Advice needed on dealing with 1 troublesome first grader

Hi,

At the school where I work I am generally pretty happy with the classes that I have. Compared to some of the little brats that my colleagues have to put up with my students are easily bearable. However, that being said there is one student in a class of first graders that I struggle to handle and I am looking for some advice on how to deal with him.

When I started with the class there were around 4 or 5 disruptive little boys who I have managed to bring in line and they have turned into pretty good students. Although they still have their moments they are only first graders when all is said and done so I can’t expect too much. I managed to improve these students behavior and English ability by using firm but fair methods such as deducting points from their reward cards and keeping them in at break times. I did get angry with them on a few occasions and shouted just to show them what I am capable of however now all I need to do is start a simple count from 1 – 5 and the class will fall into line. All except one student.

This particular student persistently swings on his chair, shouts out and runs around the classroom. He also hits and bullies the other students and never does his homework. The above mentioned techniques do not work with him and even speaking to him in Chinese does not work. My understanding of his family circumstances is that his dad has left his mom to raise him by herself and the mom spoils him rotten.

I don’t know what to do with him. My inability to control him has repercussions for the whole class as he disrupts and harms the other students. It has been suggested that I use positive reinforcements and somehow become his friend however I have an inherent dislike of this boy so I find it very hard to be all happy and smiley with him in order to be his “friend”.

Does anyone have any advice?

Thanks

Make him sit outside. Or how about send a note home to all the parents praising how well all the students are doing despite the never ending disruption and abuse caused by “Billy”. If the school ties your hands maybe you can get the other parents to complain for you

As much as what many are against it, punish the whole class once or twice. Reward those who you feel might dislike you for unfair punishment. Create peer pressure. If that doesn’t help, I don’t know.

Send him to the office, keep him back to clean your classroom after break, etc. etc.

Start handing out rewards for good behaviour (packet of sweets in your bag).

I like louis’ idea of writing back to the other parents. On that note, make sure you write that he’s been bad in his own communication book; the last class I had were horrible to their last teacher, but she only ever wrote good things about them for some unknown reason.

Punish the entire class by keeping them back late or taking away breaktimes. Things like ‘we’re not starting until EVERYONE is sitting still and quiet’ or something similar.

Mmm,let me think what my teachers would have done :bravo:

The easiest way is to give condescendingly excessive attention to the worst offender. Treat him like he’s a baby. Get right in his face and repeat everything at him. If he squirms or runs, just chase him down and make him look at you. Don’t say anything except what the lesson contains, until he repeats it, answers your question, does the correct gesture, or whatever it is that the other students are successfully doing.

Getting into people’s faces is a primitive intimidation tactic. Every person at every age feels it, and since you’re presumably bigger than a first-grader, it’s probably plenty effective.

Young kids are also “hardwired” for imitation, so you just have to give them something to imitate, and not let up until they do.

Hmmm sometimes kids misbehave because they’re not good in class. All the above punishments are well doable (condescension :hand: ???) but for a 5-6 year old??? These disruptive behaviours usually mean that they want to distract (themselves) from not being able to deal with the academics. Because they cannot spell (or comprehend), they think ‘I’m not good (enough)’ and then well they just go off from there. It’ll be work for you, but when the whole class is doing sth. bring him to your desk and work with him. Make him colour or write the alphabet, baby stuff, and then take it a notch higher each time or help him where he struggles until he is at grade level. As his academics improve, so will his behaviour in class. It is not fool proof, but you can try it for 2 weeks.

Sometimes children misbehave because they don’t want to be in a classroom setting. Some children have literally spent their time asking me where their mothers were. I just say that they’re not around, and that they’ll return after their classes end, but only once. After that, if they’re not responding, continue asking irrelevant questions, or not doing the work that all of the other students do, whatever the motivation behind it, it’s easy for me to directly repeat what I’ve said in my lesson, even more slowly, elaborately, and invasively than I would normally need to do it to my remaining, generally attentive class, until they respond appropriately.

That takes thirty seconds. I don’t have two weeks to armchair psychologize a child and hand him remedial assignments. If he needs remedial help, his parents need to pay me for remedial class time, not take it away from my other students who perform at the appropriate levels, and pay the same amount.

I’ve used the adverb condescendingly to indicate to how adults would respond if another adult behaved in this manner to them.

