It’s not unusual for new teachers like Ms. Rollison to feel overwhelmed when faced with problem behaviors in the classroom. It is important to remember that there are many people who can help:
District behavior support teams
District behavior specialists
Each of these people or groups has unique areas of expertise to help deal with students and behavior and can support Ms. Rollison at many different levels.
Other teachers, those who have had years of experience with various student behaviors and have seen it all, can also be a good source of information. They can suggest strategies that they have used in similar situations. In particular, special education teachers, who often receive training in specialized behavioral interventions, can prove an especially valuable resource.
Click on the movie frame to learn how Ms. Rollison secures support (time: 1:28).
Narrator: Ms. Thibodeaux, a special educator, team teaches down the hall from Ms. Rollison. As the two teachers stand together during hall duty, Ms. Rollison shares some of her frustrations with Patrick and Tameka. Ms. Thibodeaux suggests that they meet after school, as she might be able to help.
Ms. Rollison: Thanks for meeting with me, Helen. I’m so frustrated with these two students!
Helen: No problem, Mia. Let’s see how I can help. You mentioned that Tameka refuses to work. Does this happen all the time?
Ms. Rollison: No. It’s sporadic, mostly whenever we have a writing assignment.
Helen: How do her writing skills look?
Ms. Rollison: Actually, they’re not bad. She won’t do the work that I request in class, but during free time she writes stories to go along with all of the drawings she does, and they’re quite funny. She’s got some little problems with punctuation and spelling, but nothing more serious that the rest of my students. She’s got the skills, she likes to write. I think she just doesn’t like to do my writing assignments.
Helen: And Patrick?
Ms. Rollison: He’s out of his seat, making rude comments, refuses to work a lot. He’s totally unpredictable. Some days he’s great, others he’s completely off. I have figured out a lot of it has to do with whatever’s going on at home.
Helen: Let’s focus on what to do in the classroom, because I can help you with that. Here are a few ideas…
Narrator: Ms. Thibodeaux begins to explain some behavioral interventions to Ms. Rollison: high-probability requests, choice making, and differential reinforcement.