When a students talks down a teacher

Discussion in 'General Education' started by riverdance85, Oct 7, 2014.

  1. riverdance85

    riverdance85 Rookie

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    Oct 7, 2014

    When a students talks down to a teacher

    High school teacher here.

    I currently have a student (female) that before this week, really enjoyed being in my class. I had given her a week plus yesterday to turn in her homework, but she said she forgot it at home. When I told her that it was now too late to turn it in, she became angry and said "So, I did it all for nothing?" I told her no, because at least she got the practice. Then she started talking down to me when she said "So YES, I did it for nothing!"

    Today, she was still upset. She demanded that I let her go to art to discuss a project for five minutes during my class. I told her that later on during the period that I would let her go, but (again talking down at me) she said that it had to be at the beginning of the period.

    She also accused me last week, before any of this happened, that I played favorites just because the opposing team was beating her team. :dizzy:??? The other team was actually winning!!!! Did I miss something?

    I am afraid that I "lost" her... I don't know how to address the situation as I find it hard to connect with her, I think because I am a male teacher. I don't treat her any different from the other students. How to regain rapport? I couldn't stand to have her dislike me... all I'm doing is holding students accountable! Yes, I give second chances (I give them an entire week to turn things in! There are usually 2-3 assignments per week. Classes meet everyday for a semester)


    Thank you for your time.
     
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  3. riverdance85

    riverdance85 Rookie

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    Quick add: I know very well that I can't be their friend. I also know that if a kid likes you, they learn better from you.
     
  4. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    That's not always true - that they learn better.

    I do think you care way too much what she thinks about you. It is not your job to be her friend, as you said. So let it go. If she likes you, she likes you. She can learn plenty from you even if she doesn't. Especially the important lesson of taking direction from someone you don't particularly care for ;)

    The next time she speaks to you inappropriately, call her out right then and there. Tell her "you don't speak to me that way. If you want to discuss a personal issue later, you can stay after class." And then move on.

    You'll waste so much time and effort trying to make every kid like you. Because it won't happen no matter what you do.
     
  5. riverdance85

    riverdance85 Rookie

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    Oct 7, 2014

    Thank you so much, 2ndTimeAround. I feel better, and the next time she talks to me like that I will call her out on it (I just hope it doesn't escalate).
     
  6. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    I agree, you shouldn't care so much if she likes you. If you care as much as you sound like you do, your ability to be objective might be affected and you might try to please her too much, give in, or not hold her accountable. High school kids can 'smell' that from far and will take advantage of it.

    Let her know that you're being fair, you can't treat anyone differently, and that she needs to show more respect. If she is disrespectful, follow your normal procedures.
     
  7. riverdance85

    riverdance85 Rookie

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    I will do just that, Linguist. I appreciate it very much. Stick to the CM plan, I must!
     
  8. princessbloom

    princessbloom Comrade

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    Oct 7, 2014

    I can understand your original post. I taught middle school for a year after teaching elementary (just wanted to try it) and this is the main reason why I couldn't do it, the way the kids talked to me.

    I had a similar situation with a student…we built a rapport. She was known to give other teachers issues but never me. Then one day she suddenly turned on me. Personally, I think it was pressure from friends, who were a bad influence on her. I wanted to reach this student because she was headed down a dark path (drugs, etc). It broke my heart when she called me an awful name one day because I thought I was reaching her, as she'd come to talk to me about things. Then, it just suddenly stopped….

    There are many reasons why I left MS and returned to elementary.
    Bless you for teaching older kids! I really respect you all! :)
     
  9. jen12

    jen12 Devotee

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    I'm a little concerned with the immediate blowing up when she didn't get her way with the homework and with the game. I'm not sure your issue is your personal rapport with her as with her immature behavior. It might be time to have a talk either with her personally or with your classes about how to cope with disappointment and how to make choices in the moments when our emotions are looming large.
     
  10. riverdance85

    riverdance85 Rookie

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    I also started out as MS...then got transferred to HS. I enjoy HS a lot more! I love teaching the big kids! There are some students out there that are an absolute joy to teach. I guess I focus on the negative too much.
     
  11. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    I had a female student who acted this way my first year. At first I played it off as her just showing off her personality, then it got to the point where it was disrespectful. At which point I had her step outside and had a frank talk with her about the fact that she doesn't have to like me but she needs to respect the rules of this classroom and show me respect as a teacher. Otherwise she's not welcome back. I am now a lot less tolerant at even minimal signs of disrespect and nip them in the bud.

    She went to the VP in tears, and told her what happened, but what was even more amazing was that she admitted that she deserved it.

    You want students to like you if you can. And yes, sometimes they learn better if they like you (not always true), but you shouldn't go out of your way to get them to like you, and if you do, that can harm your relationship with the student more. Distance makes the heart grow fonder, so sometimes you need to step back giver her some space and allow the student to come to you.

