What do you do to avoid having hostile students?

Discussion in 'High School' started by a teacher, Feb 10, 2016.

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  1. a teacher

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    A colleague of mine who works in a hall nearby told me that the other day at the end of the school day when the hallway was crowded with kids, some kid yelled into his room something like "Mr. --- sucks!". I thought that was inexplicable because this teacher is really good. He is pretty friendly and approachable and has a decent rapport with his students. I worried about the likelihood of such a thing happening to me, especially as it seemed completely unmotivated. Plus what if it happened while a class was in session? That would be embarrassing and there's no way to catch a kid when they do that.

    I thought this might be on the order as the same kind of behavior as when a kid says "--- you!" to a teacher in their face (I've heard stories about it) or shows other signs of disrespect. Is it enough to simply discipline a couple of kids that they would be so obnoxious or if they failed a class getting upset and blaming the teacher, thus feeling justified about saying rude things? What kind of experiences have you guys had? On the other hand I can think of teachers who kids would never say rude things to because the teachers are so mommy-ish.
     
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  3. a teacher

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    Any ideas?
     
  4. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Lots of questions.
    How do you avoid? Hmmmm in some ways you can't avoid having such kids. And you can't always 'fix' kid's attitudes. But sometimes you can. And that's what makes the difference. Build positive relationships. And class culture of mutual respect.

    Also. Even though I'm elementary, I'd be the same regardless of grade level I teach. I build relationships and a reputation. No kid is going to yell me to F off. Period. Because of how I build relationships and classroom culture. And expectations. And knowing there will be consequences to such behavior.
     
  5. a teacher

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    Right. But in a high school you can't control what's go;,
    In a high school you can't control what goes on in the hallways. And there will always be bad kids who don't take responsibility for their actions and blame their teacher for their misfortunes.

    I'd like to hear what experiences others have had or heard of around the subject of kids being disrespectful.
     
  6. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    You can't control everything...but you can be in the hallway during assign times and monitor. And you absolutelyset expectations during class time.
     
  7. a teacher

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    Class time is not an issue. I'm going to keep my door closed so kids can't mess around with me. But I was wondering what would embolden a kid to be so mean. How often do they shout out rude things to teachers and then try to hide in a crowd? Is this normal?
     
  8. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    There are people who think that this kind of thing is funny to do to make their friends laugh.

    Sometimes, while I don't condone it, a teacher and a student will have an odd type of relationship in which something like this would be laughed off and not seen as a big deal.
     
  9. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    I THINK I've managed to work with a student who has a bad attitude. He's been complaining in class about having to do things that won't get him a job ("How will reading poetry about poppies help me figure out a W2?"). I had a one-on-one discussion with him and got to the heart of his problems. We talked through them and he has a clearer understanding of why I teach the way I teach, and why learning the standards behind the material will actually help him in the future.

    That's my only advice at this point. If there's a problem student in the class, have that talk to find out what the problem is, and have a discussion. This is probably easier on the secondary level than elementary.
     
  10. a teacher

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    The problem is that he doesn't know who it is. They yelled from the hallway. It was done in a mean way, based on how he described it. The kid obviously disliked him. I'm just wondering how often this kind of thing happens and if it only happens to certain kinds of teachers or is it totally random?
     
  11. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Some people don't like other people. I can't stand my friend's girlfriend and she doesn't like me, either. If the other teacher cannot identify the student(s) and figure out an intervention, there isn't a lot that can be done about the behavior, let alone the attitude.
     
  12. a teacher

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    I agree.
    Can anyone share stories of similar incidents???
     
  13. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    I can't think of anything similar. Our halls are not very crowded. My students mostly like me, and those who don't respect authority enough to not be blatantly disrespectful.
     
  14. a teacher

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    Any HS teachers out there who can speak to this?
     
  15. 2ndTimeAround

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    Hmm, not sure how you can make such a claim. You can build relationships all day long and really build the respect and trust. But some kids ARE going to lash out and say ugly things. I don't know a teacher at my school that hasn't been told to F off. The F bomb is as common as the word "the" in some of our students' vocabulary. Yeah, they'll get a consequence for their behavior - a call home and a lunch detention. As a teacher, there isn't anything more you can do with the discipline. You WILL have students that don't care about school, don't care about you and really don't care about the system.

