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Middle School Student Behavior

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posted on Jan, 15 2011 @ 09:30 AM
I am a middle school building permanent substitute teacher. I am also a retired nurse. I have the opportunity to teach in many classrooms for grades 5 through 8.

While in past years the behavior of the students has been challenging, this current school year has presented challenges the likes of which none of my co-workers have ever experienced. Never before have I been faced with such disrespect, insubordination, and immature behavior. These students are defiant and they don't seem to care and almost seem proud of their behavior. Their behavior almost serves as the focus of the classroom on some days. It is constant discipline issues. This leaves lost time for teaching. It is disruptive and unfair to those students who want to learn. There are days when I leave school totally exhausted just from the amount of discipline it takes to get through a day. These behaviors range anywhere from constant talking, to getting up out of their seats to talk to another student without permission, throwing things across the room; tipping desks, talking out of turn, laughing, yelling, arguing, throwing temper tantrums, name calling, to hitting another student. Some of this behavior is labeled ADHD.

There is protocol to follow for misbehavior. They are given verbal warnings. Sometimes the teachers change student seating to break up the "talkers". The teacher may send an offending student to sit in the hall for a "time out". After two or three verbal warnings, the student can be "written up" and sent to the vice principal. What follows is anywhere from a few hours in ISS (in school suspension), to OSS (out of school suspension), depending the severity of the offense. The vice principal makes phone calls to the parent (s) or guardian of the student to discuss the behavior and it's consequences. Unfortunately, many parents either don't care, or blame the teacher as "picking" on a particular student. If a school is cited for too many suspensions", they are penalized by the school corporation, and worst case scenario, the vice principal could be terminated.

On any given day, the same students can be found sitting in the ISS room. They are repeat offenders. After so many OSS, the student can be brought up for expulsion, only to return the next semester of school. Again, too many suspensions or expulsions, and the school is penalized.

I fear that soon, teachers will just walk out of the classrooms; and maybe this is what needs to happen. One particular teacher, in her 30's, is trying desperately to find different ways to manage these students behaviors. We have "lunch detention" which means that for less offensive behaviors, but still disruptive, the students are held during the first 20 minutes of their lunch, then they have 10 minutes to eat. The teacher also suspends her lunch time to oversee the lunch detention. Lately, there have been so many students on lunch detention that the hallway is filled on both sides. They are given a slip to be signed by their parent(s) that has to be returned the following day, or they receive another detention. Some do return the slips, most don't. There have been no parental complaints about lunch detention. But again, it is usually the same students every day.

Just yesterday, two young ladies thought it cute to do cartwheels down the hallway. A teacher gave a verbal warning. Both girls looked directly at the teacher, and did another cartwheel. This was captured on video. The girls were "written up". This behavior took place during a "passing period" which means that the entire grade was in the hallway, making this behavior very dangerous. When written up, the girls thought it was "stupid" and were also laughing about it, stating "are you serious?" This is just an example of the oppositional defiance that we see everyday. There have been incidents where students have punched teachers. Those students were expelled.

The students will argue and yell back at the teacher. A student will call the teacher a "name" and the only consequence is a "talk" with the vice principal, maybe 2 hours in ISS. It has reached the point where many of these students enjoy going to ISS and will purposefully act out to get placed there. Obviously this endangers their education.

If this year is a preview to what is coming in the near future, I suspect we will see more and more teachers leaving the profession. We are exhausted and running out of options.

posted on Jan, 15 2011 @ 09:42 AM
As far as I remember, here in Romania there is a law that fines the parents of the students that skip classes or misbehave. They are fined from 500RON ($161) to 5000RON ($1.612) or community service (for those unable to pay the fine). I haven't heard anything of it from the moment it was implemented (or if it was implemented at all).

I do agree that children nowadays are getting more and more "cool", as they call themselves, most probably because of their parents I believe (not all are to blame, sometimes even with the parent's full support and education it is hard to control a kid).

