Posted by: bwoof | January 8, 2010

Still musing about disrespectful teens…

For reasons I won’t  explain here, I wonder a lot about how best to relate to teens who are not engaged in school, who struggle with addictions, who totally disregard persons in authority, who have no ‘punishment’ quotient that means anything, therefore they do just about anything, and for whom traditional coaxing/coaching/cajoling methods from white older adults like my colleagues and me have little impact. AND…throw in the issues of visible minorities, poverty, and insufficient parenting just to add to the mix.

But, if you’ve read the tabs above where I explain this PLog, you’ll know that I choose to believe that all students want to learn; they intrinsically want to be successful, to some degree.

The problem is this…how do we connect the dots? I honestly don’t know, so tonight I’m on an internet search and will just start collecting the best of what other people have to offer or suggest. Eventually, I will take all the ‘learnings’ and Wordle them to see what happens. Maybe I’ll find the elixir that heals or the antidote that negates the toxins of teens gone awry, perhaps a society that has lost it’s way.

Dream on, they say! But dreaming is OK, I say.

My search led me to these places for starters.

How to Handle Disrespectful Students

Disrespectful Students

Tips for dealing with disrespectful teenagers

  • First of all, refuse to take the disrespect personally. Keep in mind that the child does not really know you as a person and is responding as a child would—childishly
  • work to minimize the disruption in your classroom
  • Deal with the misbehaving student personally and in private whenever you can
  • When you do speak with the student, resist the urge to engage in a verbal battle
  • take a problem-solving approach
  • Work to solve the original problem and usually sometimes the student will volunteer an apology
  • Even if the child does not apologize, when the behavior improves, be glad. You won. Even better, the child is on the right path.
  • find out why the child is making these outbursts. One you know the reason or cause, then you can begin to solve the problem
  • work with them one on one
  • try to make the child understand the negative impact of the outbursts
  • try to ignore as much as you can
  • Put the child in a spot where others can’t be bothered as much and get on with business. Often, an outburst is a way of seeing attention and power. If you can give that child both of those in advance, you can channel the negative energy.
  • One of the biggest classroom management mistakes teachers make is that they take disrespectful behavior personally. To quote Tom Hagen speaking to Sonny Corleone in the classic movie The Godfather, “This is business, not personal.”
  • When you take disrespectful behavior personally, two things are likely to happen:
    1. You will desire to get even, to show your students who is boss.
    2. You will be inclined to scold, lecture, or react with sarcasm.

Grateful for:

  • triage imagery which helps me focus in a crisis (but I need to learn more…about how emergency room folks make good decisions in the mayhem)
  • “clean out the frig” night which turned out to be very good

Curious about:

  • how to find at least two key individuals, both from different visible minorities, who could come and ‘connect’ with groups of students who probably see me (and us) as old white folks with no connection whatsoever to them. I used to think that colour doesn’t matter…and in the strictests sense of the word it doesn’t…but in practicum it makes a difference.

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