• Welcome teachers! Log in or Register Now for a free ProTeacher account!

Irritating child


Nicole E.

I have a cherub in my classroom who tests me nonstop. He will laugh/joke as soon as I'm talking, sit with his hand hanging over his chair and not start a task when others are, sit as far away as possible when sitting as a group and when I ask him to sit closer, he plays the "I'll move a centimeter at a time to drive her insane game"; when we're in a line, he'll get a few steps out just to disobey. It's those little things that he does to test constantly which are not big enough to create a huge scene, but they sure make my blood boil when pulled constantly. He is also very sneaky and can leave his chair and be back in it before I turn around from the chalkboard. I will admit that I dislike him at this point. I feel he is in for serious trouble in his future, and frankly, I really dread dealing with him everyday. I pulled him aside this morning to discuss respect with him, and he rolled his eyes at me the whole time. I made him stand in the hall until he could apologize sincerely, but frankly, I don't know what to do to prevent his testing. I would gladly appreciate some advice on a child that I'm simply not clicking with and makes me seethe, at times. Thank you.


Have you tried the

How you are treated is determined by the way you behave.
Since you are not following my normal class room procedure,
you will not have normal classroom work... Give him sentences
or copy a dissertation on procedures and respect. ohhh welll
How you are treated is determined by the way you behave...


Senior Member

You're letting him show you disrespect and get away with it. It's going to continue if you don't put an end to it now. What are your class rules for that? Follow them. Pull him out in the hall and remind him of them. Have his parents been contacted? I would do this at the next infraction (no matter how small):

1. Pull him aside and remind him of the rules and consequences.
2. Send a note or call mom to let her know he's been reminded, and what will happen if he continues.

If he sees it won't be tolerated, he'll stop. You're the teacher - don't let him run your classroom or your blood pressure.


Senior Member

I'd let him sit as far away as possible. My major pain has to. Your's sounds like mine, he's looking for your attention and doesn't care if it's negative attention. Ignore all you can. When he is doing something annoying give a compliment to one of your other good behaving kids. Don't let him push your buttons. If he knows he's getting to you, he'll enjoy it. I try to remind myself everyday, spend time with the kids that are there for learning. The good kids get ignored too much. They are the ones who deserve your attention. I'm much happier when I manage to focus my efforts on them and so are they. If he's not hurting anyone else, ignore him. I had to have a talk while mine was out on an errand about helping him by ignoring any bad behavior of his. I explained that I could see and hear fine and they didn't need to tell me what he was doing unless it as hurting someone, stealing something like that. I also told them they needed to stay focused on me. I am their teacher and they will learn from me. They do pretty good most of the time and it helps some.

Nicole E.

Thank you

Thank you for blessing me with wonderful advice. I know this child has some mental and emotional issues, and I am already in contact with his parents regularly. The home life is volatile, and they are having more severe difficulties at home with violence and stealing. I am so sad to see him throw a bright mind away as he is doing, and that is why I get so worked up by his actions. He displays little conscience or regret for his actions, and that part worries me more for his future. I have always prided myself on running an orderly classroom, and this one gets the best of me, and I most resent him for taking away from those ones who are there doing the right things day after day. So, you're right, I've got one last marking period to make it the best it can be for the majority of the class who are a joy to be around. I will try to ignore tomorrow and praise the good. I'll let you know how it goes. Thank you for the wise advice I was looking for.

Nicole E.

It's not always that cut and dry

I appreciate your advice here, because before the year started, I could see myself posting a similar post. However, this year, I've found that with a few disturbed children, phone calls can be made daily, behavior journals can be introduced, daily principal visits can occur, several trips to the hall a day can happen, and recess and lunch privileges can be revoked when rules are broken, but there is that one child that does not care what you take away, provide as incentives, etc. Because I was so exhausted and frustrated when initially posting, I may have appeared to be a wishy-washy teacher, but actually the extreme opposite is true. I have a strict classroom with specific rules and consequences. Part of the problem is the child is so quick and so sneaky at what he does, that I do not catch things with my own eyes/ears. The students see it, and I end up with a "he said, she said." I have gotten the child a once-a-week counselor who discusses anger management with him at school, but there certainly needs to be more. The parents have seen jail time, so they are not extemely supportive to my cause either. Believe me, I do follow through, and this is the first child in twelve years that I haven't had come to respect me. I hope I've better explained my postion here and hope you never experience a challenge like this one.


Junior Member
Disruptive Child

It seems that this child is facing a lot of challenges as well as presenting a lot of challenges to you and your other students. With that being said, he still needs to learn that rules are for everyone, and they have a purpose. The earlier he learns this, the better he will function in society. However, with all that he brings with him to school, you can only do so much. That is hard for me to remember sometimes.

You mentioned that sometimes he deliberately sits away from the group and does not want to participate. Perhaps you could allow a fun activity for excellent group participation (don't mention beforehand) and even a special reward (such as a bookmark, free homework pass, etc.) Since he didn't participate in group activity, he doesn't reap the rewards. It may take a few times, but hopefully, he will get the message.

As we all know, some children are more difficult to like than others. This student fits that category, but he probably needs the love most of all. Just remember, school has a few more weeks. Hang in there. Summer is coming!


Only positives

This will try your patience, but your cherub is already doing that. This worked for my own son and it's worked with some of my students. We can get into a spiral and sometimes it's difficult to extricate ourselves--both teachers AND students. Try only saying positive comments-no negatives. You will have to bite your tongue frequently. If he gets out of his seat, praise him for quickly returning. If he sits away from the group thank him for making a good decision about where to sit (because he knows he can't be quiet.) If he picks up his pencil, praise him. When he walks in line, hold his hand. It takes a while, but suddenly he will start to buy in because he IS getting the attention he craves. Let me know how it works.