Question Detail

Have you ever had a class "turn on you?"

Apr 9, 2013 12:27pm

Has anyone had any experience with a class that either because of a disagreement, disciplinary action or question of fairness have that class then collectively shut down or push back on your instruction? If so, can you share any ideas or ways in which the classroom community was repaired or how the problem was solved?

  • Other
  • 9-12
  • Class Culture


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    • Apr 9, 2013 2:05pm

      I have - We wrote letters to each student sharing our thoughts, things we thought they were doing well with and our hopes and goals for them. Then asked some questions and invited them to respond. Many did... this started a safe space for dialogue and opened the door for many students to repair some trust issues. Some kids continued to write letters to the teacher and reach out for help through this medium throughout the year.

      • Apr 9, 2013 8:22pm

        Thank you for this post, I am going through this with my class this year and it is torturous. I have always found that building positive relationships with my students is the foundation of the classroom, and I have not found a way to do that with most of this group of students. Mine are 4th graders. I have tried writing letters to them about what I admire and hope for them, but many had the response "What are we supposed to do with these? Can we throw them away?" I have been teaching for 8 years and have always prided myself on building caring communities with my students, following Responsive Classroom always guided me well. This year I am at a loss. Any advice is hoped for.
        Thank you!

        • Apr 15, 2013 11:41am

          Ask them what they want. Give it to them (within school rules) if they give you what you want.

          • Apr 22, 2013 12:28pm

            Have you written the families to ask for their support? Perhaps they maybe able to make inroads with their own child one on one in a different setting.

            • May 4, 2013 8:05am

              I am also in this situation after more than a dozen very successful years as a teacher AND a coach. Unfortunately, the class came with me from 7th to 8th grade and the misery continues. Individually, many of these kids are fine but when they are together it's a nightmare. They are like this for other teachers as well, but it's extra torture in my class because it's a double period and their language arts skills are low. Our other double is math, and there, they are more skilled.

              The downside of dealing with this negativity is how it zaps ALL the life out of me this year. While my other classes are really very good, I find I just don't have the same overall feeling about school or teaching anymore. It's really sad --I would never have expected that one group could be so destructive.

              • May 4, 2013 8:06am

                Katie, What's the Lost in School method?

                • May 6, 2013 5:25pm

                  Let's just call it what it is. This is a simple case of bullying. Students know what they are doing. I'm sure there are some in the class who have been on the receiving end of what you are experiencing and feel terrible. It would be good to do some bullying awareness. The hard part is that bullies are so insidious. In the past, I have also asked students to take out a sheet of paper and tell me about any bullying situations that they know of happening in and out of the classroom and to name names. Believe it or not, they do! If a majority of the students name one or two students as ringleaders, then you have some evidence to use to put a stop to it. Most schools have a No Bullying Policy and teachers are under that protection as well. Do something now about these students before they grow up and get really good at harming others.

                  • May 8, 2013 11:28am

                    Last semester I had this issue and it isn't any fun. We met with administrators and came up with a solution and that seemed to help a little. It was a couple weeks before the end of the semester though and most were moving out of my classroom. If you have an administrator that you would be okay with doing this, maybe ask them to come & "mediate" so you can have an open conversation and air it all out.

                    • Oct 7, 2014 9:31pm

                      Expose them all to positive role models who respect teachers, schools and the learning process and realize that teachers primary motivation is to be of help.

                      Of particular relevance would be the home page, benefits page and FAQs at: www.OnGiantsShoulders.ORG