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Help with tough behavior
Old 12-02-2017, 06:49 PM
 
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I have a very difficult bunch of 4th graders this year. It’s mainly due to two students who never should’ve been put in the same class. One student is the “leader” and the other copies his every move and is the worst “follower” I’ve ever experienced. The leader is so disrespectful. He does zero work and follows zero directions. He wanders, talks out, breaks pencils on purpose, stabs holes in erasers, squirts hand sanitizer in tissues and leaves them all over the room, wraps tape around all the crayons so whoever uses them next has to peel the tape off first, throws things all the time,hits children and pushes children - and talks back to teachers when we ask him to correct his behavior. The follower does these things too and helps him. He denies his behavior and sucks others into his abyss of misbehavior. This child makes it impossible to teach due to his constant movement and antics. I have had to put the community supplies away because he can’t handle them being out. He gets out of his seat to ruin them on purpose. I have also had to ban hand sanitizer in my room but he still brings it in and every day I take it away. He gets office referrals almost every day. He’s on special behavior plan and checks in/out with our coach to earn rewards if he earns enough points. He also is allowed several breaks in and out of the room daily. He asks for breaks we allow it. We tell him to go on breaks if we feel he needs one. This child told a child to “shut the f up” and then screamed super loud in another child’s ear. It made the boy cry. Then when I tried to talk to him about the behavior he called me a liar right to my face and told me I just hate him and want him to be in trouble. Other children are being affected by this kid every day. The follower copies a lot of these behaviors. And they often team up to misbehave. I wish parents would start complaining. Nothing is being done about this kid by admin. No suspensions or any real consequence. Nothing. This kid is ruling the roost and I feel helpless and unsupported. His parents are divorced. Dad isn’t involved and Mom uses his anxiety and adhd as an excuse and talks badly about teachers in front of him. We can tell because a lot of what he says when he talks back are adult words and “my mom says...”. Does anyone have any words of wisdom to share? Any advice on what to do about the leader or the follower? What about all the wonderful kids who listen and work hard and are being affected by this kid?


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Start with the follower
Old 12-02-2017, 10:01 PM
 
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See if you can get his parents to help.

and put him on a contract to make better choice. Allow him to select the reward he receives after earning a certain number of points for good choices. Start a sicker chart and give him a sticker every time he makes a good choice. I would work on 15 minute increments to start.

Stand and teach by this child as often as possible so proximity will help him to stay on task.

Give him tons of positive reinforcement when he makes good choices.

Make a big deal when he earns his reward.

Then maybe, just maybe, the other boy will ask why he didn't get a contract. Hey, we can hope.
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Good advice
Old 12-03-2017, 07:40 AM
 
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Thank you for your advice. He is already on a behavior chart with rewards. He gets tons of positive reinforcement and praise whenever he exhibits desired behavior. The problem is he doesn’t appear to care about the praise. It doesn’t affect him. And the positive behavior is rare. Extremely rare. I have tried whole class rewards for extra recess etc. but he seems to take pleasure in ruining it for the class on purpose. So I took him out of the equation and sent him to the office while the class redeemed their extra recess reward. He acted happy.
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Sad Situation
Old 12-03-2017, 08:01 AM
 
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Not sure what to advise at this point. I would say both boys come from difficult home situations. I don't know how teachers can make a difference in the lives of children that come from homes where the only attention they get is negative attention. But they both need love. They will be the hardest students to love because of their actions, but that is what they need.

Maybe try to spend some time with each one each day. Just talk to them. Show interest in them as people. Just so they get the message that someone cares.

I am sorry they make your job difficult. I am retired now but had students like this at times. It is very frustrating as an educator.

I would also see if the counselor has time for these kids. They need to be seen on a regular basis by the counselor if possible.
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Acting out
Old 12-03-2017, 11:42 AM
 
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Both boys need to see a counselor on a regular basis. Divorce is hard on children, and the leader appears to resent the other children in class (maybe because of it).

In the 7th grade one of my classmates told our teacher his parents were divorcing and he wouldn't be doing anymore work... that he wanted his parents to be called as often as possible. He controlled his anger to only hurting himself.

Your two students need some male mentorship. They need strong male leadership to redirect their anger.


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Take Charge
Old 12-04-2017, 12:38 AM
 
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It's obvious that the darling in your class has some serious personal issues that you, of course, have no control over. It's also painfully obvious that the problems you're having with him have persisted to the point that he is now in control. This is a textbook case of what can happen when there are no consequences for delinquent behavior.

Would it be fair to assume that one or more of the following is true? A) He is smarter than you. B) He is more motivated than you. What would it take to get him to relinquish his control of your classroom? Do you think his spending quality time with you, talking to a male counselor/mentor every day, or receiving more love from you will actually make a difference?

I believe the answers to these questions will help shed some light on what you need to do to restore order in your classroom so that the other students will not have to endure any more of this nonsense. I think you know what needs to be done - just do it already.
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Just Two Thoughts...
Old 12-10-2017, 06:29 PM
 
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Do you have parent volunteers? As you mentioned in you post, parents of other students in your classroom need to complain to the administration. They have to be aware that the leader and his friend are affecting their child. I would bet their children come home every day and tell all about the leader and his friend. If the opportunity presents itself, encourage these parents to visit your administrator.

Does your school have a behavior disability program or a child study team? It sounds like the leader needs to spend some time away/extended time/weeks away from your classroom so he can get his behavior under control. This is not going to happen if he has a captive audience every day.

I hope things improve.
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Old 02-03-2018, 09:19 PM
 
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I am not sure he’s you mean by this quote [QUOTE][I believe the answers to these questions will help shed some light on what you need to do to restore order in your classroom so that the other students will not have to endure any more of this nonsense. I think you know what needs to be done - just do it already./QUOTE]
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Old 02-03-2018, 09:22 PM
 
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I am not sure I know what you mean by this quote “believe the answers to these questions will help shed some light on what you need to do to restore order in your classroom so that the other students will not have to endure any more of this nonsense. I think you know what needs to be done - just do it already.”

He’s not smarter than me, he’s 9. He’s very smart though to the point of being scary -like criminally smart

He’s in our behavior program at school.
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Referral
Old 02-04-2018, 07:28 AM
 
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I’m not sure how referrals work in your building, but his needs should be addressed by a psychologist. Does your school have access to one?

I agree with pp that kids like this usually need love. I had a student very similar to this and his behaviour didn’t get better until I made a personal connection with him and let him know that no matter what he did I still cared about him. He did a lot of nasty things, and I would consequence him for any bad choices, usually missing out on something because that was all I could control and family wasn’t helpful. I used a card system with the whole class.

Is there a strength within this boy you can use to highlight some of those leadership skills he has in a positive light? It might not work the first few times because he will likely sabotage any of your efforts to include him, but don’t give up. Kids like this sabotage to see how committed you are to helping them. I had my angel for 2 years and it took a while but he did stop the mean behaviours towards his peers and actually did some work for me. I took that as a win.

I read a book once that said kids who make you feel powerless are seeking control. Maybe you could read up on some strategies for how to manage controlling students. ODD info might be helpful, or giving limited choices, avoiding power struggles, etc..

Good luck, I know how hard these kids can be on your psyche and your classroom.


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