Behavior: The Disrespectful

This article was forwarded to me by my middle school band director; he received it from a former co-worker who sends out these weekly tips and tricks to the colleagues she used to work with at the school. Just thought I’d share.

Behavior: The Disrespectful.

Description of the Behavior:

Reveals disrespect in the classroom in many ways: a pointed look, a sign, a sneer, or a look of clear disdain. also reveals disrespect by what he/she doesn’t do — usually through a lack of common courtesy.

Primary Cause of Misbehavior

Revenge — This student has been mistreated and is therefore mistreating others.

(I would also add that for some students it provides a sense of control when they may often feel out of control. -EowynFair)

Methods, Procedures, and Techniques to Employ Immediately:

  1. Adopt the trategic position of acting in a positive rather than a negative way. Don’t try to fight fire with fire. The behavior of this student can’t be changed with such an approach.
  2. Try responding to the offender with “What’s wrong?” Did I do something to offend you? If I did, I’m sorry.” (Note: I’ve heard some people say it is not a good idea to apologize to a rude student, because that opens you up to more back-talk. Keep in mind that this is one good way to approach the situation, but there might students and situations that need to be handled differently.  –ÉowynFair)
  3. Keep the responsibility on the student. This is an important aspect of handling the disrespectful student. Retaliating only lets him/her off the hook.
  4. A public confrontation may put the student on the spot and compel him/her to act even worse to save face or retain his/her image as one who “doesn’t get pushed around by anyone”. Whenever you can, move to the hall or a private place in the room to handle disrespect.
  5. If you believe the disrespectful remark was completely unwarranted, say so (but not in front of the class). Simply say, “Heather, I don’t think I deserve that.” Follow this remark with “Now tell me what’s really on your mind.” This is confronting in a caring and professional way. This response will produce more instant student apologies and resolve more ugly incidents than you think. (Though bear in mind that some students may think that you did deserve the disrespectful remark… –ÉowynFair)
  6. The student must know what is not acceptable behavior and what is acceptable behavior. A plan should be made to help accomplish acceptable behavior. (I would also post in the classroom the teacher responsibilities and student responsibilities. –É)

Mistakes to Avoid

  1. Getting angry and responding accordingly. As much as we would like to understand and respond in a professional way, we may find it difficult and may react in a negative way.
  2. Fighting for power or dominance in an attempt to change behavior.
  3. Reacting publicly.

Source: You Can Handle Them All Action Cards

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About Lady Fair

Lady is a musician with a bachelor's degree in music education. She plays multiple instruments and has participated in numerous musical ensembles, giving her a wide variety of experiences and knowledge to use in her teaching career. Of her ensemble participation, she has fifteen years of band experience, nine years choral, and four years in orchestra. Éowyn's primary instrument is clarinet, with voice and piano being close secondary instruments. Throughout her musical education career she studied voice and clarinet simultaneously. In addition to clarinet, piano, and voice, she has also studied violin and oboe at the college level, and also plays recorder, tin whistle, and other instruments in the woodwind family. If you ask her, she will say, "I chose to major in music education because I have a desire to use my knowledge and experience in music to share its beauty and foster a love of music in the hearts of my students. I hope to encourage my students to try their hardest, feel like they have accomplished something, and give them a life long passion for music." Lady currently teaches private lessons on clarinet, sax, flute, oboe, piano, and voice, and recently gained a position teaching orchestra and chorus at a local middle school. She is also a member of the Once Upon a Dream woodwind ensembles.
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