A lesson in respect?

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-21-2008
A lesson in respect?
12
Sat, 08-23-2008 - 9:33am

I have a particular class this year that has already proved to be a challenge. It's a small class made up of mainly girls, and because of the "brilliant" scheduling ideas of our guidance counselor, nearly all the kids in this particular class are either identified or low in reading ability/comprehension skills. The ability levels aren't the issue. I can work with it, but it's the behavior that is causing me trouble.

To make matters worse, many of these girls are friends and they are what we now call "mean girls." They tell one another to shut up, are generally rude to one another and when I call them on it, they say it's all in fun, they're friends and they all know they're joking. My number one rule in my class is that everyone treats one another with respect, both in physical action and in words. I spoke with them at length on Wednesday that this type of behavior has no place in my classroom, and they did for one day, but they started in again at the end of class yesterday.

I'm completely at a loss at how to get these girls to stop acting this way at least in my class. Had our counselor done a better job of distributing students in this section and another, it wouldn't be such an issue.


Photobucket
"Aut dosce, aut disce, aut discede" - Latin Proverb
  "Aut dosce, aut disce, aut discede"

Pages

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Sat, 08-23-2008 - 12:18pm

What a nasty group!

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-24-2003
Sat, 08-23-2008 - 2:22pm

I agree with most of Pam's advice. I'd add a little of my experience to it. When I had a group like this it took daily reminders, little comments, looks, conferences and also major plans for behavior modifications. With girls they go for challenges to earn rewards that feed their interests. I did a point loss system once where I put up a line of tags/tickets along the chalk tray numbered from 1-100. At certain places, every ten or fifteen tags, there was a reward. The biggest reward was first and they got smaller at each interval.

Sherry

 

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-04-2006
Sat, 08-23-2008 - 4:10pm

You didn't mention what age you teach, but I'll tell you how I'd handle it. I'd go over the expectation for respectful behavior ad nauseum. I'd remind them frequently. Maybe I'd assign an assignment asking the students to somehow demonstrate an understanding of "respect" (ie write and perform a skit, write an essay, make a video demonstrating, etc.). I'd give consequences to the ones that simply refuse to give up the mean behavior. Praise them when they handle things in a way that you like.


Thing is, when you have a problem like this, the kids tend to feed off of one another. Nip it in the bud instantly when it happens. Say things like "Jenny, that comment was inappropriate and mean. Your consequence will be _____", and then move on. Stay calm about it. It's the expectation that students will be respectful, period. If you get emotionally involved, then the "mean girls" get secondary gain out of getting a rise out of you.


What I currently do with my kids (remember that I teach music to grades K-5) is reward good behavior by handing out tickets. On Fridays, the entire grade level meets together in the gym for specials. The PE teacher also uses the ticket system. We collect the tickets on Friday, and draw out 3-4 kids per grade level that then get to come choose a small prize. This way, we can recognize the kids that do good things without going broke buying a ton of prizes every week.


I don't think I'd do that system if I taught older kids. Perhaps a merit/demerit system, with participation in some sort of fun after school activity as the reward to be earned for maintaining so many merit points?

Glitter Text Generatorpregnancy


Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

Photobucket

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-17-2008
Sat, 08-23-2008 - 7:19pm
I had a class of 23 one year with 11 students who saw the counselor for behavior issues on a regular basis. It was a nightmare but I lived through it. One thing I did was change their seats every Friday afternoon. It keeps them off balance when they can't get too used to who they sit next to. If they are young and you have tables just put their names on the back of the chairs and move them. Request desks if you can, then you can isolate them if they need to be and allow them to rejoin a group if they behave. I have a color coded stick-changing plan in place. They all start on green, then if they misbehave after a few warnings they change to a blue stick, both the green and the blue earn a happy face in the agenda (I sign my initials by the face). After blue comes yellow, they sign my log book, write what they have done and the date, lose 10 minutes of recess or silent lunch (what ever you can take away) and get a straight line face in their agenda. If they continue to misbehave they put in a red stick, sign the book, lose all of recess, and get a frowny face with a note to the parent. Serious problems get a discipline referral of course. Students who go all week without going to a yellow stick go to the prize box on Friday afternoon. I have them applaud the people who get called up for prizes. I include not doing homework, or being on task as a stick change if it is happening often. To start this plan you have to let them somehow get through a week and win a prize so they know what it feels like to win. It is best to start from day one. Since school has started you may want to start it on a Wednesday so they only have to go a couple of days. Send a note home to parents about the policy and make sure they sign their child's agenda every night! For prizes I do Fruit roll-ups, bouncy balls, pouch juices, and cheap things from the dollar store. Hope this helps! Good luck!
iVillage Member
Registered: 11-05-2006
Sat, 08-23-2008 - 7:28pm

I would recommend buying a copy of the book You Have to go to School You-re the Teacher!

Photobucket
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-21-2008
Sun, 08-24-2008 - 9:26am

Thanks for the ideas and advice, everyone.

I've been on this board so long that I forget that not everyone knows what I teach. These are high school sophomores so what works for elementary kids won't work with them. They would balk at most of it. I know it's so ingrained in their behavior, it's going to take a while to modify their behaviors in the classroom. Luckily, we have an extremely strict but extremely fair discipline policy throughout the school this year that's meant to encourage behavior modification in a caring environment. I have sway over one girl because she's on student council and I've already given them a speech on leadership and conduct for the school year.

Like I said, if the counselor had done a better job of distributing kids in this section and another, it probably wouldn't be as big of an issue. I'll keep you all updated on how this goes.


Photobucket
"Aut dosce, aut disce, aut discede" - Latin Proverb
  "Aut dosce, aut disce, aut discede"
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Sun, 08-24-2008 - 10:37am

Good luck!!!

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-24-2003
Sun, 08-24-2008 - 12:08pm

Pam: I think Ms. M received several responses from some of the newer members on the board. I doubt if they knew her grade level or what subject she teaches.

Sherry

 

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-25-2007
Sun, 08-24-2008 - 12:32pm
Hi I've dealt with the same issue in middle school.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-24-2003
Sun, 08-24-2008 - 12:55pm

Don't be so sure that all elementary ideas won't work in HS. I've

Sherry

 

Pages