"You are beginning to annoy me"

Discussion in 'Debate & Marathon Threads Archive' started by Peregrin5, Oct 31, 2012.

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  1. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    It probably wasn't the best thing to say to a student, but today I had a student who directly lied about the instructions I gave and insisted that I said everyone could get up and sit with whoever they want (I have NEVER given this instruction). Then she begin calling on her friends to verify her claim (which they did even though she called only on students who I know for a FACT never listen to my instructions).

    I had been patiently letting her talk until I had to let her know calmly, that I was beginning to get very annoyed.

    She took this the wrong way and asked me something like "why would you say that to a child?"

    Apparently her mom is notorious for enabling her bratty behavior as well, and often complains to the office or about other things and believes that everyone is discriminating against them because they are Black, so I've given her a call already, and she was grateful for the immediate phone call, but I could tell that she didn't think her daughter did anything wrong.

    Is it really that bad to say "I am getting annoyed" or "you are beginning to annoy me"?
     
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  3. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Wouldnt have been my choice of words.
     
  4. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Yes. I definitely need to be careful of that in the future. It wasn't said after much deliberation either. I was getting stressed and angry and doing my best not to show it on my face.

    On another note, it really seems as if kids are feeling victimized today.

    I had a student threaten to tell the principal on me because I made him throw away a piece of trash that he insisted wasn't his even though I just saw him throw it across the room. Gosh, I wonder how he's even able to deal with such abuse. :rolleyes:
     
  5. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    I think that instead of letting it begin to getting annoying, you need to stop the behavior as soon as it starts (or before if you can). Don't allow the student the ability to ask other students the direction, just reexplain the direction and move on with the lesson.
     
  6. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    I had explained the direction multiple times to her. She was intent on trying to draw me into an argument, but I didn't let her. She had been out of her seat multiple times already. I remained calm and waited for her to stop. When she didn't, it began to build my irritation.

    In hindsight, I should have simply given her a consequence.
     
  7. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    What you can probably do now is apologize to her for your choice of words, but explain why her words and actions were creating a problem for you and the other students. Showing that you are capable of admitting you made a mistake may actually help her see her own lapses in judgement.
     
  8. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    I did apologize to her only a few minutes afterwards because I did feel that was an incorrect choice of words. She responded by ignoring me and walking away, leaving me feeling like I shouldn't have apologized to her in the first place.

    Later on another student (one of her friends) asked her "why don't you just punch him, since you're super woman? (She is dressed as superwoman) She looked at me at smiled impertinently.

    The level of disrespect I felt in class today is intolerable, and thinking back on it, there is nothing wrong with telling a child I am annoyed at her if she is doing something annoying and I almost feel like bringing that other student back in and talking to him about what he said (punching me).

    Tomorrow, I'm jumping right into consequences. She and her troop have lost all of their chances.
     
  9. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Yes, I would have stopped the behavior with a consequence. And I would definitely have talked to the child who mentioned punching you.

    The problem with telling a student that they are annoying you is that they now know exactly what buttons to press. Your goal should be to not allow the students to see that they are annoying you and deal with the behavior before it gets that far.
     
  10. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    THAT is too much, suggesting to punch a teacher. Time to bring out the Hammer of Consequences.
     
  11. CindyBlue

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    I don't know why it wouldn't be OK to say. You WERE annoyed, for very good reason. And when she asked why you would say this to a child, it seemed to me that she was being very disrespectful, almost baiting you or setting you up.
     
  12. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Very good point. I try not to let my wall of calm break down, but today it was crumbling for some reason. (it hasn't fallen yet though) It may just be a bad day for me.
     
  13. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    It happens to all of us. Just know that all your students saw what happened and be ready to stop this behavior before it can really get started.
     
  14. Shanoo

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    I agree. I've told my students that they were beginning to annoy me before. Why? Because they were. My tone wasn't harsh or mean, but it was a statement of fact. My students can be very immature. They do things that are not necessarily consequence-worthy but they need to stop. Like talking with funny accents. Not during whole class discussions, but when doing group work. Hearing 20 accented voices (sometimes martian, sometimes robot - it changes) gets annoying. So I tell them so. And they know it. Sometimes they as me if they're being annoying. If they are, I'll say yes.

    Edited to add that the scenario above is also 8th grade.
     
  15. greendream

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    I don't think it's really that bad to say that you're annoyed, but it does kind of give the kid the upper hand.

    The scenario you describe happens to me from time to time. A kid will go into this big dramatic reenactment of what I supposedly said, and even employ expert witnesses like they did in your class. What I usually do is stare at them blankly, pause for a moment, and then say, "Moving on..."
     
