When should you turn the other cheek?

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by steacher1, Feb 1, 2012.

  1. steacher1

    steacher1 Rookie

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    Feb 1, 2012

    When I was student teaching in middle school for 7th grade, I felt like I was constantly writing kids up. Now let me explain the writing up situation.... For first 5 write up's a student received, they got a a conference with the 7th grade teachers to basically straighten up their act. Another 5, they would get a detention. Another 5, another detention. Another 5, I believe it was an in school suspension. Another 5, in school...you get the point. Once they hit 5, 10, 15, 20... a letter was sent home to their parents/guardians. They would also get wrote if they had gum/candy or didn't have the necessary materials for class (book, paper, pencil).

    The students knew that when they entered the classroom, they should stop talking which is nearly impossible for 7th graders. I wrote up about 5-10 students per day and I had 7 class periods. There were also 2 other student teachers on the same team that I was and they didn't write up nearly as many students as I did. I know I shouldn't compare myself to them, but I feel like I have to...

    So, my question is when do you turn the other cheek and pretend you didn't hear them talking? Was I being too strict? Or was I doing the right thing?
     
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  3. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Feb 1, 2012

    I might not write up a student for talking in the classroom, but I did expect them to come in quietly and get to work. Some days middle schoolers are just a bit off and need a reminder of the directions. Today was one of those days for one of my classes. I didn't actually write anyone up, I just talked to them about disrespect. Now if they are like this tomorrow, further consequences will follow.
     
  4. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Feb 1, 2012

    Neither.

    You don't turn the other cheek and you don't write up 5-10 students per day.

    I firmly believe that there's a very limited amount of authority in the world. And every single time you give a little away, in the form of those write-ups, that's a little less you have for yourself. After a while the kids realize that YOU don't have any authority except in the form of those writeups.

    Sure, there are some times when those writeups are necessary. But I save them for the big felonies; I take care of the misdemeanors myself.

    What you do is meet the kids at the door, with work already on the board, and get them started right away. "Hi Tommy, how are you? The Do Now is up, get started, OK?" The very first kid enters silently, as does the second-- so no one is entering into a noisy room.

    It's not a question of ignoring the behavior or writing it up; it's all about getting the kids to choose the right behavior.
     
  5. steacher1

    steacher1 Rookie

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    Feb 1, 2012

    Thanks for replying. So, when tomorrow comes and they are still the same, what do you do next?
     
  6. steacher1

    steacher1 Rookie

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    Feb 1, 2012


    Thanks for the reply. What do you consider the misdemeanors? How do you handle them?

    Here's an example of something I encountered too many times. A student is sitting in the front row and turns around to talk to the student behind him/her. I confront him/her and tell him/her to be quiet. 5 minutes later, he/she is doing the same thing again. My feeling is that he/she is not only disrupting their own behavior, but disrupting the person behind him/her.
     
  7. steacher1

    steacher1 Rookie

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    Feb 1, 2012

    I meant to say disrupting their own learning...
     
  8. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Feb 1, 2012

    Well, the consequences might depend. I agree with what Alice posted about starting off getting the students to start the warm up right away.

    If they come in talkative tomorrow, I might change the lesson from group work to independent work. I might give them a quiz over yesterday's lesson. I might move a student to work in a new spot. It really depends on the lesson and students.
     
  9. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Feb 1, 2012

    I haven't written up a kid in a year and a half.

    That said, I haven't had the behaviors that would warrant it. I've threatened once or twice, but that's as far as it's gotten.

    Oops. gotta run. I'll get back to you in the morning, OK?
     
  10. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    Feb 1, 2012

    We write kids up as detentions. That's how they get detentions and then the dean can decide if it warrants a worse punishment (ISS, OSS, Saturday school, etc...). If a kid gets a certain number then he gets a SS. I've had kids begging not to get written up because he or she doesn't want the Saturday school and that curbs a lot of the behavior. If it was something super minor then I'll do a lunch detention with me or after school with me but most of the time the teachers write the kids up.
     
  11. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Feb 2, 2012

    OK, here's the progression:

    John has turned around to talk to Tim.

    (FOr starters, if I can see they're doing math, I'll say something along the lines of "John, is there something you don't understand?" If he says he's helping Tim, I'll either answer Tim's question, or let John know that "that's why they pay me the big bucks, let me help, OK?" I'll say it pleasantly, since they WERE doing the work, but not in the way I wanted.)

    The first time, I just stop and wait as I stare at John. He gets embarassed, mumbles a "sorry" and stops.

    If he starts again (he doesn't, but I'll play along) I say "JOHN!" in a tone that lets him know I mean buisness.

    If it happens again, it's "John, please see me after school."

    If he fails to show, it's detention.
     
  12. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Feb 2, 2012

    On another note, how you handle the behavior may vary by school or district as well.

    Our school wants us to document the behaviors that we see. So, a write-up maybe just be a paper trail for a student, not an actual consequence. However, our write-up has two levels. One level is for documentation and another level is for consequences with the administration.
     
  13. chebrutta

    chebrutta Enthusiast

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    Feb 2, 2012

    It's their nature in 7th grade to talk. They walk into class talking - they can't help it; at my school, they've been sitting in class for 90 minutes. It's a tough stretch for them, and I don't fight them on it.

