the look "You really don't have a choice -- you better be nice and let her join"

    Should I have addressed the boys directly, though?

    Here's another example. I subbed for a 4/5 combo recently, and this student gave me a note that said "John likes Sally." He said he didn't appreciate whoever put the note on his desk, and asked me to rectify this situation. I told him "Let me address this with the class later" and moved on to the lesson. It was such a hectic day that I never addressed it. I felt bad for letting it get lost in the shuffle. At the same time, part of me felt like if I addressed it, especially as the sub, it would only make it worst for John. Sometimes, isn't it better to let something "die out" and have the kid toughen it out rather than focusing on it and getting the entire class more worked up on singling out a student?

    I'm still learning how to balance that out. I thought of maybe addressing the class while sending John out the classroom, but decided it might only make matters worse, so I didn't.

    Did I do the right thing there? Would love to hear what you would have done in that situation as a substitute teacher.

    In general, I'd like to improve my ability to facilitate students' conflict resolution better. I'm starting to read Compassionate Classroom. It has some helpful tips for sure.

    How do you handle conflict resolutions in your classroom? Is there a universal effective language to use, or does it really vary case by case?
     
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  3. Peachyness

    Peachyness Virtuoso

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    May 7, 2012

    Hmmm, well, one thing I do is ask questions. And I always talk about choices. Good choice versus bad choice.

    Susie, John says that you hit him. Is this true? Why would you do that? Was that a good choice? What would have been a better choice to make? What will you do next time? What should you say to John to make him feel better?
     
  4. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    May 7, 2012

    Part of managing problems is by being proactive and building a climate of respect and responsibility...I truthfully don't have many behavior issues.
     
  5. Tek

    Tek Comrade

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    May 7, 2012

    Yes, I remember my master teachers using this sort of language. Questions and good/bad choices, what can we do next time. I feel though I've tried this in the past and whenever I ask, the students still go back and forth.

    ex:

    Me: Susie, John said you hit him. Is that true?

    S: Yes. But he hit me first!

    J: No she hit me first!

    S: Nah uh!

    J: Uh huh!

    It doesn't always go as neatly as "Yes it's true. I'm sorry. Next time I'll think twice." I try to pose the question for conflict resolution but they still go back and forth. What do you do at that point?

    Do you just reset and try a new strategy?
     
  6. Peachyness

    Peachyness Virtuoso

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    May 7, 2012

    I usually talk to them seperately. Makes it easier to get the story without them interrupting each other. Then, I'll bring them together.

    Czacza, Tek is a sub so it's a bit different for him.
     
  7. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    May 8, 2012

    These situations are very difficult to handle as a sub since you normally won't be there to follow-up and continue monitoring the situation. So you have to determine which temporary solution would be the best.

    In the case of Amanda, I would have done much the same as you, just take her to another group to play with. However, I also would have approached the boys and asked them to give an account of their actions. By following up on the situation right then, that will make them view you more like a "regular teacher" than "just a sub". Then the next time you sub for them, they will know that you WILL address their behavior, if necessary, so they will hopefully be a little better behaved.

    If Johnnie and Suzie each claim the other hit them first or started it, the best way to handle that is exactly what Peachyness said, talk to them separately if possible. If you don't have time to speak with each of them separately, then you have to be like Judge Judy, tell them you will listen to both sides of the story, but can only fully listen to one person at a time. That means you do not interrupt while the other person is talking. Both of you will have an equal chance to tell your side of the story. When one person is talking and the other tries to interrupt, remind them they will get a chance to tell their side un-interrupted as well, but for now, it is the other persons' turn to talk. Just because Student A is telling his/her version first doesn't mean you automatically consider their version to be the right one.

    Now, you can ask Student B questions in response to Student A's version (again, like Judge Judy will do).

    After both students have given their version, you can go back and ask them the questions Peachyness suggested. "Was this the best way to handle the situation?" "Do you think you made the best choice when you responded the way you did?" "What choice(s) would have been better to make?"
     
  8. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    May 8, 2012

    I understand Tek is a sub, but he also addressed the question to 'elementary and middle school teachers'. First and foremost, a sub or regular classroom teacher needs to develop 'with-it-ness' so that conflicts can be averted. Keep the kids engaged and on task. Realize that some 'conflicts' are designed to get attention and get the teacher off track (sometimes more often with subs).
     
  9. stephenpe

    stephenpe Connoisseur

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    May 8, 2012

    This is the best way but with younger kids and new ones coming in
    all the time the chemistry changes. I use all kinds of techniques.
    If it is bad I look for witnesses. I consider the past behaviors. I check for physical marks. I ask for apologies. I use time out (works well in PE). I have put them together on a bench to decide what to do (missing PE helps facilitate compromise many times). If it is lots of
    whiny tattle tale stuff I sometimes say "if no one is bleeding or dying work it out" But I keep my eyes and ears open and look for signs of
    discord.
    Funny story here, I have Dawson in K. He is a pistol. I taught his daddy. He is smart but always doing something. I finally told him yesterday if he did one more thing I was CALLING the police. I had tried everything but going to the principal and this was my ace in the hole. He knows about the police as his dad has some problems where they get involved. I think he was better yesterday. I will see how it works today.
     
