So my student had an interesting day the other day. She has been doing so well and we’ve been progressing in behavior and respect. But the other day, just had issues. She actually acted up while my supervisor came to observe me. The problem I have is that her behavior is so inconsistent. There is no telling when it will hit. She came in from recess and sat away from the carpet because her allergies were bothering her. Then, I gave her enough time and asked her to come back to the carpet. She circled everyone around the carpet and was very disrespectful but finally sat down. Then she sat facing away from me because she did not want to do what she was told. I asked her to turn back. Then, she complained about her shoe and went and sat at a table behind the carpet. I was pretty firm with her the whole time, but she was completely taking about from the lesson. After talking with my supervisor, she told me that it was evident that I still had control because she still did what she was told. However, now we are facing the disrespect issue like we’ve been facing. I am planning on talking with the counselor at school, but he has been busy everytime I’ve tried to talk to him, so that will happen.
I know that I’ve tried so many strategies. It’s not that she thinks that I don’t love her. She comes in every morning and gives me a hug, tells me she loves me. I ask her about her life. I’ve sat down and talked to her about what’s going on in her life. I give her positive reinforcement. I really want to talk to her grandma that she lives with, but she works during the day and it’s been hard to get in touch with her. It’s hard when it is this inconsistent, and now it’s like a couple weeks left in teaching and hard to know what to do.
I read the article, “Collaborative Preteaching of Students at Risk for Academic Failure.” In this article, it talked about what it meant to preteach and how to intervene for students at risk. Many times as we know, we can see when a student is at risk long before the build-up of ramifications happens. This article addresses the fact that we can preteach and model for students before a unit is discussed so they have the advantage of knowing material within the unit. I think this also helps with confidence of the student to feel like what they are learning is interesting and they know something about it. It prevents the child from feeling lost in the classroom when discussing a topic. The article presents the idea that a teacher would need to plan ahead and have the student go over something like vocabulary before a topic is introduced. This is called preteaching. I think the article lays this out specifically for this to happen with resource teachers or specialists. I think this is a great way to use the specialists and collaborate. The specialists will be able to give a background and some knowledge of the topic before it is taught. I can see this even happening with specialists for the whole class instead of a specific group of students or in addition to these students.
The setback is we as teachers have to really really plan ahead. I am already learning to do that even more than I already do right now, but it can be difficult when you have a child at risk to plan way ahead for them as well. It does add up. I’m counting on the fact that it will continue to get easier and smoother as I go along, as it already has.
My student is doing better for sure than when we started. She has progressed immensely, not acting out with throwing of chairs or tables. Now, we are addressing behavior issues that relate to disrespect and tattling. I tend to ask her a lot who her responsibility is and she has a hard time answering that question still because she wants to tell me everything else everyone else did. Finally she will let me know that she knows that her responsibility is her. Then I ask her who my responsibility is and she says everyone else. So I think the more I ask her this, the more she will understand what a tattle is and when it is ok to come to the teacher and when it is not. We used to have her “tell it to the turtle” in which she would write it on a note card and put it in the mailbox. However, I think that this was not that effective because no one would answer her note cards.
The other thing we struggle with is disrespect. Whenever she has to be asked to do something multiple times and she has trouble listening, she gets upset and her facial expressions and tone changes. She crosses her arms and says WHAT!? Then she makes noises with her mouth. We are working on the disrespect issues and she doesn’t say WHAT as much anymore. She has trouble with her math skills especially. I notice that some of the disrespect issues occur when she tries to answer a math question and it is wrong. I know that she is upset that she does not answer the question right, but we are working with her math skills to try and improve them and her confidence.