I wasn’t giving you advice, just responding to the OP. If a teacher thinks remedial class time for a kid is undoable - cool! Send him out of class, punish the whole class, get into his face :thumbsup: , or whatever. It’s upto the OP to take advice and to leave it. I’m just being the devil’s advocate and saying that sometimes kids misbehave not just coz they are spoilt rotten…phew this feels like the IP forum. What happened to kindness?? Oh we want extra money for that, but we’ll get into a kid’s face for free. And people call ME mean. :doh:

He may not respond well to punishment. You can try rewarding all the good kids with stickers, crackers or game time with a new board game. He may want to behave for the reward.

If that doesn’t work, throw the little shit out.

I definitely agree with you there, but being nice off the bat has never worked for me. Making the problem kid cry early on and then providing extra help and encouragement when he does good has worked much better for me in Taiwan.

It’s not a strategy that I ever intended to use and its certainly not what I’d do or have done with Western kids, but Taiwanese kids seem to be a law unto themselves. They’re just not very responsive or engaged, they seem to be more used to being talked at and you can’t start talking to the unless you have them under control and on their own :S

Am I the only one disturbed by this thread? People popping on here, saying to use intimidation tactics and making jokes about physical violence towards children - and we wonder where the stereotype comes from that foreigners aren’t really teachers. (Which most of them truly aren’t, but this certainly doesn’t help).

There IS a balance between being firm and direct vs. being a childhood version of an overly-evil Satanic George Bush foreign policy adviser. Let’s look at some really bad advice so far. (Sorry guys, whether this was sarcastic or not, it is HORRIBLE advice):

Really? Break teacher’s professional rule #1? You really want to bring up problems of another student to parents of different students? What next? Physical punishment. Oh…wait.

[quote]Mmm,let me think what my teachers would have done :bravo:{/quote]

Cue picture of person bending a cane. Unless you’re suggesting bending a cane to show massive strength and catch the students’ attention. Then…wow. Awesome. But if you meant violence towards children, I say this dictionary entry might help (look at definition 3):
thefreedictionary.com/amateur

Getting the class against them? I cry foul. That leads to bigger problems later. I’ve had students so frustrated that they cannot cope with the other students yelling at them. It has lead to even violent behavior before. It’s a cop out. You’re trying to make YOUR teaching life easier by sacrificing the child’s emotional well-being. It’s a horrible abuse of power. And if you ever think otherwise, invite me over with your friends. I’ll gladly verbally lash you, get your friends in on it, and make you feel like utter shit. I think I have enough experience on stage to be able to do that with a good percentage of the people here. (Note, if it is in Taipei, you also have to pay for my travel, hotel accommodations, quite a few beers, and a lot of food while I’m there. I don’t dine cheap).

You’ve gotten shitty advice in this forum. But I’d be just a crap-shooter if I didn’t provide some real ideas. So here you go:

–First off, own the space you’re in. When you’re teaching, there are actual physical boundaries you have to set up in your mind. The moment you walk in the door, that classroom is yours. It belongs to you. Walk in feeling like it belongs to you. Be calm like you’re walking into your own house with several guests that you’re about to talk with. The mind set plays a huge role in classroom management. More on this later.

–Secondly, realize you’re not just an English teacher. You’re given the responsibility of making sure these (enter number of students here) are taken care of in your class. That means that you respect them, you demand they respect each other, and you demand they respect the classroom. If something happens that is the person treating this process with disrespect, point that out as your main motivation to begin the process of gaining back control. If a student is so far out of control that they can’t be calmed, take them outside for a minute. Get down on his or her level and clearly explain that they need to go back in, sit down, raise their hand if they want to talk, and respect the other students. So many “out of control” students I have taught need this talk to help get them focused back into what they are supposed to do. Don’t go out there angry with the student. Go out there to calmly lay down clear guidelines and ideas. You’d be AMAZED how many students begin to get better right after this that other teachers always said, “He’s out of control.” (Or something similar).

–Own certain spaces. I actually feel if a student gets up to run around into my “space.” Have the student near you as much as you can and physically enter back into his space if he’s about to jump up. Just your actual physical presence in the direction he was about to go, then eye contact with a quiet, “Calm down” often avoids problems. Observe the child so you know when those clues are coming that he will start to get overly excited so you know when to watch for it.