  10. TeachOn

    TeachOn Habitué

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    May 8, 2012

    My first goal - unless there is anything in the bullying mode, sexually aggressive, violent, etc. - is to move on. When my class is going on, I don't care who started it, and so forth. I have twenty other kids waiting to learn: don't waste our time. That's my attitude.

    After class, I talk to them, find out what's up, scold them, whatever.
     
  11. queenie

    queenie Groupie

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    May 8, 2012

    If the complaint involves something like, "Joey is looking at me," or "Kelly didn't put his name on his paper," I usually say, "Thank you for tattling" and then move on with instruction.

    If the complaint involves hurt feelings, I usually ask, "Did you tell Anna she hurt your feelings?" "No." "Well, then you need to talk to her about it and work it out." OR "Yes. But she just laughed at me." "Well, then maybe you should choose someone else to play with for the rest of recess. I'm sorry she hurt your feelings." ... "Anna, did Joey tell you that you hurt his feelings?" "No." "Well, you did. How do you think you can fix that?"...

    Or something similar =)

    If the complaint involves stealing an item or harming another child physically, I address it immediately. I usually go to the other party and ask, point blank, "Why did you take Jan's marker?" or "Why did you trip Mya?" I usually don't ask "DID you..." because if I ask "Why" they child assumes I know it's a fact...if I'm wrong (which is rare) they will say, "I didn't!" Then I'll have to ask for witnesses, etc...

    I have a no tattling rule in my class, though, and I don't put up with it. I teach them the difference between tattling and reporting. Tattling is intended to get someone in trouble. Reporting is intended to protect someone...
     
  12. TeacherGrl7

    TeacherGrl7 Devotee

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    May 8, 2012

    I'm big on the kids solving their own issues at all possible. I'm Pre-K so I spend a HUGE chunk of time on this in the beginning months of the year, because I really think it's a skill that will help them in each subsequent school year. I model appropriate language for them and have them deal with the problem by themselves. It's very time consuming (and annoying, really) but by this time in the year it has really paid off because whenever someone comes over to complain about something my response is always, "Go tell HER that," unless it involves blood, or something really terrible LoL. Then I just listen to the conversation that takes place, and help them adjust their words as needed.
     
  13. Ms.SLS

    Ms.SLS Cohort

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    May 8, 2012

    I don't know that this would work for elementary, but it works for my middle school kids.

    When my sister and I would fight as children, we would always both get in trouble. My mom would say - "it takes two to argue." This stops the he said she said he started it she deserved it.

    Also, the guilt by association tends speech to work as well.
     
  14. callmebob

    callmebob Enthusiast

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    May 8, 2012

    I was dealing with this issue today.
    Just today I was told...
    "They are poking me"
    "He keeps touching me in the head"
    "He called me a dummy"
    "He told me to shut up"
    "She wont stop talking"
    "He threw paper in my face"

    By the time that last kid came to me, I looked at him and said,"what do you want me to do about it?" He stood there for a minute, thought about it, and never came up with anything. It ended there.
    At this point of the year, I'm done dealing with this petty little things. They need to deal with it themselves. Kids can be mean, whats new.
     
  15. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Aficionado

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    May 8, 2012

    When I find mine getting whiny like that there are a few things that could be the problem:

    1. They are bored - give them more to do. Engaged students are not tattling - they are too involved in meaningful tasks.

    2. They lack problem solving strategies - it is well worth your time to instruct, model and practice problem solving strategies. Check your own tone - mine have been speaking quite harshly to one another, so I am making a real consious effort to keep my tone even and model polite words.

    3. They are tired/overwhelmed - while we want them challenged, if the task is too hard, problems come up again.

    For those non-emergency situations, I always say: "So what can you do about that?" Put it back on them.
     
  16. Speechy

    Speechy Comrade

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    May 8, 2012

    Time to whip out the Tattletale jar!
     
  17. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Aficionado

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    The problem I find with the Tattlejar is that the focus is again on tattling. I had a clipboard that students could write tattles on, but it had too negative of a purpose. So I changed the clipboard into the "Praise board" and it's now where we write compliments and encouragement when we notice others being kind and respectful. It's really changed the tone in my classroom!
     
  18. Speechy

    Speechy Comrade

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    May 8, 2012

    When I was doing my student teaching, the tattletale jar was a weekly event. It was a chance for the students to hear how ridiculous they had been throughout the week and give everyone a chance to laugh at some of the trivial things in the jar.

    I totally get what you mean by the negativity though. The Praise board sounds great :) Awesome way to encourage students!
     
  19. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Aficionado

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    And the kids who were tattled on weren't embarassed that their transgressions were being made public???
     
  20. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    May 8, 2012

    I will usually ask the student what he/she wants me to do about it. Usually that stumps them because they don't really want me to do anything, so they just walk away.

    I typically don't have that many issues, though. I've had more this year than usual. I think it's a combo of the age of the students (11 turning 12 instead of 12 turning 13 like usual) and having 35 students at a time instead of 20-25 like most years.
     
  21. Speechy

    Speechy Comrade

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    May 8, 2012

    They were all submitted anonymously- so no one felt picked on.. :)
     
  22. callmebob

    callmebob Enthusiast

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    May 8, 2012

    Maybe if they are embarrassed they will stop doing it.
     
  23. gutterballjen

    gutterballjen Comrade

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    May 8, 2012

    This has worked wonders for me as well!
     

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