Edit to add: I also side with the teachers on this one, as they have a hard time keeping the kids under control. Not to mention the parents that think that their offsprings are being picked on because the teacher doesn't like them or that he/she doesn't see how "special" their kid is.
edit on 15-1-2011 by flk1331 because: (no reason given)

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posted on Jan, 15 2011 @ 09:48 AM
reply to post by aero56

this is the result of bad parenting. you really should be able to go to the house an give one of them a smack on the head. go into the parents place of work and act like their brat child, then ask what kind of mood it left them in.

posted on Jan, 15 2011 @ 09:51 AM
reply to post by aero56

Not sure what the issue is with the kids. I have a 10 year old boy who we adopted at the beginning of the year. We live in a a nice upscale community with lots of kids. As of late I have realized that these kids have serious problems with authority. They yell back at their parents, don't listen to anything they say, and the parents don't do anything. It has gotten to the point that I want to ban him from playing with these kids, but on the flip side, do I want him to have no friends, if this is how all kids his age behave? A tough situation.

I think it can be attributed to the parents. Why are parents so willing to take the easy way out? Is it because the grinds of everyday living have made it too hard for the parents to make a living and also handle their children in a responsible way? I don't know, but something needs to give or we will have a generation of vile, violent young adults who will lead the world into it's next stages.

posted on Jan, 15 2011 @ 09:52 AM
reply to post by aero56

I can sense your immense frustration through your well thought out and succinct post.

I used to want to teach until I started talking to teachers of a similar disposition to my own.
I WILL NOT babysit urbanized feral preteen kids. Most of these kids are conditioned to act out, and the ones that turn around do so at varying degrees later in life due to their conditioning being broken by the "better angels" of their nature.

My little brother is like this, and my biological Father and step-mother throw up their hands in defeat. He is a tyrant. I can't stand to be around it. I try to help, but there is so much that I can't do not being his parent.

Better parenting is the only answer. I hate to sound cynical, but in today's world, that seems unlikely to happen at once to effect any immediate change. Good luck, and may the force be with you.

posted on Jan, 15 2011 @ 09:53 AM
I have watched 'Dr. Phil' shows where the parents did not know what to do with their aggressive violent ans out-of-control teen(s). But what clearly struck me, was that on all these show situations, the parents, BOTH of them, were TERRIFIED to stand up for themselves, they were quivering jello. When I was a little kid 1959-to-1970, every kid was TERRIFIED of grownups. If your parents did not beat you until your skin broke, with a belt, the school teacher would beat you with a wooden paddle, until your skin, or the paddle broke. However, such measures are too extreme, and I know now, that those situations were abuse. But we said "yes sir" and "yes mam" and stayed quiet in church. The current circumstance today is an awfull one. A kid could go get a lawyer and put his parent in jail for abuse. if he is locked in his room with no supper. Like that old Marilyn Monroe movie saying goes, "Somethings got to give..."

posted on Jan, 15 2011 @ 09:56 AM
When I was in middle school, I was in the same situation as a student. I was a pretty good student, but not perfect. My parents didn't have the money for private school, so I went to the public middle school. My motivation quickly diminished as soon I found myself dragged down to the level apathy of my classmates. I was changed for the worse, and I can thank the system for that.

I can't really describe my feelings here without violating the T&C. But stronger feeling than what I'm conveying here do exist.

posted on Jan, 15 2011 @ 10:05 AM
reply to post by satron

Yes, I totally understand what you mean. I feel for the students who want to learn. It breaks my heart to see them suffer because of the bad behavior of the offending students.

posted on Jan, 15 2011 @ 10:10 AM
reply to post by daeoeste

Unfortunately, bad parenting is not being considered as an issue when it comes to classroom misbehavior. These behaviors are a key element in test scoring. Poor test scoring is being blamed on the teachers. "Good' teachers are going to be given merit pay. I suggest that a "good" teacher removed from a high scoring school and placed in an urban school, would no longer be considered a "good" teacher. Granted there are teachers who are not as motivated or creative as other teachers, but overall, most teachers are very motivated and really care about their students. The issue is not good or bad teachers. It is good or bad parenting, but the government thinks otherwise.

posted on Jan, 15 2011 @ 10:12 AM

Originally posted by daeoeste
reply to post by aero56

I can sense your immense frustration through your well thought out and succinct post.

I used to want to teach until I started talking to teachers of a similar disposition to my own.
I WILL NOT babysit urbanized feral preteen kids. Most of these kids are conditioned to act out, and the ones that turn around do so at varying degrees later in life due to their conditioning being broken by the "better angels" of their nature.