    I think this is one of those things that elementary school teachers cannot fathom because their students just aren't at that age. It doesn't make you a better teacher or have better classroom skills, it just means you teach younger children.
     
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  16. 2ndTimeAround

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    OP, yes, I can speak to it.

    There is currently a student at Yale that spray-painted "Mr. X is a d--k." on the outside of our school three years ago. Bright kid, but not bright enough that he earned an A in AP physics. When the teacher did not bump up his grade, the student got even.

    Because he was such a good student (read- parents have money and connections), he got in school suspension, around the school community service and the district didn't press charges for vandalism.
     
  17. eddygirl

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    In our high school, the principal asks us to stand in the classroom doorway during passing period; that way, we can see what's going on in the classroom and in the hallway. We can also hear what's going on, and the kids know it. If the teacher himself can't catch inappropriate comments, perhaps a colleague will.
     
  18. a teacher

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    I agree. Elementary teachers do live in a different world. That's why I don't understand why they will post in a secondary forum.
     
  19. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    No need to be rude to those who are offering experienced advice.
     
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  20. renard

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    Prior to working in education, I worked in policing. I went into the HS (11th grade remedial math at the time) with the attitude that some people have issues of disrespect way beyond the classroom, and that I would simply not break and command respect inside the school. Letting them swear at you and "only" face consequences like discipline/suspension is not wrong - it means they are facing the set consequences and quite frankly, making immature fools out of themselves. Be receptive to change, but don't let your ego impede natural consequences or shake you.

    All these kids turn 18 and go into the world. It's at that point where the mouthy disrespect will lead to even more severe consequences (job loss, a good beating outside a bar, arrest). Eventually, many of them will learn. I remember mouthy brats at 18 becoming respectful at 21, when they realized their attitude got them nowhere. Some immature brains take longer. You can't control their mouth, but you can control how you respond.

    I'm in 1st grade now, it is different obviously, but I don't feel the underlining principles are too radically different.
     
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  21. MissCeliaB

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    I work at a high school, and still maintain that I do not see those kinds of behaviors. First, we have teachers on duty in the halls during passing periods. Second, our halls are not that crowded. Third, we have security cameras everywhere. It cuts down on a lot of foolish behaviors like that.
     
  22. a teacher

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    That's definitely all very unusual, so you can't really compare yourself to the typical urban high school with poor kids.
     
  23. a teacher

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    Not being rude. It's just that the response should fit the inquiry.
     
  24. a teacher

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    That would definitely take care of such problems. Unfortunately, at my school the security is horrible and seems non-existent.
     
  25. MissCeliaB

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    I do think see why not. I teach in an urban 5A school with a majority minority population and that while not Title 1, is low income enough that our teachers qualify for student loan forgiveness... Just because my experience is different than what you want to hear does not mean it is irrelevant.
     
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  26. renard

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    Just IMO (and to be honest, this is a pattern in your threads so it's general advice), is sometimes you just gotta stand your ground and let stuff roll off your back. So teenagers can be hostile and combative? Do you think it's personal? Is that why you always struggle with other people's opinions (posters or students!). Mantra ~ "it's not about me". I suspect a lot of your struggles come from making mountains out of molehills. Why disregard advice because they apparently don't work at a school that is as "bad" as yours? In policing, I dealt with teenage murderers, drug users, and prostitutes. They aren't too different than the average at-risk teen, when you get down to their core. They usually come from a life where close adults never cared or let them down - so again, why do you take it so personally when you are a blip in their life? Be that positive, unconditional caring role model whether they want it or not. Unconditional of course, means caring through positive reinforcement or consequences.
     
  27. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Don't assume elementary teachers can't fathom something because we teach younger kids. Or "live in a different world". Frankly, that's a bit closed minded.
    I remain steadfast in my belief that we create our own realities. You can create climates in a classroom and a reputation as a teacher where disrespect is minimized. Also, one always has control over their own responses to behaviors whose goals are to gain attention or provoke a reaction. And that's true regardless of grade level.
     
