Wednesday, June 29, 2016

The Things I Learned From Having a Difficult Class: Kids "On The Fence"

This is my fifth post in my Things I Learned from Having a Difficult Class Series. Today I'm focusing on the kids "on the fence". In the upcoming weeks I'll discuss documentation, and communicating with parents and the administration. So how do we get the kids who are "on the fence" between being a problem and an angel to choose good over evil?


We all know these kids.

The ones that are a "handful". The ones that have the potential for greatness. The ones that can be perfectly behaved one second and misbehaving the next. The ones that are so capable, but don't always realize it, you just want to shake it out of them.


Oh my goodness. 

If there was a one word answer, or even an easy answer, to this question, I would be a millionaire. Gosh dangit, I wish I had that answer!

Since I don't, I'll give you a list of suggestions of things you can do to get these kids to choose good over evil. As you all know, some may work and others may go down in a blaze of glory or just flames. It all just depends on your students and the relationships you have with your kiddos and their families. 

Things to do with your kiddos "on the fence":


1. Develop closer relationships with them.

Students behave for adults they like - so make sure they like you. This could be as little as one on one time (even if its just for a minute or two), giving them a job they believe to be important - or as big as having lunch with them or playing with them at recess.


2. Piggybacking on number 1 - make sure their families like you. 

Parents will support you if they feel like you care about their child as a person, so take an interest in these children and their families. They want to know that you value your child as an individual and see them as more than a number in your class. While there may be a lot of negative things to discuss with them, make sure you discuss the positives, too. It will pay off in the long run, trust me!


3. Be consistent. 

Students realize when you are not consistent, and will take this and run with it. By showing them you react the same way to every person, every time, they will learn that they are not exempt and will cooperate. Littles know when you're not consistent and other get preferential treatment. If you don't believe me, watch this:



If a monkey can recognize unfair treatment - then you better believe that your students will, too!


4. Hold them to the same standard of behavior that you expect from your best behaved students. 

It may take baby steps to get there, but don't give them an out. Have high expectations and hold your students accountable to get there. They will rise, or fall, to whatever your expectation level is. So.. make sure yours are high!


Kids on the fence are the "most important" kids in the class. I put this in quotes because as we all know, all kiddos are important, but what I'm referring to is behavior management. They are the ones that can make a big change in your classroom climate, so being consistent is a great way to make sure that change a positive one.

How do you handle your kids "on the fence"? Let me know in the comments!





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