    And she may never come to have a good relationship with you. In the past two years I've taught. I've always had at least one student who left each year, who just hated me, even despised me, and they would never come around. That's just how it is. You can't be liked by everyone.
     
  12. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    We have a couple of "cool" teachers at my school. The teachers that act goofy, show movies a lot, dress up silly and are ALL ABOUT SCHOOL SPIRIT. You would be surprised at how many students really, really dislike them. Tons of kids do like them, some even adore them, but many find the teachers to be phony and/or unprofessional. I can't think of a single teacher at my school that hasn't had a student dislike him/her at some point.
     
  13. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    For some reason she has it in her head you don't like her. I think it probably stems from her comment about playing favorites. She believes she sees this in you and that makes her lose respect for you.

    I am not saying you play favorites at all, but kids can take the smallest things and believe that. For example, if she almost always ends up on the losing team, it might seem that you are picking favorites. If you give any give when the high performing students make mistake but do not give the same give to the less studious students and she notices this, she will see that as playing favorites. If you always call on certain students, she may see that as playing favorites. Or she can just be jealous of students who are doing better than her and projecting this feeling on you. Take a few minutes while you are teaching and examine how the class is run. You might just have a more upbeat rapport with certain students than others because they are "easier" students in either behavior, ability, or ideas. Kids pick up on subtleties.

    If you really don't see any of these things happening which is highly possible, it might just be that she is feeling bad about herself for a reason having nothing to do with you and will see herself as being put upon by others.
     
  14. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    Yes, or it could be a number of other things.

    I have a student that doesn't like me. She's convinced that I don't like her. I've told her otherwise but I'm sure not going to fawn over her, begging her to believe me. She's cultivated that belief, is happy with that belief and is going to hold onto it as long it as it works for her. Because believing that I don't like her is a perfect excuse to do poorly in the class. She can "get back at me" by refusing to do her work. She can claim that I was unfair in my grading. All sorts of reasons for her to sit back and do very little in my class. Somehow, this poor soul has ended up with four teachers that all hate her and have it out for her. This is a choice she's making.

    It could be like a student I had a few years ago. He was told that the first time a white teacher tried to tell him what to do he was to get up and leave the room. Everything was fine until he misbehaved the first time. His mother flat out told me in a conference that she had trained him to be disrespectful to white teachers.

    Could be that you remind her of the next door neighbor that just ran over her puppy. Could be that her boyfriend just broke up with her and HE loves you so she must start disliking you. Could be that her father popped up in her life after a few years of absence and she's mad at every paternal figure in her life.

    I could go on and on but I won't. The gist is, it is always a good idea to step back and evaluate what you're doing but realize that there are far many more things going on in HER life that could cause her attitude change than there are things that YOU do in the classroom.
     
  15. bewlove

    bewlove Companion

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    I understand what you're saying. I teach upper elementary, but there are still those few kids that I have developed a rapport with.

    It hurts me when they disrespect me because I feel that we should be so past that, and because I genuinely care for them. I've found that calling them out when it happens, but then having a personal talk later really helps.

    When it's just the two of you saying, "You know that I care for you and that I want the best for you. But, it is disrespectful to me when you _____________________. I need you to change that so that I can continue to help you and teach you."
     
  16. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Very true, including all the examples.


    I deal with a LOT of emotionally disturbed / unstable youth, and a lot of times they seem illogical, until my principal explains their behavior and then it makes sense. I'm getting a little better at it though.
    I've learned that a lot of times what they do to us teachers have nothing to do with us. They have a bad day and turn on us, because they trust us, they know we won't go crazy on them and they feel safe.
    Other times it's all about their friends, showing off, acting up, etc. What they do seems like a personal attack on us, but it's not personal to them at all. I'm still trying to get over that.
    They cuss us out, and direct profanity towards us, because that's how they talk to their parents, and they think it's ok. Yet, if we say something like 'shut your mouth', or use a too stern voice, they get bent out of shape, because they hold us to a higher standard.

    We must separate ourselves from them emotionally. Connect with them when we can, and when it seems like they turn on us, take a step back and remind ourselves that it's not even about us. They're teenagers, just now learning how to deal with life and its difficulties.
     
  17. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    When a student talks back like she did, the best thing to do is to say absolutely nothing. Once you enter in a discussion with her, it will often end the way you don't like...such as you described. Just let her say her piece. Look straight at her right above her eyes and eventually she will quiet down and stop. Then you can weigh your choices of what is best to do after she is finished talking.

    This is better described in the book Tools for Teaching by Fred Jones.
     
  18. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    That's something I learned as well. I thought EVERYONE and I mean EVERYONE loved our Art teacher. He was out-going, spoke his mind to everyone, goofy, etc. Well, there was this one girl who HATED him, and demanded to be moved out of his class because he was "inappropriate". She ended up coming to my elective and we built one of the best relationships together. She visited me and said I was her favorite teacher and the best science teacher, which was really sweet.

