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readnteach13 readnteach13 is offline
 
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Idea for a VERY negative student?
Old 11-11-2019, 12:51 PM
 
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One of my students, this year is VERY negative (4th grade, general ed.). He is a very smart kid, and makes above average grades. He rolls his eyes, sighs, and complains about everything- and I mean EVERYTHING. For example, the whole class earned 5 minutes of extra recess. After the fact he complained that it was "only 5 minutes, and it wasn't even fun, and the recess teachers never let them do X, and that he would have rather had a longer lunch, etc.". In this example, even some of the other students told him to stop complaining.
It is diffifult to provide him with feedback because he seems to view every suggestion for improvement as an insult.

I have brought it up with his parents, but they don't seem concerned at all. I do know that it was an issue in his 3rd grade classroom as well. Hoping to meet with his 3rd grade teacher soon to discuss more, but she has been on leave for the past several weeks so I haven't had the chance.


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Old 11-11-2019, 01:59 PM
 
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Maybe you can offer an incentive for a complaint free morning/afternoon/day. It's a habit he has and it would be a great gift to himself to change it. Good luck!
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Attitudes are tough... behavior is easier
Old 11-11-2019, 02:34 PM
 
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I've always tended to take the position that I really can't change attitudes or feelings but I can change behavior. Some of this is no doubt a habit, but it's been a rewarding habit for him. I would pick some behaviors to eliminate... no more rolling eyes, no sighing, etc. and let him know that you're not particularly interested in his complaints. I'd also be using a lot of "...and what are you doing to do about it?" sorts of questions when he complains.

I'd be willing to bet if you eliminate some of his behaviors the attitudes will shift. I've told kids that I really don't care how they feel. "You're allowed to hate math but you still have to do the work." Too often feelings are simply an attention-getting device and avoidance technique. (That sounds colder than it is in practice. "I understand but let's get started.")

I once had a whiner who would sprawl across her desk and complain about how hard things were, etc. I told her when she was sitting up straight with a pencil in her hand, I'd be over to help her. Sure, there were times when she stayed sprawled but after I ignored her for a while (while fawning over the students who were working) she'd sit up.

It might be a mild form of tough love. But the kid described is actually making the point. You can't make him happy with five minutes of extra recess. "If you give a mouse a cookie..."
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Old 11-11-2019, 02:36 PM
 
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He probably has a parent just like him.

Never satisfied. Never happy. Give him a journal to write all his complaints. Or maybe he needs to start a Gratitude journal instead.
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In his journal
Old 11-11-2019, 02:44 PM
 
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maybe he could log the complaints of everyone including you! If he hears enough maybe he will give up


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Old 11-12-2019, 04:31 AM
 
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Hang up a sign that says "All complaints must be submitted in writing" and just point to it whenever he starts in.
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My Response
Old 11-12-2019, 11:33 AM
 
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"After the fact he complained that it was "only 5 minutes, and it wasn't even fun, and the recess teachers never let them do X, and that he would have rather had a longer lunch, etc.". In this example, even some of the other students told him to stop complaining."

My response: Next time we earn an extra recess, you wouldn't be joining your classmates for that one.

Every time he complains, he loses five minutes of recess or is five minutes late for lunch. His complaining will change very quickly.

Also, be sure his report card indicates his complaining in the "attitudes and behavior" section as well as the comment section.
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Old 11-12-2019, 12:49 PM
 
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Quote:
Hang up a sign that says "All complaints must be submitted in writing" and just point to it whenever he starts in.
Great idea! I did the same thing with tattling. Worked like a charm!
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Old 11-14-2019, 07:33 PM
 
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I always tell kids they can write me a formal complaint (one page). Usually they do it once, but it quickly loses its appeal. After that, I just say, "I'll consider your complaint when I get it in writing" and they tend to stop.
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