  16. platypusok

    platypusok Companion

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    I've told kids/classes before that they were beginning to annoy/irritate me. My seventh graders like to make random sounds. I don't know why. It drives me insane.
     
  17. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Maybe because they know it annoys you?
     
  18. Shanoo

    Shanoo Habitué

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    Meh. I've had seventh graders continue to make sounds just because. One of my kiddos today came dressed at a mobster from the 40s. Before homeroom, I could hear him at his locker saying "I'm in the mafia, see?" in that classic 40s voice. Over and over and over again. Then, he came to homeroom and continued it. I overheard him saying it at recess. And again at lunch. It wasn't to get anyone-in-particular's goat. He was with different people every time and, on most occasions, he didn't know I could overhear him.

    Sometimes kids in middle school do annoying things for no particular reason.
     
  19. knitter63

    knitter63 Groupie

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    Peregrin, I think you are beating yourself up for nothing. It is not that bad that you told a student that you were annoyed. You are human. People will annoy you.
    Even though I wouldn't make it a habit, I don't see the big deal. And I wouldn't have apologized to the student either. There was nothing to apologize for.
     
  20. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    I said it very calmly and matter-of-factly as well. She simply chose to react like it was shocking to her. Perhaps because I rarely tell students something as personal as my feelings at the moment. I'm very businesslike most of the time. I have 8th graders too. >_<

    The kids were telling each other I was having a bad day today. I don't really think I acted any different than I normally would today. I did catch a lot of people showing inappropriate behavior (staying off task ALL day, wearing sunglasses in my class, throwing paper), and I responded to it as I normally would which was reprimand the student who refused to work, confiscating the glasses and making the student pick up the paper he threw and throw it away.

    I almost feel like they simply thought I would be easier on them today because it's Halloween and I simply wasn't having it, so they overreacted.
     
  21. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Thanks Knitter. I will try to clarify that it was her behavior that was beginning to annoy me and not her herself. I don't want to destroy the chance of a good relationship with this student.
     
  22. Rebecca1122

    Rebecca1122 Comrade

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    In one of my early childhood classes in college, we were taught a certain method to communicate to young children about their behavior choices. I can't remember what the method was called or the exact details but the format went something like this-
    'I feel _____ when you ______. Please ______'
    Ex: I feel frustrated when you leave your blocks out. Please go clean them up.
    I think sometimes kids don't realize how their actions make others feel... and it's okay to verbalize that. I usually don't use the word annoy but I have definitely told kids/classes that I was feeling frustrated by whatever their actions were. She was just mad that someone was calling her out on the behavior. Don't sweat it!
     
  23. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    It's called an 'I statement'
     
  24. BumbleB

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    Yes, I use this a lot with my students who lack social skills. Sometimes they honestly don't know that what they're doing is annoying. Often times, I mention "other kids" because that's who middle schoolers care about impressing...not their dorky teacher.

    For example, I would have said, "Jenny, when you cause a disturbance in class, other students may lose focus or start to get annoyed. Please return to your seat and get to work. I will check back with you in five minutes to see your progress".

    But in your case Peregrin, it doesn't seem like your student has a social skills deficit. It sounds like she is trying to engage you in a power struggle. I agree with what everyone else said: remain calm and let the consequences do the talking.
     
  25. Rebecca1122

    Rebecca1122 Comrade

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    Yep that's it! You'd think I could remember that term :lol:
     
  26. lucybelle

    lucybelle Connoisseur

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    I tell kids that things they do are annoying. Like they whine all the time and I'll say ''Whining is annoying, I'll talk to you when you can speak in a normal voice''

    I've also said things bother me. ''when you yell 'teacher teacher' over and over again it bothers me. Raise your hand like you know is the rule''

    I usually try to avoid directly speaking about the kid. Instead I talk about their actions. You had a slip up, in the future I'd say speak to the actions, not the kid.
     
  27. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    I agree with those who pointed out that while the phrase 'you annoy me' is not the best choice, it's REALLY not a big deal. Certainly not something you should worry about, and definitely not something to apologize to the students for.
    I agree that you don't want to let students know that they're annoying you, because you may be rewarding them with a result they're looking for, but I think it depends on what you say, how you say it and the situation it happens in.