    But that same year, I also had a kid who said I was the worst teacher ever and that he "hated" me almost each day (although I don't think that was true; I think he was just trying to get me to react).
     
  19. vickilyn

    vickilyn Magnifico

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    Yes, I go with not engaging. The power shifts to her if the power struggle begins with an audience.
     
  20. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    I don't believe, although it has been years since I read the book, that he suggests ignoring blatant disrespect.

    I believe you should tell the student she is wrong for speaking to you that way and have a private conversation at a later time when everyone is calm. If she reacts poorly to that statement, politely remind her that after class is the time to continue the conversation. Don't engage but don't ignore bad behavior either. A student that would continue trying to bait me would be leaving the room. Either with me to have that conversation right then, or being bounced to the classroom next door or by administrator/cop escort.

    You cannot allow a student to be openly disrespectful. You'll lose the respect of the other students right away.
     
  21. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    So true. :thumb:

    I think one of the best strategies I've used this year, is handing out a consequence, or ending the discussion with the last word (perhaps saying, "You may discuss it with me at lunch if you wish,") and immediately walking away. They can continue the conversation with themselves but you'll already be across the room. There is no room for disrespect, because you won't hear it and the other kids know it was YOU who ended the argument and not them.

    If you wait behind, that is almost inviting a student to say something back just to save face because it looks like you're waiting for their reaction.

    Leaving immediately also allows you to let the student be accountable for their own reaction afterwards. If you issued a consequence, they will usually follow it of their own accord.

    If they don't, you don't need to get into it with them. Simply inform them that if they don't follow that consequence, then you will have to call admin to have them escorted out. Or just call.
     
  22. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    One thing that's nice in high school is kids get to experience different teachers and different styles. You're definitely correct in that we will always have someone not like us. It still hurts though. I want to build positive relationships with all my students. It sucks when you can't reach some.

    That being said, not sure what's wrong with school spirit? I participate in almost all of our spirit days. Today all staff wore the same color to participate in one of the days for homecoming. On Friday I'll be wearing my homecoming tshirt. Next Friday is another theme. I'll certainly be participating again. I think it's nice to see a staff who clearly enjoys where they work and will participate in spirit days. We have nearly 100% staff participation on the many days.
     
  23. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    I didn't say there was anything wrong with school spirit. We just have a handful of teachers that spend a lot of time, instructional time, showing it. To the point that they disrupt other classes while they're goofing off.
     
  24. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    I don't think you have to participate in spirit days to enjoy where you work.
     
  25. live

    live Companion

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    I teach 5th grade, but I have a boy that does something similar. He talks back; he even gives the reason that he can't control it and it's the way he was born. The most I will say to him when he talks in that tone is, "It's too bad you feel that way, and that you're still choosing to speak to me like this. We'll talk later." That same phrase, then I ignore, until he's not in that state of mind. Then when he's ready to be respectful, I listen to him and don't bring up anything negative. He's improved a lot just by being consistent in my response.

    Not every child will agree with you or like you. Even those who like you will get mad at you. We're the adults and sometimes have to make decisions kids just don't like.
     
  26. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    Yes, he doesn't say to ignore disrespect, and neither do I. Staying quiet while the child has his or her fit is the first step. Then the teacher has the freedom to then take care of the disrespect by applying whatever consequence necessary. When I was in the Fred Jones training, he even showed an example of when a student goes off with an f-bomb. He showed the teacher staying calm and quiet and then gently sending the student to the office. The point he is making is not to enter into an argument. That is all. He isn't in any way saying any consequence that is deserved shouldn't be applied.
     
  27. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    That's why I added the second part of the sentence "and will participate in spirit days". However, I do believe it demonstrates cohesiveness when everyone participates. I love when the whole staff does something on a spirit day. It's nice to see them supporting our school by participating. Do they support the school in other ways? Of course. But wearing the same color is one easy way to do that when asked. Just like donating $5 to wear jeans on Fridays is another way to show we support our student organizations (NHS, the library, SADD, etc...). Another way is going to school sponsored events (sporting events, chaperoning dances, watching the musical, etc...) Those things are noticed by admin and it goes a long way.
     
  28. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Yeah. I guess all those are just really not my thing. I love my school, but I don't do any of those things and the admin still loves me because I do other things (like run the tech).

    Although I guess that's not completely true that I don't do any of them. I did watch a musical, and a band performance, but those were only because students invited me. I feel no obligation to to so otherwise.
     
  29. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    The point is that you're doing SOMETHING, which you clearly are. I have found though that going to events does help with building relationships. I had a kid I was struggling with behavior wise. I went to the football game and he made a great catch. I congratulated him on Monday at school. He lit up and got excited. It was awesome to see. That holds true with many events. The kids like to feel their teachers support them inside the classroom and outside the classroom. With my seniors it can be as simple as showing them a college program I think they'd love. With some kids it's sharing a favorite singer. I believe those personal connections make my job infinitely easier.
     

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