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 A threat to your classroom... 
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Location: Appalachian State
I have a question about how you would handle having a student in your classroom, that you feel is a threat to you and to others in the class?! How would you go about handling this? Would you just go to the Principle of the school and get him/her to deal with it? Or would you try to take care of it yourself??!

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Betsy Cottrell


Wed Apr 21, 2004 2:04 pm
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i asked my sister this very same question one time because she teaches high school students. she's about my size so a lot of the students are quite a bit bigger than her. she said one time she had an unruly boy who just wouldnt listen and constantly disrupted class. she said he always yelled and basically just had a problem with authority. well one time she told him to go stand in the hall until she could come out there to talk to him. but he wouldnt leave. he walked up to her and basically just got in her face, telling her she couldnt make him. he was easily twice her size (i know because i eventually met the guy). so she calmly told him, "youre right, i can't make you leave - but i know someone who can." so she called the school resource officer to come escort the boy out of class. from that point on the principal knew how much of a "situation" the boy could cause so he always kept an eye out for him.

on other occasions my sister has had to have some more bulky male teachers come to deal with some of the guys in her class. it's kinda scary sometimes. i know if it were a girl that my sister would have no trouble handling her, but a huge guy is much different. in my opinion, they can be much more threatening. so yeah, she can manage the class on her but in the few extreme cases, she's had to find outside help.

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Casey McKnight


Wed Apr 21, 2004 5:29 pm
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I, as usual, have a very different take on this. Remember Parker Palmer? Well, I'd have to say that when one of my students (yes, much bigger than me) walked up to me, yelling, and way too much in my space, I looked at him very calmly, and with genuine compassion, and said "What is wrong?" and I really meant it. He took a step back, and collapsed. I took him out in the hall, and listened to him, with both of us in tears. He became one of my most devoted students.

Another example is rather the opposite, but to me, the same. Between classes, I saw a student at the far end of the hall back up and raise his leg to sort of kick-box the head of another kid standing, terrorized, with his back against the brick wall at the end of the hall. The first kid kicked, missed, and drew back to kick again. I was pushing a VCR/TV cart, and didn't know any of the kids. I left the cart, and ran down the hall (in my short skirt, I might add), and basically yelled at the top of my lungs, "Get your *** feet on the ground and turn around and walk away! This minute." He did. Hmm.

My conclusion: They may be big, they may be mad, but they are ours (mine), and need a parent (which is me when they are at school) who loves them, whether I know them or not, and wants them to succeed, and wants them to not screw themselves up, and has some ideas about how they should behave in order to do this.

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Gayle Turner


Wed Apr 21, 2004 6:04 pm
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wow gayle. I never thought about taking that approach to a situation like that. It seems to make sense that a student like that would have deep rooted problems. I can count soooo many times when i have had a terrible day and just wanted someone to ask me what was wrong so i could tell all of my problems to them.
Thank you for your post. It really has touched me and helped realize what i would do in the same situation.

:D

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Thoughts from Emily Highsmith =)


Wed Apr 21, 2004 9:43 pm
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WOW is right Emily...thank you so much for that reply. I wasn't expecting something like that. And to tell you the truth I have never thought about that either?! That is amazing that something like that can happen. Sometimes we just have to take a step back from anger, and say, what is wrong?! And really mean it. That is all kids want sometimes is for someone to care! Thanks again Ms. Turner :D

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Betsy Cottrell


Wed Apr 28, 2004 1:15 pm
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I feel that it is best to approach any confrontation with compassion and seek to avoid any response that would escalate the tension. Responding with genuine concern would be the best possible way to deal with a student who is acting out or making threats, its important to remember that there is often more going on beneath the surface than we can imagine.

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Tobey Mitchell


Tue May 04, 2004 6:02 pm
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