    I would certainly choose words such as 'annoying', 'irritating' or 'disappointing' over 'getting me upset', 'getting on my nerves', etc. For example there was a time when a few students always asked me "Miss M. are you mad?" "you guys, I think she's getting mad". That was annoying when they said it, because I didn't even look like or felt like I was getting mad. So I would respond with 'no, I'm not mad, although your behavior is annoying". or "Well, I'm getting a little annoyed, but you will never see me mad". Did I give away power? No. I let them know that they were pushing the limits, and soon there was going to be a consequence.

    So it really all depends on a lot of variables, but this is not something you should worry about. And apologize to the student? I'm sorry, but I do feel that the students feel so entitled, and often we enable them. I really don't think you hurt their feelings by saying they annoyed you, so why apologize? That may be giving them more power, by letting them know that you're tiptoing around their feelings, and you're scared that somehow you upset them.
     
  28. Loomistrout

    Loomistrout Devotee

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    From your posts you are showing and working on remaining calm when provoked which is a good practice. In theory remaining calm when provoked seems sensible, adult and above the fray. In practice it is one of the most difficult "skills" for any teacher (or adult) to master let alone demonstrate vast improvement in a short time. This is not because remaining calm is all that difficult. It's because old habits we have acquired over a lifetime keep creeping in just when the new skill is attempting a foothold. Our cognitive brain whispers, "Relax, stay calm, don't take the bait, let the student do all the work and look foolish" while emotional brain explodes, "Are you going to let the student talk to you like that? Do something!"

    Backtalk Plan

    When working with a group of students gifted in the art of backtalk one needs a backtalk plan as important as an instructional plan. It's too late (as most experience) to try to wing-it, in the moment and caught off guard by some lippy remark. Without a plan of what to do and practiced in advance vulnerability to flapping the flames with talk almost always will be the result. Consider: Brainstorm a list of all the typical (and not) backtalk you have experienced or might experience. No need to get outrageous just the typical, denial, blaming and, yes, even compliments. From the list prioritize the most common - ones that really push your buttons to the mild ones. Now jot down what you are going to do about each. Attach this plan to your instructional plan and keep it visible (desk?) as a constant reminder. By attaching discipline plan on top of instructional plan one is making discipline the priority, a mind-set which says to students my management system, me, has just entered the room.
     
  29. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    You are a master, do you know that? :cool:
     
  30. John Lee

    John Lee Groupie

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    It's not bad at all. I've actually told students this exact thing, in the exact same way (business-like). There was no need to apologize (unless you wanted to apologize that she took it the wrong way).

    You said nothing inappropriate.
     
  31. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

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    We have a tough job because we are "on stage" all day. There are many times when, in hindsight, something could have been handled differently.

    You've been given some good advice. I don't think what you said was too bad...I would just chalk it up as a learning experience and forget about it. :)
     
  32. Loomistrout

    Loomistrout Devotee

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    Thanks but far from it.
     
  33. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    Great idea, and really one that should be applied across behavioral scenarios - not just backtalk!
     
  34. scmom

    scmom Enthusiast

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    When working with a group of students gifted in the art of backtalk one needs a backtalk plan as important as an instructional plan. It's too late (as most experience) to try to wing-it, in the moment and caught off guard by some lippy remark. Without a plan of what to do and practiced in advance vulnerability to flapping the flames with talk almost always will be the result. Consider: Brainstorm a list of all the typical (and not) backtalk you have experienced or might experience. No need to get outrageous just the typical, denial, blaming and, yes, even compliments. From the list prioritize the most common - ones that really push your buttons to the mild ones. Now jot down what you are going to do about each. Attach this plan to your instructional plan and keep it visible (desk?) as a constant reminder. By attaching discipline plan on top of instructional plan one is making discipline the priority, a mind-set which says to students my management system, me, has just entered the room.


    Good plan. So...what are your suggestions?
     
  35. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    This is some of the brainstorming I've done so far:

    "You didn't say that!"
    "I was just *insert excuse here*"
    "No."
    "I don't feel like it."
    "You can't make me"
    *laughs*
    *smiles at you*
    *rolls eyes*
    "I just needed help with this."
    "But I was raising my hand and you weren't answering me!"
    "Are you serious?"
    *ignores*
    *turns away from eye contact*
    "I DON'T have to do that."
    "That's messed up."
    *tries to start an argument*
    "I have a question though!"
    "You're annoying."
    *groan*
    "God!"
    "This class sucks!"
    "You ask us to do too much!"
    *sticks tongue out*
    *glares back at you*

    I've organized most of the backtalk into these categories:
    accusations
    excuses
    refusal
    acting cute
    disrespect/personal attacks
    frustration
    ignoring
    lethargy
    redirection
    unexpected (i.e. responding with something completely unrelated like: "GET TO DE CHOPPAH!" -Yes, this happens)

    Not all of it is backtalk, but they are all responses a student can have to being redirected, being given an instruction, etc.
     