    I do have to do a daily reminder, "Ok, the bell has rung, everyone should be copying their agenda and working on their warm-up; no one should be talking." They'll settle down. If they don't, I threaten silent lunch; if they still don't settle down, I give them silent lunch. They do not like silent lunch.

    But I do give them lots of opportunities to talk about the material in class. It helps because they get to talk to their friends, but they're talking about what I want them to talk about. (I realize I said "about" a lot. It's been a long day!)
     
  14. orangetea

    orangetea Connoisseur

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    Feb 2, 2012

    My kids talk when they enter the room. I don't see anything wrong with that; I did that when I was in high school too. I check homework, and I'm alright with them talking quietly when I do that as long as they've copied the homework assignment down because it only takes me about 1-2 minutes to check homework. Then I say "Can I have everyone's attention please?" and I expect things to quiet down after a few minutes. If someone keeps talking during the lesson, then I request that they stop. If it continues, I make them move to the front seat and ask them to stay after class to talk to me. After class, I tell them that their behavior is unacceptable and that I know that they can do better than that. It usually doesn't go to staying after class though. My school doesn't have write-ups, but we can send students to the assistant principal. I won't do that unless something really bad happens, like a student using a racial slur or hitting someone else.
     
  15. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Feb 2, 2012

    I follow my school's policies for write-ups. If students are to be written up for not being prepared, I will do that. If students are to be written up for not being in dress code, I will do that as well. I don't feel I'm giving up authority, but following school procedure. That said, I am as proactive as possible.

    Our kids are crazy right now. I have written more write-ups in the past two weeks than I did in the first two quarters combined...seriously. I don't feel a bit "guilty" about. A student chooses to write on a locker that Mr. Melrose can suck his BEEP!, then a write-up it is. So much crazy has been in the air recently that I am close to needing a mental health day.
     
  16. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    Feb 2, 2012

    Last year, my school implemented a new system that seemed to work very well for both documentation and consequences. Each class had a "logbook" they carried with them all day. Anytime a student behavior or action warranted a write-up, the STUDENT was the one who wrote down what they were doing (or not doing) that went against school or classroom policy. The teacher would then assign one or two "checks" for the offense (depending on the severity) and the student would also have to sign his/her name acknowledging the consequence received.

    The reason this worked so well was any teacher could check the behavior of any student at a glance. It also allowed the homeroom teacher to write notes about other actions taken, such as "Letter sent home to parents". This let the teacher see just how many infractions Johnny or Suzy had earned and, when they reached a certain limit, allowed the teacher to document any other actions and communications with the parents that were taken.

    So, let's say it seems like Johnny is getting behavior checks every day in every class. One quick glance at the logbook would show the homeroom teacher just how many he actually had. This, in turn, would let the teacher know if they needed to contact the parents, sent a note to the P about the behavior, recommend a visit with the counselor, etc.

    Overall, the system worked very well.
     
  17. TeachOn

    TeachOn Habitué

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    Feb 3, 2012

    I have less patience than I used to with students talking while I am talking or while a classmate is. I pretty much don't put up with it.

    That does not mean that I am grumpy all the time - I am one of your happier teachers - or that I spend a lot of time on discipline: I don't. I tell students to stop talking or to stop any other disruptive behavior in the least interruptive way I can manage: "The look," a hand gesture, a quick word. I keep the lesson going. I will NEVER be drawn during class into a debate with a student over what he or she did or did not do, over what a classmate did or did not do, or over what behavior is or is not acceptable. I never holler. (I tried this very early in my career. It doesn't work: they have you outnumbered, and you just look silly, vulnerable to manipulation)

    In the first week or two of a semester, I overlook nothing, and I don't overlook much after that.

    If a student won't comply, which doesn't happen very often, I ask the student to stay after class. I tell him or her that the behavior will not continue, that it just doesn't go on in my classroom. The next step is calling or emailing the parents, though it rarely comes to this. Generally if I call or email parents, it is about academics.

    I have in the past - when something had to be dealt with right away - taken students into the hallway to "give them a talking to," as we used to say. But I haven't had to do this in twenty years or so. (I remember the last time: it had to do with one student teasing/belittling another, something I absolutely will not have.)

    Teachers here do send students to the office, but we don't have any sort of referral slip that I am aware of. I too deal with all my own "misdemeanors," and because I do, I don't get the felonies. I haven't sent a student to the office in over twenty years. The only times I have sat with the AP ("Dean of Students") and a student were over matters of plagiarism or cheating.

    I am past retirement age, and the main reason I teach is that I enjoy it. I find it fulfilling. It makes me happy (well, MOST of the time!).

    Students are happier - and certainly more productive - in an orderly classroom, and so am I. Why settle for less?
     
  18. steacher1

    steacher1 Rookie

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    Feb 3, 2012

    That totally makes sense. When I was student teaching, I just felt like I was constantly interrupting the lesson. For some, talking might not be a big deal. For me though, trying to teach a lesson and all you hear is chitter chatter DRIVES ME CRAZY!! Ultimately, I knew that once I handed out homework or an activity to do, the ones who were talking would be the ones asking the most questions. It's definately not worth it to stop everytime I hear a student talk either. I will try to work on "the "look". I don't think I'm very good at it yet though...hahaha

    I did the hollering too and I felt stupid. It wasn't necessarily yelling at a student, but it was talking over them.

    Thank you for your reply. It made me feel alittle better!
     

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