Friday, September 22, 2006

Someone Unloads - The Hose Post

I've just left my classroom and I'm exhausted. For three weeks I've had to battle bad behavior by a student. I've only been teaching for 1 year, and this has never been a problem for me before.

I'll call my student BM. BM thinks he's still in high school. BM is everyone's buddy, and acts as though he's my pal, even though I have to ask him to be quiet about 5 times an hour. He acts up, goofs off, eats in class, disturbs other people, and generally acts like a wild animal suddenly asked to live in a nice hotel. No matter how I ask, no matter that I've had a meeting in my office with him, he won't stop talking in class when someone else is talking, he won't do the work, and even bad grades don't seem to worry him.

After getting an F back on a quiz, he came up to the front of the room and said, "I'm going to do better. But you have to help, too." And then he smiled big and was gone.

Most days I can manage to keep class together. But today was the worst. He continued standing up front near my desk and chatting out the door with some buddies long after I asked him to sit down. Then when he did take his seat, he muttered to a classmate until I finally had to ask him to be quiet.

He gave me a happy look and was quiet for 3 minutes. When someone across the room made a moderately humorous insight about a reading we had done, he started to fake laugh loud enough to make me think he might be some species of hyena. All I wanted was to find a fire hose and spray him with it.

What am I to do? I'm afraid the other students don't respect me now, and I've started to notice that BM's bad behavior is encouraging other students to pay less attention, and react more slowly to assignments. I want to solve this, but I don't want to overreact.