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Need Help With The Boys!!!

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Need Help With The Boys!!!
Old 03-25-2008, 09:35 PM
 
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I am a female teacher and I have a lot of boys in my ESL classes. Some are friendly, some are crazy, some are lazy and a few are very disrespectful. I sometimes feel a little intimidated by a few of my male students. They are bigger than me and I have to ask them to give me the toys they play with, or to stop yelling out or to begin their work. Some refuse and force me to play the "cop" in class. There are some that lie to me and make up stories to get out of detention. Some throw things the minute I turn my back. Others wrestle or play rough in class. I can't physically stop them. I know many boys get bored and tired of sitting all day but not all classes can be PE.

I guess what I'm asking is how should I respond to boys? Should I just ignore it all the time because its whats normal with boys or should I deal with it? Safety is my concern. Every time a boy walks around my room he hits someone or says something to another. I can yell but so does their mom everyday. I don't think thats effective. I give them one hour detentions but they hardly blink. They are not intimidated by me, a short, young woman. Many of these boys have had encounters with the police. I would like some insight in what works with motivating boys to do their best or to at least show some respect. Any comments are appreciated but I would like some male perspectives.


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Old 03-26-2008, 04:31 PM
 
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Make sure you teach them your expectations and STICK TO IT.

I'll take a class full of rowdy boys over rowdy girls ANY day. I'd taught gender-grouped classes, and I really like the boys.

It helped me to study up on developmental stages. Middle school boys drive me NUTS with the constant bumping, touching, poking. I thought they were just being mean & irritating. Apparently it's actually a normal phase. I've learned to ignore a great deal of it, and you can redirect some of it. They NEED to move sometimes. They need things in their hands, even if they aren't using them for work. Koosh balls are great.
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Paper clip, anyone?
Old 03-30-2008, 10:40 AM
 
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I had a very antsy eighth-grade boy in my English class last year. He was a quick learner and a generally good student, and therefore got bored easily. He'd constantly be tapping on his desk, shaving the paint off his pencils, tapping his foot on the desk in front of him, etc. Basically making an irritating racked. He didn't actually mean to be disruptive--in fact he often didn't realize we was doing it--but it drove the other students and nuts me.

When I lecture, I habitually pace around the room and play with paper clips, uncoiling and recoiling them, almost without realizing what I'm doing. (I've found broken pieces in my hands and not known how I managed to snap them.) I apparently have a busy brain, and I think monkeying with paper clips helps me focus by redirecting my extra energy. Finally, as I was lecturing one day about mid-school year, I had an epiphany: this young man and I have the same problem. I've just found a way to keep from distracting others. I promptly interrupted myself to explain my discovery. Handing the boy a paper clip, I instructed him to bend and break it to his heart's content, so long as he threw the pieces in the wastebasket and not at others, and if focused his energies into the paper clip instead of tapping random, noisy objects. It worked! In fact, it worked so well that if he forgot to grab one at the beginning of class, the other students would beg me to toss him one. I think he went through about half a box of paper clips before the year ended, but hey, paper clips are cheap, and they solved the problem!

Hope this gives you some inspiration!

As far as the outright troublemakers, I have no idea what to do. I'm blessed to teach in a private school where the kids still think cops hand out baseball cards and bubblegum.

Last edited by LisaN; 03-30-2008 at 10:45 AM.. Reason: typo
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police liaison may help
Old 03-30-2008, 05:43 PM
 
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I teach 8th grade English and math to some slow learners. 80% are boys. If these boys show you no respect, you may have to call in the cavalry! These boys need a lesson on respecting their elders, even if you are only a little older. I would stop my regular lessons and focus on community respect and discipline before moving on, otherwise whatever you are teaching will fall on deaf ears. Call in the police. He or she will have a nice chat with your class and be able to get a good look at them and they at him or her. Establishing relationships is the key to successful teaching. You can't establish a relationship with someone you don't respect, and who doesn't respect you. Good luck.
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interest and choice
Old 03-31-2008, 05:46 AM
 
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With the tough boys I've taught (elementary kids with older siblings or fathers in gangs, drugs, etc), the tricks have been to be consistent with expectations and teach around their interests. They probably will not consider anything worthwhile unless it has to do with cars, or sports, or whatever your particular students happen to like. Don't be afraid to bring in magazines (I would censor them first), or internet articles, or nonfiction books, and teach from there. I've been amazed at the difference in behavior with some of the 12-13 year old boys when we talk about hunting rather than some fictional story.

Also, the primary goal of every person, which can especially be seen in these boys, is survival. They may feel like they don't have control over themselves, their situation, etc. Maybe you could give them choices in certain things - reading material, tasks, etc. so that they do have some power in the classroom. Of course you can't let them run the class, but release some responsibility to them - let them know you trust them to make their own decisions - and see what happens.

Good luck - these boys are tough. But they're my favorite to teach!


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Boys
Old 03-31-2008, 06:29 AM
 
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I have two sons so I love having a classroom full of boys. One year I had 18 girls and 7 boys, and I hated it. It was either the girls or me, but I found the girls to be very catty.
Please make sure that the boys have recess and plenty of small breaks. Boys are, of course, antsy (testosterone). Also, the PP was correct in saying that you are going to need more books in the classroom that would be interesting to them.
I tell this to any teacher that has a classroom full of boys, please don't turn your Johns into Janes. It's not going to happen.
Be firm, fair, and consistent. If you have to, find the rowdiest boy in the class, and get him under control. Usually, the rest will follow suit. I did that to one student in September, and from that time on, the school year was a lot better.
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Let your coworkers lend an idea
Old 04-14-2008, 01:25 PM
 
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Your instincts are on track. Yelling is not effective. Generally, detentions aren't either. You really do have to watch out for safety, though. Teens do love to interact, so reach for rewards that allow kids time together. Rewards could be simple and free (kids who meet behavior and work expectations will get to work with partners or earn free time.) You'll need to find out what they want and what your school allows.
Ask teachers you trust at your school what works for them. Especially consider seeing other teachers who teach the same kids and get good results. Also, consider approaching your administrators with an open mind. Tell them that you are struggling with this and wish to improve. Afraid to let them know you don't have total control? I promise they already have an idea of how things are going. Let them know exactly what is up and ask for help so they can assist. You're going to have to find a solution that works for your kids, your resources, and your personality or you won't be able to keep it up.
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Consistency
Old 04-14-2008, 01:50 PM
 
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In my experience, the boys you are describing do not have a 'normal' homelife. I found out after Hurricane Katrina that schools and teachers are the most consistent aspect of some kids' lives--they tend to rely on it. Don't think you are being too harsh; as long as you are fair--they will respect you.
I would also try mini-counseling sessions with 'ring leaders' of the group. Try to find out their motivation for misbehaving---are they seeking attention? Are they bored? Are they confused about lessons? What is a typical day like for them AFTER school?
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Set rules, model them, reinforce them, reward
Old 06-01-2008, 10:30 AM
 
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You have to start out the year SLOW and go over the rules. Model them, reinforce them, and reward for good behavior (that is the one I forget to do). Build that relationship, but be firm. If you tell them NO early on to small things, the big things seem to be more easily handled.

I have learned to overlook some behaviors, but have also learned in my 2 short years of teaching that my look can do wonders. I am older (38), so my students just "think" I have taught since the beginning of time !!

I LOVED the PP idea of the paper clip. I tend to twist them apart myself, and I am going to use that next year for those kids that have to have something. Pipe cleaners were recommended for my 3rd grade son because he tends to destroy all his pencils and crayons.

Although boys are tough at times, I much prefer them to chatty, emotional girls.
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