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Question: I am in a 3rd week of student teaching a group of 5th graders. These are all great kids; however, they have been very disrespectful (i.e. getting up in the middle of class to write on the board, talking over others, and interrupting one another) among other things. Do you have any suggestions of how I can address this issue with the students and Cooperating Teaching because I think it is getting out of control?
One of the tricky things about being a Student Teacher is knowing when to exert control over the class and when to let your Cooperating Teacher do it. In this case, it's obvious that your Cooperating Teacher never had it and is not on her priority list. The first thing that I would do is have a conversation with your CT and make sure she understands that their behavior is not acceptable. I would then follow the following steps to get the students to behave better in class.
1.Have a class meeting to address what the expectations are in the class.- Never assume that children know 'how to act'. Instead the first thing in the morning call a class meeting where classroom expectations will be discussed. Clearly lay out what is acceptable and unacceptable behavior for the class. During this meeting you may have a couple of students who attempt to 'challenge' your rules, immediately correct them so that they know unacceptable behavior will not be tolerated. Address the class about what exactly is appropriate behavior while in class. As a follow up send your parents either an email and/or letter home discussing the issue and what steps you've taken to address the class.
2.Set up some type of reward system for students who are doing the right thing in class. During this meeting give some type of incentive for students who consistently do the 'right thing' when no one is looking. Have weekly incentives for these students and make sure that students who behave badly are not rewarded.
3.Be consistent with the rewards and consequences. Sometimes students don't understand there are consequences to their negative behaviors. So it's essential for you to be consistent when giving rewards and taking away privileges. Use a chart so that students can see how their behavior affects their privileges in the class.
4.Call the disruptive students parents. Identify the 'ringleaders' of the class then I would place a phone call to their parent and/or guardian about their behavior. While on the phone be very clear about the undesirable behavior and always make sure you discuss the steps you've taken in class to address the behavior. Then for a week straight call parents and hopefully the behavior will change. needed. Usually For a week straight, call parents as necessary and one of two things will happen. Either parents will get tired of phone calls and address the behavior at home OR students will get tired of getting in trouble and will behave accordingly.
Hopefully in the end, the students will behave better and your cooperating teacher will get a lesson on how to effectively handle a classroom! Now what advice would you give this teacher about handling this classroom?[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]