  36. Loomistrout

    Loomistrout Devotee

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    Try not to engage backtalk with backtalk. Student backtalk is typically denying or blaming in response to a teacher's request for cooperation. Whether the problem, backtalk, gets larger or smaller will depend for the most part on the teacher's reaction to backtalk. Talking by the teacher at this juncture is backtalk (from the teacher) and often, with the best of intentions, actually reinforces the behavior, backtalk, which the teacher is trying to eliminate. Too often the teacher responds to backtalk which cues the next backtalk. It begins to escalate, literally a war of words to see who can top the other. Of course the whole class is watching. This is the teacher's big moment, a chance to demonstrate who is really in control of this situation. Typically the teacher begins to realize verbal volleyball is going nowhere except to elevate heart rate and blood pressure. As the saying goes, My life is in the hands of any fool who makes me lose my temper. The problem needs to end. It has become theater with the teacher backed into a corner. To save face and demonstrate power the teacher will often do what is the most used reason for office referrals - writing a student up for defiance (backtalk).

    There is no one technique that will eliminate backtalk all the time in all situations. There is a technique that will eliminate most backtalk and make it a rare event: move your body not your mouth. It's extremely difficult to have a conversation with someone who won't participate. Calm signals control while upset signals weakness. At least if you feel you must write up the student do it from a calm, rational thinking brain versus a brain whirling with anger and revenge.
     
  37. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    I agree. I think the best thing to do is ignore it, but in a way that the student knows I am aware, but I chose not to take action. I always feel that if I ignore something, the student will think that I'm not even aware of what's going on, or it's ok, because I ignore it or I'm even afraid to say something.
    So ignoring it, but looking at the student works best for me. I usually just slowly shake my head once, as in slowly saying: nooooo.
    A lot of ,y classroom management is done nonverbally: walk around, use proximity, but mostly communicate with my face or hands:
    - stare at them with a straight face, letting them know I'm I'm aware
    - put my finger to my lips, signaling to be quiet
    - shake my head slowly
    - look at the student, look at his book to direct him to work
    - it even works with small stuff. My students like to put their feet up on the chair in front of them, which I cannot stand: they show that they're very relaxed. All I have to do is look at their feet, look at them, look back back at their feet, and they fix the problem
    - make a note on the roster

    I can do any of these while I'm talking, so my instruction doesn't even get interrupted, I can do it while they're reading, a student is answering a question, pretty much any time.

    This really works almost all the time. When it doesn't work, after a few of these 'warning', I just say something short "If you say one more thing, I'm going to write you up" (being disruptive, talking out of turn, etc, or "you need to stop, otherwise you'll be doing that outside" (meaning they get kicked out.

    By handling the students this way, I hardly talk, which leaves me with enough energy for instruction. I don't get exhausted by the end of the day. I think it's amazing that so many teachers nag, nag, nag, and it doesn't work because the students tune them out, but nonverbal interventions work so effectively.
     
  38. Rockguykev

    Rockguykev Connoisseur

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    If a kid can't handle being called annoying you weren't ever going to have a good relationship with him/her any way. That's ridiculous. You teach 8th grade for goodness' sake. Sometimes people are annoying. Sometimes they are jerks. If nobody calls them on it they'll keep doing it.
     
  39. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    No big deal at all. None. Kids do annoying things. Oftentimes it is unintentional. The constant tapping of a pencil, drumming of the fingers, humming a song.

    I have a student that pops her gum when she is concentrating on a task. Again, no biggie. I have no problem saying "Suzy! You're starting to get on my nerves!" in a light-hearted manner. I've never had a child take offense to it.

    If the child in the original post had asked ME why I would say such a thing to a child, my response would be "because that child is being annoying." Big whoop.
     
  40. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    I wouldn't go so far as to say that I won't ever have a good relationship with the student.

    I don't know if it was the parent phone call, the way I dealt with the situation (which I felt was appropriate), or whatnot, but the student has been very respectful recently. You are right, they do need to be called on it sometimes.
     
  41. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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    I've never said anything like this or similar to a kid. I've also never said anything I regretted later to any student nor coworker, but I DO have a few students that are annoying & I'd prefer not to work with them if it were up to me. At most, I remind them to get focused/get back to work, etc. But there's a lot of things I WISH I could say! :)
     
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