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 Teachable Moments and never winning situations 
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Today's class allowed me to recollect on the notion of the infamous phrase "teachable moments." I feel often times our brains are filled with questions like, "does this meet the curriculum standard?" or "Am I allowed to teach this?" What about the things that are not in the curriculum that need to be talked about? Often times I feel as though as teachers we are called upon our upbringings as a way we would handle things. For instance what would happen if a child backed talked you right in front of a group of parents who have their eyes glued on what your reaction is. I feel in these cases you never win because people have different opinions on how to solve these types of problems. The answer to these types of problems are not found in books or through lecture, but through the teacher themselves.

With this being said, how do you think you would handle a situation if a student backed talked to you or slugged another student in the arm when there were several parents or colleagues watching to see your reaction.

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Christin Jones


Tue Apr 28, 2009 10:09 am
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Ok so here is may attempt to answer what I would do in those situations.

The student backtalks me in front of administrators or parents:

I would respond calmly to the student, "I see you are not happy with what I just said but you do know we do not use that type of language or disrespect in my classroom. Please come and talk with me after this class so that we can figure out we can do to prevent this type of behavior from happening again"

In most cases the student will be surprised that you did not react the way they were expecting and will be thrown off guard for a moment allowing you to continue teaching without them becoming an escilating issue. The administrators and parents will see that you dealt with the situation while continuing to aknowledge that you were teaching more than just the one student. The trick is when you talk with the student you must have a creative way of preventing the situation. Maybe they just had a really bad morning at home and need to blow off some steam, maybe they are having issues at home and it is running over into everything else they do. Talk with them and draw it out of them. One of the best things about using this method is it gives you more time to come up with suitable consequences. You as the teacher are not making a rash personal decision. "Oh no that child didn't just call me a @#$%$" This is human nature but is the worse thing you can do.

For the physical contact one, in most school systems the teachers hands are tied with this one. If there is aggressive physical contact between students most require the students be taken to the office the consequences for this are usually pretty well laid out in the handbook and the laws of the school. The thing you do have control over is how you react to that student when they are returned to your classroom. This is when you pull them out and sit and discuss with them trying to figure out what caused them to act the way they did. Again it could be something as simple as they were late getting up and their parent fussed with them for making them late.


Tue Apr 28, 2009 7:52 pm
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Chuck was very thorough in his explanation, and I agree with his reasoning. It is of the upmost importance that you, as a teacher, maintain your composure and your professional demeanor at ALL times. Chances are, if a student does horrifically disrespect you or physically assaults another student, the parents and colleagues will probably react more recklessly than you will, if you keep your professional manner forefront in your mind. It is important to control the situation and to guarantee that all of your students are in a safe environment, but it is also important that you do not let your students see that they can make you lose your cool.


Thu Apr 30, 2009 12:37 pm
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