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No Respect


New Member
I am currently student teaching in a first grade classroom. The students bounce off the walls and rarely follow directions when they are under my instruction. As a student teacher this lack of respect is extremly frustrating, my cooperating teacher and I have discussed this issue yet we are at a stalemate when it comes to correcting the problem. Anybody have any suggestions as how to gain these "crazy kids" respect?
>>Any ideas are greatly appreciated!!! :)


Senior Member

What grade do you teach? What are your management strategies? Are you consistant with your management and consequences? Do they know you mean business or do they get too many chances? My subs have a problem with all of the above because kids will push as far as they are allowed to go. They know I don't vary from our posted class norms and consequences. If they get to the point where they have to call a parent they call right on the spot. They have to explain to the parent why they are calling and what is going to happen (A detention.) The length of the detention is dependant on how serious the problem was.
You have to let them know you are in charge. I teach 1st grade and I do a smiley face/sad face under the words Free Friday. This is done without talking. I simply walk up to the board and either put a smiley or sad face up. The kids remind each other they need more smiles than sad faces to get free choice centers Friday afternoon. Our school uses the card system for management and I have 4 colors. Blue is the best and on Friday any student on Blue gets to get into the treasure box and they get a certificate for outstanding behavior. Green is the next color and anyone on green by Friday gets a certificate for good behavior but no treasure, yellow is the next color and they lose recess, red is the final color and they must call their parents and they get in school detention. Could be 15 min. all the way to a full day. If one student is still not following class norms then they get a card pulled and on Friday if they are on yellow they must sit at their desk and do work or read but can't get up and do centers. The kids work hard to get Free Friday.
Good luck. Respect is a huge issue and is not an easy thing to get.


New Member
Since you have already begun, it's hard to rein in the kids. The best way is to have a class meeting. Usually Monday morning is best. Have the boys and girls sit down and ask them if they know what respect is? Get them to talk about it and then define it for yourself. Also, discuss how they show respect to each other. (When they are noisy, "messing around", they are bothering the boys and girls who are working.) You can use a T-chart with "Looks Like" & "Sounds Like" headings. Elicit that students who respect the teacher, school, and each other usually find out that they will get their work done and have time for fun things, such as as extra recess, popcorn party, etc. Go over specifics, good listener, how to line up, etc. Use a group reward and individual rewards, consequences. Put the word RESPECT on the board in bubble letters. Everytime the group does a good job lining up, etc. give specific praise and color in a letter. If they do not do a good job, then it's "Oops, do over". If individuals are having difficulty, have consequences ready...maybe they need to sit out recess and think about how it looks, etc.
Make sure you give consequences right away and make sure that they see the benefits, like, "Oh good, we have time for an extra story or game!" Or "I'm sorry, since you didn't follow directions, go lay you head down for 5 minutes or until you are ready to show respect." Think through every possibility that has happened so far and have a response ready.
Also, at the end of the day, you can pass out one or two "Super Workers" tickets to those you have caught doing a Super job. Keep track, because more kids will want that recognition!
Good luck! Student teaching and your first year are the trickiest!


Full Member
breaking down instructions

There could be many things going on, but here is one suggestion that works for me:

When you lead a lesson or activity, break down each step and give instructions one at a time. E.g. if you are going to do a writing lesson, start with: Everyone sit quietly. (wait until done) Reach into your desk and pull out your book. Say, I know you are ready when your book is out and your hands are folded on your desk (wait until done). etc... one step at a time, so that you maintain control over each step. If something goes wrong, don't proceed until they've got it. You can say (a la "First Days of School" by Harry Wong), "That wasn't the way we take out our books. Let's put them back inside our desks and we'll practice until we can do it correctly."

The reason I suggest this is that there are a couple of new teachers at my school who I see having trouble with control, and I notice they say things like, "OK everyone push in your chairs and line up," which creates instant chaos. Instead, saying, "Clear off your desks. Heads down, and I will choose the quietest group to line up first," makes things more orderly and manageable.

I guess this comes down to having clear, simple routines about the way students do things-- structure is great!


Junior Member
Great insight


A great message. I have a tendency to go really fast when I give instructions and I have to constantly repeat them or hollar over the students.

I will try the slow and steady approach next time. Thanks for a great tip.


New Member
You seem to be very knowledgable about management of the classroom. I'm a first year teacher and would like to put more of these practices into place for next year. Did you learn these ideas from your experience or alone or is there a particular resource you can refer me to for more information?