Apr 12, 2010

First you have to identify the problem!

Your child is in here somewhere, a wonderful website called "Discipline Help- You Can Handle Them All" It has two main categories: Behaviors at Home and Behaviors at School. While the correlations and manifestations of the behaviors are not exact, I like to look for my students in here; it's fun, but they also give great tips for how to deal with problem students.

The website recommends, "Before you can try to change a student behavior, you must properly identify that behavior. The identification must be specific; for example, the talker, the cheater, the bully. Therefore, in the first step, you must specifically identify the behavior based on its characteristics." On the "Behaviors at School" side, there are 117 of them, and most kids fit more than one.

Here's some of my favorites. I promise I'm not talking um, about anyone, ahem, in particular.

The Angel
Being something of a rebel myself, the angel drives me crazy. I know that behind my back she's making fun of me, blaming me for her own failures and generally being a little devil. She's the one that you catch rolling her eyes, and then denying it, and the one who falls apart when she doesn't pass because she did everything right. The Angel is often also The Spoiled Darling. If Dad is bringing her to the rink, watch out.

The Baby

Called by this list "The Immature" this is the one that demands all the attention, whose parent runs onto the ice every time he falls, and doesn't understand why you can't rearrange all the ice show rehearsals so that her child doesn't have to choose between soccer and skating. He still has to have his hand held, 6 weeks into Beginner 2. Mom also ties his skates and carries his skating bag.

Well into high school.

The Disrespectful
I see a lot of these kids, and they always tug my heartstrings a little bit, because they're clearly using a bad attitude to get attention; it's likely the only time they do.

The Absentee
The kid is usually fine, but the parents don't seem to understand, at test time, that if the kid is never there, she's not going to progress. Parents of absentees also often resort to lying, stating that in fact the child was there, and the coach is so incompetent that they didn't notice. The solution to this is to query the class-- "really? Janie's been here every time?" The kids will all back you up, because they've never seen her before and have no reason to say otherwise.

Won't try
Won't Try's mantra is "I can't." So I forbid the phrase, and then, being much more manipulative than any child, tell them they can only say "I haven't learned that yet." And they say it, and then I get to tell them, "Okay, let's learn it now." They fall for this over and over and over. It's a beautiful thing.

The Repeater
Everyone knows this kid. She doesn't want to be bad, or spacey and has no idea that she's being disruptive. She simply can't listen to, let alone retain, what you're telling her. She'll exhibit the same misbehavior over and over, often the very second you stop admonishing her, and you'll have to give her the same instruction repeatedly, because she's not listening.

I have to confess, I really like these kids. They drive you crazy in class, and they take forever to get through each level, but they're very entertaining.

Check out the site-- can you find your kid?


  1. Great list, Xan!

    I'll add a nugget of wisdom from education research:

    People would rather appear bad than dumb.

    V. interesting, hey?

    Ice Mom

  2. Weird. I don't think I fit into any of these....Haha. Maybe I'm doing something and I don't even realize it. XD That's probably the case.