Every teacher has had that one student who was the disruption king or queen. Teachers will try many things to manage the situation. A few that I have heard or seen over the years were timeouts, private work space, less work, more work, behavior plans, meetings with parents, behavior contracts, rewards, behavior charts, stickers, food, and many more.
These students are just relentless at disrupting or getting out of work. The teacher is relentless at trying to make it work, spending more energy, preparation, and research on this student. The teacher continues to try and improve , but finally comes to the point where it is time for someone else to get involved. Now, based on the behavior plan that the whole school has in place, this student is going to be pulled out of the classroom and placed into a room for a short while or for the day. There will be students that this is an effective method. But what about the students who this method is not effective with?
As any teacher will tell you, having that student out of the classroom is putting that student behind academically. But the behavior is difficult to overcome. So, two days of ISS here, three days of ISS there, and before we know it, that student has missed over 180 days of instructional time through their Elementary career. That is the equivalent of one school year, without even counting any sick days or other absences.
The cry for help is the behavior. Teachers work their tails off trying to do the best for the child. Having a one punishment fits all system shows an unwillingness to help, change, and adapt to make a child successful. If you have one of these students, or behavior plan in a school that is not conducive to even helping the toughest student to succeed, then continue to do your part and try to help others see the light. Doing the same thing over and over will not produce different results.
We all have that one student or many students who become major distractions in the classroom. So what do teachers do? We know exactly what they do, they react to the situation. That reaction can be extremely tough for even the best of teachers. We come up with heavy-duty consequences, but some students still continue to break the rules. So then, what is a teacher to do? Teachers have limited time with the student, so that can be the biggest factor in how it is dealt with. Teachers have more than one student, there is another factor in how it is dealt with. Those two factors alone limit the teacher on how they can get to the root of the student misbehavior. But, getting to the root of the problem could make all the difference.
So, why do students act out?
- They are having problems at home.
- When they don’t understand the lesson, they choose to push away feeling inadequate. They’d much rather see themselves as behavior problems than slow learners.
- They feel frustrated because they don’t get it, and rather than treat frustration as a doorway into learning, they push it away, and end up acting out.
- It’s possible that the lesson is inappropriate for them, and they act out as a communication to the teacher to change the lesson or the approach.
- The teacher has been reacting at them rather than responding with them.
- They are using drugs. Although drug use is often viewed as a symptom of underlying problems, once done with regularity, drugs can become the problem.
- They are having trouble with medication-not taking it, taking it too much, or not taking it regularly.
- They have emotional tension with peers.
- They are being bullied and/or intimidated by classmates.
- They are struggling in other classes.
- A myriad of other reasons, both in and out of the classroom.
Teachers continue to be the driving force behind a child to change these behaviors. We want the student to succeed and allow others to succeed. Remember, students don’t act out because they are bad people. They are simply looking for ways to establish and maintain a sense of self while navigating through the sometimes extreme experiences they have. We all know when a student acts out, it is often a call for help.
We work hard to try and get that student to change. We ask why. There are times we can’t figure out why. Change is not easy for kids or adults. There are some approaches that can make a difference.
- Want to change
- Know how to change
- Have opportunities to practice changing
- Be conscious of their choices as they are choosing them
- Receive ongoing support from the teacher
Assuming the best for the student who is constantly beating the teacher down can disrupt and distract a teacher from doing what they do. You may be the only positive person who can continue to try and keep the student on a path that can help them be successful. Hold it together, and work your magic.
Could you imagine a doctors office with 25 patients sitting in the waiting room, all needing the doctor’s attention at the same time, having 5 of them being disrespectful and disruptive, being dealt with the same way, with the same care, and not being able to be removed from the office until treated?
Teachers do this on a daily basis and are not permitted to have a bad day. Keep on teaching, you are great.
We have constant blame on children and schools in society. “The schools aren’t doing their job.” “Students have no respect.” “Students don’t work hard.” “Teachers aren’t teaching.” The list goes on.
What everyone is afraid to say is that we have a parenting problem with today’s children. We no longer have a focus on getting a quality education, having a career, and following rules and laws in society. Why is this happening? What has changed? What is going wrong?
Children learn by modeled behavior. That day when the parent takes the child to the store, and the parent said something rude to a person, guess what? Your child was listening. That time you made fun of how someone was dressed, guess what? Your child was listening. That time the child got in trouble at school, and you blamed it on the teacher, guess what? Your child was listening. That time you were using drugs, guess what? Your child was watching. When you disrespected authority, guess what? Your child was watching. You know that time when your child failed a class without you doing anything about it, guess what? You showed them that it was acceptable.
It is easy to see that parents are forming these young minds. A teacher does not have any magic dust to sprinkle on a child to make them perform and behave appropriately. These students are exposed to adults who display poor behavior. The family world that they live in provides the guidance they need to be successful. The school provides the opportunities to be successful.
When you have an inappropriate world crashing with an appropriate world, the easiest and most exposed world to live in is the inappropriate world.
Thank you parents for providing this inappropriate world!