My little brother is like this, and my biological Father and step-mother throw up their hands in defeat. He is a tyrant. I can't stand to be around it. I try to help, but there is so much that I can't do not being his parent.

Better parenting is the only answer. I hate to sound cynical, but in today's world, that seems unlikely to happen at once to effect any immediate change. Good luck, and may the force be with you.

Thank you for your compliment on my post. I very much appreciate that.

posted on Jan, 15 2011 @ 10:13 AM
reply to post by aero56

I fear that soon, teachers will just walk out of the classrooms

I did just that. There were more reasons to me leaving my position than just student behavior, but had the budget not fell through, I would have walked out of my job anyway. I had the opportunity to work with grades 5-12 seeing as I am a specialty teacher. The kids literally ran the school. The teachers were powerless to stop them, mostly because the staff, administration, and parents were all buddy-buddy. It was a very small-town school and everybody knew everybody. When I walked in, I started handing out discipline slips without any warning. I informed the kids about this, because my time with them was too valuable to waste on nonsense. Some kids took the hint, and were very great about it all, and some kids were habitual trouble makers. I eventually started ejecting kids out of my program because they would not learn, and would not participate. I took several "mental health days" during the year, because there was a point where I was afraid to walk into that building. Not because of the behavior of the kids, but because I was at wit's end. I was afraid I would snap. It takes a lot for me to do that.

I think the problem lies with not only the inept educational system, but with administration who is more concerned about lining their pockets, and parents who don't give a damn. You throw all of that crap at a teacher, and what are we to do? There is no recourse; the administration doesn't help. and the union certainly doesn't help.

Study groups wonder why there is a shortage of teachers in this country. Well, look at a generic Anytown, U.S.A. classroom. Out of a class of 28 kids, I would wager that 10 of them are habitual trouble makers through no fault of their own. It comes down to the parents. The witch hunt began a few years ago against bad teachers. Yes, there are horrible teachers out there...I worked with a few. There are also teachers who work their asses off, spend their own money on supplies (like I did), stay late hours to help kids, and sacrifice their own well-being to make sure a kid gets a decent grade. How do these teachers cope when the parents won't even take an active role in their child's life?

I am now a substitute teacher with a few districts in my area. I will not go back to regular classroom teaching ever again. The educational system is bunk, and it really needs to be revised for the 21st century....without government regulation. Focus needs to be put back on the parents. If they are illiterate, without a high school diploma, etc. make them get it. Force them to be better parents through example. Administrators need to make time to meet with every teacher in the district at least once during the year. More teacher mentoring programs need to be put in place for first year teachers; and the tenure system? Throw it out the window. Want to know how many "bad teachers" have tenure? Over 75% of them.

Teachers don't do it for the money. If we were in it for the money, we would have never went to college for an education degree. We do it, because we believed, at one point, that we were making a difference in the world. Now, I'm not so sure.

This is one teacher who will not have his own classroom again through his own choice.

To all the teachers out there: thank you for hanging in there, and dealing with all the "mucky-muck." You are the last line of defense between enlightenment and ignorance. Don't give up yet. The battle has yet to be won.

Peace be with you.

edit on 15-1-2011 by truthseeker1984 because: (no reason given)

posted on Jan, 15 2011 @ 10:16 AM
It's nothing new.

I left school 16 years ago and the behaviour of my fellow classmates at that time was so terrible that I ended up hardly ever going for the last two years due to the sheer terror of the Lord of the flies type behaviour that occurred on a daily basis.

Some of the things I remember happening when I did attend were.
Making a maths teacher sob in class because the pupils kept teasing her about her recently deceased husband.
Dog excrement being smeared on blackboards
Several pregnancies ( no not caused by me before anyone asks)
The art teacher going crazy and punching one of the pupils square on the jaw after kicking his own art room door down
Regular drug use
One girl bringing a very large sex toy into class and placing it proudly on her desk

As you can imagine it was not a place you wanted to be in if you wanted to learn anything so I just walked out and ended up getting home schooled and passing all of my exams with higher marks then 99% of the school

As a side note I'm pretty sure a lot of the social phobia I experienced later in life came from those experiences
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edit on 15-1-2011 by davespanners because: (no reason given)

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posted on Jan, 15 2011 @ 10:19 AM
I've been observing these changes over the past 30 years.

