Skip to main content

Defiance and Disrespect

Have you ever had an uncomfortable encounter with a student who was defiant and disrespectful?
I have, and on more than one occasion.
I am always shocked when this happens because I feel that I am the opposite, or at least I try to be.
When it seems that I'm not, then I apologize and try to make amends.

I've been thinking about this lately because perhaps I'm too easy on kids when they behave inappropriately.
I talk too much and explain things too carefully.
Maybe, I need to be a little firmer when these situations arise.
Fewer words and zero tolerance.
Of course, we all make mistakes, including me, so there's always the opportunity to make amends.
But, when students are recalcitrant and have no regrets for their actions, I worry.
It makes me think that there's a powder keg in there ready to explode.

How can I help a student like this reflect on his or her actions in order to make retribution?
How can we help children learn how to handle emotions and think before acting?
How can we teach the child who doesn't seem to care who she or he offends with his actions
that there are boundaries of respect and consideration
that need to be observed if we are to work well together?
How can teachers effect change in student behavior without resorting to punishment?

Sometimes I feel alone with these questions.
When teachers feel a student has been defiant, they are often looking for ways to get revenge.
Yes, revenge.
I know this sounds severe but I truly think this is what happens:
I've been wronged, now you need to pay.
Instead, I want students to learn from their mistakes.
This process should not be easy or unduly difficult, either.

Learning to be respectful means that we own our mistakes and recognize our false steps.
It is about making amends to ourselves and to others.
It is about learning how to live with others peacefully.

Schools need to take the lead in this area.
Are they?









Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

The Reading Strategies Book - Chapter 12, Supporting Students’ Conversations – Speaking, Listening, and Deepening Comprehension

The strategy lessons highlighted in Chapter 12, Supporting Students’ Conversations – Speaking, Listening, and Deepening Comprehension, in The Reading Strategies Book by Jennifer Serravallo are critical to students’ engagement and comprehension, as well as their ability to write literary essays, or even book reviews, summaries and reflective pieces about books. If students aren’t able to talk about books in a way that is invigorating and joyful, they will be less likely to develop an interest in growing ideas for writing about books.
In her introduction to this chapter, Jennifer Serravallo, reminds us that when conversations go well, children are inspired by what they read and are motivated to keep reading. However, when conversations fall flat, then kids get bored and tune out. How do we avoid this situation and teach kids to have focused conversations about books? The answer is easy: teach kids strategies to help them develop effective conversational skills. 

As in other blog posts a…

Saying Goodbye

I can't get used to saying goodbye to my daughters even though we've been doing it for the past 10 years. You'd think it gets easier, but it doesn't. It still feels like the first time.

Your children are not your children. They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself. They come through you but not from you, And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.*
At the airport, I watch families with their young children and try to remember what it was like when my girls were little. What I felt like. What I was doing at the time. What we weren't doing. Was I even aware of the passage of time?

When my kids were little I lived so much in the moment that there was no time to reflect on the fact that our time as a family was measured. Sooner than we were ready, we would have to let them go. Send them on their way. Wish them an abundance of everything, but especially of love, health and joy. 

They come through you, but not from you.* 
I nod and smile, a li…

Partner Reading and Content, Too Routine (PRC2)

I'm a hoarder.
There, I've said it.
I try to deny that I'm a hoarder but it comes back to haunt me every time I move houses, or pack up my classroom at the end of the school year.
I have old articles, lesson plans, handouts, folders brimming with teaching ideas, past issues of profesional journals. I hardly throw anything out though I've learned to be more selective over the years. My one rule of thumb, and I really try to stick to this, is that if I haven't used or referred to something in a year, then it's time to toss it into the recycle bin. One exception to this rule (you knew this was coming, didn't you?) is past issues of journals from professional organizations. However, with the ability to locate articles online through my professional memberships, even this exception is becoming less and less useful, which brings me to the topic of this blog post.
I am currently reading a copy of The Reading Teacher from 2010. I've clipped a couple of informat…