Monday, November 1, 2010

Tips & Tricks: Dealing With Disrespect

You have a guest speaker who has a workbook for your students to use. You have a student who is refusing to work. You ask her to hand you her workbook so someone who wants to work can use it. She throws it on the floor at your feet and stares at you. What's your next move?

This isn't normal behavior for her, so she clearly has something going on that is causing her to act out. However, she just seriously disrespected you in your classroom and now all of the students are watching what you're going to do. One wrong move and you could lose every single student in that room. The pressure's on!

Don't yell. She's used to someone yelling at her when she's in trouble, and I guarantee you, she's better at it than you. If you engage a student in an argument, you've already lost because you're arguing with a child. Choosing not to yell can be very difficult sometimes. Sometimes you have a kid that acts like this with alarming frequency.

I take deep, even breaths and slowly repeat the direction the student has just disregarded. I try to imagine what the student looked like when she was little. I imagine her when she was six or four or even a little toddler. It helps me remember that students are humans too, prone to their own bad moods.

If she's still disregarding the direction, I ask if she'd like to talk in the hallway. Removing the "audience" from the equation can help. Without her classmates watching, she might be more likely to back down without threatening her pride. Once in the hallway, I ask what's wrong and how I can help. Sometimes I'm met with a stony stare. Other times I'm met with an deluge of tears and a full confession of everything that is currently going wrong. You never know what you're going to get. In both instances, I offer to send her to talk to someone in our youth and family service center.

If she refused the offer to talk in class and is still creating a scene, I have no choice but to send her out. I'll offer to send her to the youth and family service center, but she'll usually pick the office. Sometimes she'll go willingly. Other times, she needs someone to walk her down to the office. Whatever happens, you don't respond to the threats. You don't respond to the name-calling. You don't respond to the cussing. No response is best in these instances.

After all of this, you'll eventually have some kid in class raise his hand and ask if you're "mad" or if you "hate" that other student. It's best to stay away from these words. I stick with "disappointed" and "frustrated" when discussing my emotions regarding a student. Anger and hatred are passionate, uncontrolled emotions. Disappointed and frustrated show that you expect better from your students because you know they can and will do better.

1 comment:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...