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  28. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Listen. Sometimes people are mean, rude, and/or lazy. This includes kids. Make teachable moments out of the times you can, ignore the times you can't. Then move on and let it be.
     
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  29. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

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    I love this line of thought - even beyond the confines of this thread's topic. Thank you for sharing it!
     
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  30. a teacher

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    I think what you're missing here is that the behavior my colleague endured was high school specific. Elementary school teachers don't have to worry about kids yelling insults as they pass by their doors unseen in the hall- at least as far as I know!
     
  31. a teacher

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    Well stated.
     
  32. a teacher

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    You were a policeman???
     
  33. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Thanks for clarifying your response with "as far as I know" because the behavior isn't high school specific and what you seem to be missing here is that we all have a variety of life and career experiences that give us insight and the ability to empathize and offer good advice. The OP is free to take or ignore any comments, advice or strategies offered by anyone. There's no reason to belittle or disrespect what someone helpfully offers, however, simply because of preconceived notions and misconceptions about members simply based on the age of the kids they teach.
     
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  34. MrsC

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    In my building, the most disrespectful and challenging students are those in grades 1 and 2.

    Much of the advice you've been given--supervision in the hallways, building relationships, "let it go"--are good teaching practice with students of all ages.
     
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  35. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

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    I believe that this is not HS specific, and this from someone who has taught all grades over the years. I think that these are the times to be nonreactive, unless you can absolutely identify the person who did the deed. Kids will yell at the teacher/room, because it is a "high value" street cred target, and that crosses all ethnic and SES boundaries. The kid does it to gain status from the peers more than just being specifically hostile, in many instances.

    That said, perhaps this teacher and student have a history or interactions that you can't clearly see, since it isn't you as the actual teacher, or even a student you can identify. Personally, a teacher can go a long way towards building a desirable reputation by ignoring many of these actions, which shows the students in the classroom that the offended teacher has inner strength, able to remain focused on the lesson with the students in the room rather than becoming rattled by a student who may just be out to disrupt classes.

    I'm of the "choose your battles wisely" camp, personally, with the observation that if you are on hall duty or supervision, be attentive and actually do the job. I have seen teachers talking in the hall while "supervising", ignoring the bedlam around them. Their failure to do their jobs as assigned can lead to the OP's original question about hostile students. I've run into more than a couple of hostile teachers over the years, so maybe this is indicative of a larger, school wide problem.
     
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  36. renard

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    I was, in a former life, in a front-line civilian position (I got paid the same and worked the same hours). It's common in most major/urban departments. These youths do not disrespect "you", as in a personal you - they come from lifestyles where few have really cared for them, and they are only looking out for #1 (themselves - but in a misguided way). Times of open disrespect/swearing are about them trying to make themselves look like something, and not about you.

    At a recent NVCI recertification, our board psychologist really stressed how to not let EGO affect how you perceive risk in a situation. "I'm not going to let that little &**% talk to me like that" is where ego comes in.
     
  37. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

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    In our high school, the principal asks us to stand in the classroom doorway during passing period; that way, we can see what's going on in the classroom and in the hallway. We can also hear what's going on, and the kids know it. If the teacher himself can't catch inappropriate comments, perhaps a colleague will.
    That would definitely take care of such problems. Unfortunately, at my school the security is horrible and seems non-existent.

    I fail to see the connection between your school's security and teachers standing in the classroom doorways as students are changing classes, coming and going at the end of the day, or other appropriate times. I seems that teachers can incorporate a relatively small personal behavior change that could trickle down into other aspects, possibly preventing the hostility you are concerned with. Just a thought.
     
  38. a teacher

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    And if I could require everyone to do that I would! What are you asking?
     
  39. a teacher

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    True. Ego is often the problem.
     
  40. a teacher

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    Nobody is belittling you. For crying out loud, don't be hypersensitive!
     
  41. a teacher

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    A school where 1st and 2nd graders tell teachers off!? Wow, you think it's time to consider leaving that place?
     
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