–Realize this is a process. If you’re looking for a quick fix, sure…crush his inner life (thanks for the advice, “teachers.”) If you’re looking to really help the child, work hard and give him time. Some of my best students have been the “problem student” with other teachers. Take the approach more scientifically. Observe, hypothesize, test, and observe the results. Don’t necessarily be happy with a quick fix.

Hope this helped give some real advice. This thread started to make me want to vomit in my mouth just to get rid of the taste of it. Worse, it made me almost want to get a 7-11 hot dog. That’s bad.

[quote=“Puppet”]Am I the only one disturbed by this thread? People popping on here, saying to use intimidation tactics and making jokes about physical violence towards children - and we wonder where the stereotype comes from that foreigners aren’t really teachers. (Which most of them truly aren’t, but this certainly doesn’t help).

There IS a balance between being firm and direct vs. being a childhood version of an overly-evil Satanic George Bush foreign policy adviser. Let’s look at some really bad advice so far. (Sorry guys, whether this was sarcastic or not, it is HORRIBLE advice):

Really? Break teacher’s professional rule #1? You really want to bring up problems of another student to parents of different students? What next? Physical punishment. Oh…wait.

[quote]Mmm,let me think what my teachers would have done :bravo:{/quote]

Cue picture of person bending a cane. Unless you’re suggesting bending a cane to show massive strength and catch the students’ attention. Then…wow. Awesome. But if you meant violence towards children, I say this dictionary entry might help (look at definition 3):
thefreedictionary.com/amateur

Getting the class against them? I cry foul. That leads to bigger problems later. I’ve had students so frustrated that they cannot cope with the other students yelling at them. It has lead to even violent behavior before. It’s a cop out. You’re trying to make YOUR teaching life easier by sacrificing the child’s emotional well-being. It’s a horrible abuse of power. And if you ever think otherwise, invite me over with your friends. I’ll gladly verbally lash you, get your friends in on it, and make you feel like utter shit. I think I have enough experience on stage to be able to do that with a good percentage of the people here. (Note, if it is in Taipei, you also have to pay for my travel, hotel accommodations, quite a few beers, and a lot of food while I’m there. I don’t dine cheap).

You’ve gotten shitty advice in this forum. But I’d be just a crap-shooter if I didn’t provide some real ideas. So here you go:

–First off, own the space you’re in. When you’re teaching, there are actual physical boundaries you have to set up in your mind. The moment you walk in the door, that classroom is yours. It belongs to you. Walk in feeling like it belongs to you. Be calm like you’re walking into your own house with several guests that you’re about to talk with. The mind set plays a huge role in classroom management. More on this later.

–Secondly, realize you’re not just an English teacher. You’re given the responsibility of making sure these (enter number of students here) are taken care of in your class. That means that you respect them, you demand they respect each other, and you demand they respect the classroom. If something happens that is the person treating this process with disrespect, point that out as your main motivation to begin the process of gaining back control. If a student is so far out of control that they can’t be calmed, take them outside for a minute. Get down on his or her level and clearly explain that they need to go back in, sit down, raise their hand if they want to talk, and respect the other students. So many “out of control” students I have taught need this talk to help get them focused back into what they are supposed to do. Don’t go out there angry with the student. Go out there to calmly lay down clear guidelines and ideas. You’d be AMAZED how many students begin to get better right after this that other teachers always said, “He’s out of control.” (Or something similar).

–Own certain spaces. I actually feel if a student gets up to run around into my “space.” Have the student near you as much as you can and physically enter back into his space if he’s about to jump up. Just your actual physical presence in the direction he was about to go, then eye contact with a quiet, “Calm down” often avoids problems. Observe the child so you know when those clues are coming that he will start to get overly excited so you know when to watch for it.

–Realize this is a process. If you’re looking for a quick fix, sure…crush his inner life (thanks for the advice, “teachers.”) If you’re looking to really help the child, work hard and give him time. Some of my best students have been the “problem student” with other teachers. Take the approach more scientifically. Observe, hypothesize, test, and observe the results. Don’t necessarily be happy with a quick fix.

Hope this helped give some real advice. This thread started to make me want to vomit in my mouth just to get rid of the taste of it. Worse, it made me almost want to get a 7-11 hot dog. That’s bad.[/quote][/quote]

:bravo: :bow: My hat off to you :bow: :bravo: Words from the wise, listen well, because this was truly well said.