It's not just poor parenting to blame. It's what the entire culture has been reduced to over time, especially once children became targets for advertising. From there on Media has usurped the family and just about any concept of Respect that had existed.

Each of us played our part by not standing up and speaking loudly on how we don't want our kids brainwashed with the ever-increasing graphic violence, sexual themes, the rise of "Image" as what a person is, the push toward children owning technology they don't need, and the all encompassing empowerment over their parents.

During this time we gave them adult rights and expected them to handle it when they are kids. We sexualized our daughters and taught our sons to be soldiers.. and when they asked us for more we gave it to them without asking anything in return. We allowed them to fall into an Instant Gratification world of experience.

We did that because many of us went without in our childhood, so we over-compensate with our kids. And, we don't want our kids to be "Sad"... the very thing they have all learned to use against their parents.

Over those years the young kids grew to be less efficient parents and more self-centered, their kids copied and took it to another level.. and so their kids are the troublesome ones we see today in the 9 to 19 age-group.

It can't be blamed on any one thing, it is a lot of things over a long period of time that has brought us to this Experience.

edit on 15-1-2011 by Tayesin because: spelling

posted on Jan, 15 2011 @ 10:24 AM
This is exactly why our public school system (i.e., student grades) is so poor. The students lack discipline and generally speaking, parents just don't seem to care. The teachers and administrators are handcuffed in many respects as to disciplinary action. So what you are left with is an unruly class that isn't there to learn; rather, they are there to socialize. I feel for the teachers. I also feel for the hand full of students that are there to learn but can't because class is constantly disrupted.

I can't help but think that perhaps school should be voluntary, rather than mandatory and it should be easier to expel unruly kids from class. That way, the kids that really want to learn can do so without distraction. Furthermore, I would like to see laws implemented that prohibit those under 18 from obtaining jobs unless they are enrolled in school or have obtained their GED. When the student rosters start getting thin, then maybe parents will wake up, take some responsibility for their children, discipline their children and get the children back on track.

my 2-cents

posted on Jan, 15 2011 @ 10:26 AM
Middle school was brutaly bad when I was there, though, 1972-to-1974. You were afraid of the popular kids, they were scary formidable thugs. One time, I was in a classroom, and this girl turned around to me, and handed me a 'dime bag' of pot, and told me to pass it to the girl in back of me. I was too afraid not to. I stayed quiet and stayed invisible. Otherwise, I would recieve what happened to a girl I watched. She was being beaten-down outside across the street from the school. By about 6 girls. But a grownup came out of her house and grabbed the girl in. Thank God.

posted on Jan, 15 2011 @ 10:35 AM
It really depends on WHERE the teacher teaches. I live in mid Missouri in a relatively small town. I'm a junior in high school, and yes, I do see a lot of disrespect coming from the children and although I can't specifically comment on your situation because i'm not there but three possibilities come to mind.

1. Your a teacher with a bad reputation so the kids are more unruly with you.
2. Subs always get picked on, it's not right or fair but they do so maybe thats what your experiencing.
3. The kids are just punks and truly are bad kids.

Maybe a combination of those three, I don't know.

Also, although I see a lot of attacks on students and kids in general in this thread, (none of which I disagree with) i feel the teachers are also somewhat responsible. I'm a strong believer in public school reform on a national level. One of the things I would reform is teachers, They're many good teachers here in the U.S., just like there are many good students, but like students there are many bad ones too! So I think teachers are partly to blame for our public schools being so #ty.

Either way sorry for your predicament and I hope you solve it!

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posted on Jan, 15 2011 @ 10:37 AM
My wife is a teacher in a large city and is constantly frustrated by the total disrespect of the students as well. And, yes, a large part of the time the parents would rather blame the school than their "little angel".

The truth is; it is not ADD, LDHD, or whatever.. it is usually and simply LAW. Lack of Ass Whuppens.