This article was interesting because it listed many behavior challenges and the reasons that a child may act out in class. I have a student right now that is not my behavior student that continues to act out in class. I have been trying to pin point his behavior. I thought it might be me being the teacher and the fact that we might not have as strong of a relationship, but I got to know some things about him outside of school through him. He opened up to me and is still disrespectful and disruptive. Then, I tried lots of positive behavior support and am still trying this, but it’s been hard to find times to encourage him in positive behavior, and I’m not sure that it is working for him. I also thought that he might be disinterested in particular with the books that I’ve been reading in his guided reading group, but I’ve picked numerous kinds of books that I thought he might connect with, and he still says he doesn’t want to read everytime he comes to guided reading. It is really frustrating because I am trying to work with him, and I am trying to give solutions, but there’s no help on the other side. I don’t really think that he has an impulsive behavior. I think he wants attention, but not necessarily in a positive way because he doesn’t know how to receive the positive. I don’t think he gets to spend much time with his dad, but he always talks about his dad like he is his world. I really have never met his dad, but have spoken on the phone with him once. I’m not quite sure how close they are or how much time they get together. This might affect how he acts in school. He complains he is tired a lot and doesn’t want to be at school. He will say he wants to switch classes, and while this hurts my feelings I know he is just trying to get at me in some way to get a reaction. I think he knows he cannot, and he is trying to see what he can get away with. I don’t know; I guess we will see how this pans out. It’s hard not to get frustrated. For now I am going to continue trying positive reinforcers.
I also have a student that has been diagnosed with ADD, but I’m not sure about the hyperactivity. He is very hyperactive after lunch, and I believe that is when his medicine wears off. It’s really interesting because he is like in his own world. It is interesting to watch because it is like he doesn’t even know people exist around him until I loudly and firmly say his name. I’m not one to judge whether he should be put on medicine or not, but I can’t say we did much before he got tested for ADD, so I’m not sure if we could have found a different solution. I’m also not sure that the medicine would mess things up now.
So this is what I know of my child so far: She lives with her grandmother. Her mother I think has been involved in drugs in the past and is now living on her own. Whenever my student sees her mom, she usually acts out in the classroom. At the beginning of the year she had just seen her mom and the time before that her mom told her she was going to make a place for her at her house. However, when she visited, she had not made a place for her. In class, my student refused to follow directions, threw a crayon, started screaming and crying, threw herself on the ground then started throwing chairs. After talking to her grandmother, we found out the situation and that she struggles with trust and feeling like she is not being abandoned.
A lot of the time she will act out refusing to follow directions. She also is a huge tattler. She craves attention. She is extremely smart in literacy, but struggles with her math skills. I have had issues with her lately being disrespectful. Although she’s been disrespectful and refused to follow directions, we have had a really good end of the week. She is a child that I have to constantly speak to firmly or else she does not respond. However, she always comes up to me to give me hugs every morning and tells me she loves me. She knows that I love her and care for her. I decided that I needed to be more intentional about the times where she was having positive behavior, so I started praising her doing good things. Thursday and Friday were a great success, and I believe it was due to this fact.
A couple of weeks ago, I sat down with her after she was being disruptive in class and asked her why she acted the way she did and what she was thinking when she acted that way. She was not able to respond with much. I wanted to be the one that could listen in the conversation, but it ended up being ok. I got to explain to her that I wanted her to be successful in school and I could only help her be successful if she let me. We talked about her being disruptive in class and how that affected her classmates learning as well as hers. I wanted to do this to build more of a relationship with her and sit down and talk through things with her. I hope to be able to do this again if there is another time where she acts out hugely. This I hope was a foundation.
I definitely think that developing a positive environment in the classroom is something that I will be working on for a long time. There are so many things involved in doing this that it’s a little overwhelming to put all of them together. I wish there was a template that worked for every class I ever have, but that’s just not the case. We have to take into account the different children and their different needs.
I think it is very important to take anecdotal notes and record behavior of children in the class, especially those that have behavioral management issues. However, with all the recording Salend talked about in the beginning, I feel like this is a bit unrealistic. There is not time in the day to record the behavior management issues you have with a child or children. Of course this would have to take place after lessons or school. I guess I just looked at this and thought, I am not going to be able to do all this. However, I think there are some very great techniques to recording data about students.
Most of this I feel like is a review of everything we’ve talked about especially with Dr. Wilkerson about how to maintain a positive environment for students in the classroom. I think it’s a good reminder though of what to do. I’m struggling right now as I am taking on more responsibility in the classroom. I have one student with behavioral management issues that is feeling out my management in the classroom. I don’t think I have as demanding of a voice as my teacher does, but most of the kids still respond to me well. I don’t want to be as forceful as my teacher can be sometimes. I want to develop relationships with the kids and still be an authority figure over them. This one student is testing me though, and I am running out of strategies. she is an extremely bright student and she always gets excited to see me, but during instruction time, she is slack on the rules. And sometimes it really does disrupt the positive environment in our classroom. So I will have to continue to try strategies and stay strong, but maybe I can pick up the praise of her good work while she is doing good work.