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VAreader 09-17-2011 09:48 AM

Advice for Trouble with Authority / DisRespect
Wise Friends,

I have a child this year--an adorable, lovable young lady (7 years old) who seems to have trouble with authority and disrespect for following rules and guidelines set by authority. Here are my examples, and we've known each other for 9 days.

1. When told her to be in the bus line because I had no note explaining she was a car rider she snuck into the car line anyway and was picked up by nanny without my knowledge.

2. When told that during Reader's Workshop NO ONE was to use the bathroom, she was in the bathroom with 3 other kids.

3. When told she had to study for social studies she told nanny and mom, "I don't need to study to survive."

4. When told to wait until lunch to deliver a friend's sweater because she forgot the class her friend was in, I found her minutes later asking a friend to go with her to deliver said sweater without my knowledge.

When later in same day as sweater incident she was playing a math game with 3 other kids, she deliberately changed all her dice rolls so she could get the tokens and none of the kids could play. I lost it at that point and wrote her up in my notebook for being absolutely disrespectful and cheating.

How do I handle this child?

How do I use this independent spirit and problem-solving tendencies to my advantage?

How do I teach this child to be a leader without being disrespectful?

What do I ignore, what do I call her out on?

She has had problems with ALL her earlier teachers, and mom is well aware of this.

She's not a bad kid, but does bad things when she wants to do what she wants, when she wants. I want to know how to turn this into an asset and not something that is going to make her get in trouble in every grade at school.

HELP ME!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I need the wisdom of this group to give me a game plan!!!!!!!

Mrs. R :) 09-18-2011 05:58 AM

So many layers...
You have excellent questions that get to the heart of your philosophy of a teacher; how do I help this child now that I am getting to know her better? You are already developing empathy for the rule breaker by asking that one important question. Well done.

Now, I do need to ask you one question. ;) You said:

What do I ignore, what do I call her out on?
Why would you ignore any of these behaviors? She is doing some research right now. And if you have applied logical consequences, she should learn that you have boundaries and will respond with consequences when those boundaries are crossed. If you haven't and you've ignored these behaviors, then what has learned through her research? And what, now, has the potential to happen?

VAreader 09-25-2011 03:11 PM

Good point.
I feel like we're told to ignore as much as we can. I tend to do a lot of talking through issues with children. Does talking through the action count as logical consequences? I made her take the sweater out to recess to give it to her friend---which turned into a plaything before said friend came out. Does that count as logical consequences? I had her write out the issue with the sweater and have mom sign it...does that count?

What would logical consequences be for those actions?

Thanks for your time!

Mrs. R :) 10-02-2011 05:58 AM

Ignoring is permissive
And our job as teachers is to set boundaries and limits...and stop misbehavior.

Remember that there are many ways to stop misbehavior in the classroom and LC are just one of the items from the "menu" that we can choose. Others are teacher proximity, teacher language and many of the structures of RC (Morning Meeting, Interactive Modeling for example).

Your question about LC is one that I must answer with another question...are your LC related, realistic and respectful? If they are, then it is up to you to decide if they are LC. I know that seems wishy-washy.

Let me share a story with you. When I was deepening my RC practice, I really wanted permission to apply these LC to my students. It is sometimes uncomfortable to give a student a LC because we think the student might not like us anymore, or the parents might think we are too strict or even our principal may not support us. I know I would have loved if there was a book I could open up and say; "Well, look. Right here it says that if a child does this, I can respond with this." It would take the pressure off for sure.

Then I realized that as the teacher, I was the only one who could decide what was an appropriate LC for the child and the situation. That was because of the Guiding Principles of RC. I knew the student. I knew the family. I worked well with my colleagues. So, ultimately, if I made sure my LC was realistic, related and respectful, I would have nothing to worry about.

It was liberating. It was as if the whole of RC synthesized for me and I finally got it.

So, you need to go back to what you know about this student, what you know about her family and what you know about the culture in your building. You then decide on a moment by moment basis what the LC is... and it may (and dare I say should) be different for each child; even if it's the same circumstance. We know what is respectful for one, may not feel respectful for another. You need to decide if loss of privilege, you break it you fix it, and time out.

This is always one of the biggest shifts for teachers after completing RCI. And, your questions are great! Remember when things are hard, it means change is happening! I would also encourage you to take RCII this summer. LC are covered and you may have some deep growth based on what I hear from your questions.

Here's an article that may help you as well.

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