Some kids are seriously rude these days. What do you do if some really power-hungry sophomore (it’s usually sophomores in high school) chuckles when you try to make the Classroom Rule process work for you?
Such a thing would rarely happen in the first week. Usually the oppositionally defiant kids wait and hide until going into attack mode, while they make their decisions about how much personal power they see in you and decide to test it (yes, they do this consciously).
If and when it happens, be ready. Don’t talk to them as if you think you might be able to talk them into behaving as you wish. That is pure folly. You can’t reason with a drunk and the culture in some schools these days is one of a kind of social ivresse.
Neither do I suggest that you keep trying w Rule #2. It has failed if the ringleader kid has brought a few other laughers along and the class is unsettled now because of this little ring of kids.
(By the way, this would only happen with kids uncomfortable w the interpersonal aspect of the class – which they sense accurately will take their “fun” away for the year – so give them, if they don’t turn it around, the textbook. Fast.)
Below are my notes from the Teacher’s Discovery webinar on classroom management at the start of the year I did last week. If the kid(s) laugh, just skip steps 1-8 and go to 9 below, and maybe throw in the elevator speech below it.
If I can’t get the few bad eggs out of the class, and I try mightily in the first two weeks (I’m talking about the extreme kids that need to go), then give them the book, and stay in it for one month at a time when the class begs for CI. Do not “give them another chance” – once you give them the book, they stay in it for one month at a time.
So, if 1-8 fail bc of rude kids, start in at 9 below. By giving those daily zeros to the rude kids, after explaining how you grade (50%/50%), you have the ammunition you need to begin getting them out of class by talking first to parents and then to admins if that fails. Say that the child falls into that really rare group of kids who “can’t learn a language”.
- Stop teaching instantly.
- Do not speak.
- Walk to the Classroom Rules poster. (Again, the offense is usually side talk or phone, so that’s breaking rules #2 and #6)
- Look in the general direction of the offenders. Do not lock eyes with them.
- Pause for dramatic effect while projecting a calm demeanor.
- Put your hand on Classroom Rule #2 if it’s side talking.
- Say something like “Do you get it?” or simply “OK?”
- Wait for a response, which is usually in the form of a nod of the head.
- Walk to the grade book.
- Don’t open it since you are teaching.
- Write – on a separate sheet of paper(one ready for each class period) the name(s) of the offender(s).
- Explain to them using something resembling the speech below what you are doing.
- Make sure they understand how their small offense (in their minds) is not at all a small offense in your mind.
- Put a zero – after they leave the classroom – and make it the first thing you do after class so you don’t forget – in the gradebook under that day’s heading labeled “ACTFL Interpersonal Mode 1”. (So if it’s day four, and since you will definitely enter one grade per day in the first two weeks, the heading in the gradebook will be “ACTFL Interpersonal Mode 4? or ACTFL Three Modes” or “ICR” for Interpersonal Skills Rubric or whatever on that day. The computer should be pre-set to calculate that grade as 50%. There is more on how to deal with this by dropping all grades at four weeks to give the kids a chance to “reset” their grade but I won’t go into that here.
- Go back to the card you were working on.
- When it happens again, and it will within minutes in the first week, up to thirty or more times per day, go through the same entire process again and decide if you want to give the same elevator speech when you have finished.
- This will be your main focus in your instruction in the first few weeks. Putting the hammer down now (in a calm way) obviates having to do it later.
- Don’t fail to stop and do these steps every time. Doing this – which takes about 70% of class time in the first three days and then dwindles by the third week to maybe twice a class period and by the end of two months the kids finally know who the adult in the room is.
I’ve added something new to my explanation of the Classroom Rules. It’s this little speech that I make whenever someone breaks one of the rules. If you want, you can make it into a little “elevator speech” that you can use often in the first few weeks of school.
“Look. I have worked too hard at learning how to teach a language to be interrupted by my students during class. So, whenever you see me stop class – and I will stop it on a dime – and point to this rule here, that means that someone has broken a rule. The rules are connected to the national standards. They are the way I’m supposed to grade you, on “observable non-verbal” behaviors. [Explain the term and model it if you haven’t already]. So I will do what I just did and then walk over to my desk like I did just now, and you will know that you just collected a zero for the day. Now lookie here …. 50% of your grade in this class is just listening, and we’ll talk more about that tomorrow when we talk about the national standard of Communication and the Interpersonal Skill of the Three Modes of Communication that my national parent organization, the American Association on Foreign Language Teaching, requires me to follow – and I’ll show you what the Three Skills are with arm motions what I mean tomorrow so it is perfectly clear about how you are going to be graded in this class this year. So think about it – if 50% of your grade is LISTENING, does that say anything about talking or getting on a cell phone? No. And by the way if you want to use your cell phone in class, go for it. I won’t say a word. I won’t even take it from you because it’s your property. I’ll just walk over here and put another zero in the book after you leave. Your grades align with the standards so yeah use your phone if you wish but keep in mind that those daily zeros add up and you may even think it’s unfair but like I said I have to align with the standards and by the way have I told you that I have worked too hard at learning how to teach a language for someone to mess it up for me and not just for me but also for the other kids in this class who think it might be cool to learn a foreign language. You know, when your phone is out you break almost every rule on here. (Explain how). Do I make myself clear? Good! Thank you!”