Using Her Powers for Good instead of Evil…
Posted by newbie-tchr at 10:43 pm in Classroom management, students

stewie Pictures, Images and Photos
First week’s over and done with, and

I’ve always been one of those annoying people who can find the good in everything, and so I’m trying to keep that in check, but my situation seems almost ideal. My peers, both teachers and fellow student teachers are awesome, the kids are interesting in a good way, and I’m a government nerd teaching government. But I did say “almost ideal…”

I have a student, and I know we all have these students, that I can already foresee trouble with. She’s been known to get into physical and verbal fights with students, and hasn’t hesitated to try and do the same with teachers in the past. All of this would be tolerable, even fine, if she didn’t have the adverse effect of seemingly “spoiling” the students who sit around her. I don’t know how or why, but there’s this quality in this child that’s almost a magnet. But instead of being a magnet of positive energy, it’s more of a magnet for bringing out the hateful side in people. So if you couldn’t tell – potential problem student.

Now, I figure instead of giving myself a complex about this child, I might as well make a plan of attack for taking all those potentially negative qualities about her being in my class and using it to my advantage. Contrary to her initial attitude on coming in to the class, I’ve found that she responds pretty well to positive attention AND looooooves being given a task. (I don’t question it, but it’s amazing how kids get excited about something so simple as passing out papers – it’s totally awesome.) So my solution? In two days I’m teaching my first solo lesson(s), which entails of a of a lecture on the origins of American government using a tool called¬†Prezi, and a competitive game reviewing the information students just learned out of the lecture. (In regards to Prezi – use it and you’ll realize how cool and addictive it is, plus kids actually pay attention since it’s not like anything they’ve seen before) So for my little problem-child, I’m going to incorporate her into my review game, having her help keep track of scores on the SMARTboard. It may seem stupid, but I already told her about it and she was really excited already. ¬†Plus, it’ll give her that purpose to encourage her to behave in class, while separating her from her peers and taking away that negative influence she seems to have. We’ll see if it works, but I’m really crossing my fingers on this one. If anyone has other ideas/behavior management techniques that would work with such a confrontational student, please feel free to pass them on. My teacher has been great, but I feel like new ideas wouldn’t be a bad thing to add to the toolbox.

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  1. I totally agree with having a “plan’ to manage this student ahead of time. Have you read or heard of “Teach Like a Champion” by Doug Lemov. I have been teaching a long time and just recently read this book. It has loads of great techniques that you can apply straight away in the classroom. I’ve already adapted my teaching to incorporate some of the techniques and am really excited by the impact on student learning.

    It may be that this student has had little positive attention because she has a rep that proceeds her or an image to maintain among her peers. Lots of precise praise, so that her learning is reinforced: ” really responsible and efficient distribution of papers today, thank you” and lots of praise for other student around her – let them know that you see them doing the right thing.

    She may not know what to do to behave like a student who cares about her learning. Doug Lemov calls this strategy “What to Do”. So as well as the plan, when she does the ‘wrong thing”, like not take out her books, give really explicit instructions to everyone: “open your bag, take out your English notebook and pens and place them on the desk, put your bag back under the desk”. If she still hasn’t responded wait till others are engaged in the task and say this privately in her ear. If she still doesn’t comply what she is doing is deliberate defiance and you will need to have a “consequence” plan to proceed – such as moving her (or her mates) to another place in the room.