Of course, as a parent, I know it is not as easy as it seems. There is no question in my house who runs the place, my 3.5 year old daughter... We constantly have to battle the influences of classmates (even in day care) and what is seen on the television. If you have kids, you know that many children's shows have smart ass kids, who know it all, and the adults are buffoons. Even in the cartoons, all the characters are low lifes and jack asses.

So what do you do? completely shelter the kids? Home school? Beat the "spark" out of them?

Basically, we try the middle road. Try to manage other influences. We don't beat them senseless, but we don't completely spare the "rod" either.

Too bad we don't educate the parents, first...
edit on 15-1-2011 by 5MaveN5 because: my proof reader went to public school

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posted on Jan, 15 2011 @ 10:41 AM
It's a huge problem nationwide and I'm scared to see what this country will look like 5, 10 or 20 years from now.

I've thought long and hard about this for a few years, since my own child became school-aged. I don't pretend to have any answers and certainly none of the possible answers is easy.

What I did conclude is that there is a lack of values and ethics in our educational system. We are so crazy about separating Church and State that we have inadvertently labeled all values and ethics as religious or judgmental in some fashion.

Parents see basic rules of behavior being applied to their out of control children and feel judged in some way. So they set about expunging all rules of conduct that in any way have a moral foundation. We have to decide which types of behavior and conduct are conducive to learning and which aren't and apply the rules strictly.

Additionally, we educate to the lowest common denominator. As the OP mentioned, a large chunk of educational time is spent managing the problem students and not inspiring the dedicated ones.

We don't want anyone to feel "bad" or "left behind" so we make exceptions, grade on a curve and mediate trouble instead of taking a hard-line. The result, no one learns anything.

We would not accept such crappy results from a professional sports team, corporate sales results or our President without making sweeping changes so why are we willing to accept failure for our children? Is it because, as a nation, we really just want a tax-funded babysitting service to give us a break from our shameful parenting? I think so.

edit on 15/1/2011 by kosmicjack because: (no reason given)

posted on Jan, 15 2011 @ 10:43 AM
reply to post by aero56

My son is in 6th this year, and unfortunately falls under this catagory of student. I refuse to control him with meds though due to the fact that my 26 year old cousin was on such meds from the time she was four and she is now truly messed up. I struggle day to day with this son, one of four boys I have given birth to. My oldest is level headed, though from time to time, moody, but has never been a problem in school. My 6th grader, however, is very obstinent, and talks ugly, talks back, mistreats his brothers, breaks dress codes at school and no discipline methods have seemed to curb his behavior here or at school. I am often at a loss, trying to figure out what and where I went wrong with him.

My youngest two are pretty wild, and inattentive at school, but do not cause many problems at home. I don't know if this is generational or not, but the punishments of yore do not seem to mean anything to them. They have no fear.

As for school, seeing this pattern increasing, it seems that the education system best be adjusted to the way these children learn best. Hand's on and physical application lesson sets will be required. Movement must bcome an integral part of their day to day lessons. Even though in our home, we do not have video games anbd the only internet is through this 3G phone, I wonder if the exposure to the chemicals and radiation that leaks from all these devices that have been around their whole lives has anything to do with it.

What I mean is, do these constant waves of energies from frequencies and chemicals from the innards of these devices change their chemicam make up? Or could it be all the modified foods they have consumed their entire lives. We live in a different world and things are going to have to change in order to prosper this godless generation that seems to worship devices and music/movie stars instead.

My family goes to church, but my 6th grader, though he accepted Christ when he was 7, does not live by the Word, but the world...

This place called earth is going downhill and is taking a generation with it...and I'm fightinh a loosing battle. (But I will never give up on my son.)

[One parent's frustrated perspective]

Do not give up on our children...modify the program...
edit on 1/15/11 by staciebee because: (no reason given)

posted on Jan, 15 2011 @ 10:45 AM
reply to post by 5MaveN5
Spare the rod spoil the child bull#. I'm 16, i'v been spanked twice my entire life, i'm not unruly, I make good grades, and i'm a good kid. Although I completely agree that your child SHOULD be disciplined, I think beating them is completely uncalled for and child abuse. I'm not saying you do, but thats what your post could be interpreted as! Also it is fair to mention people are different and there is only one of me, everyone is different so everyone calls for a little different parenting style, but i'm against people beating their kids!

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