Getting Under the Skin

One of the tricks for dealing with bad students who think they’re really cool is to get under their skin whilst not letting them get under yours, The trouble is, by the time you feel the need to get under their skin, they’ve already got under yours. .

For example, I have an 8th grade student who’s decided he’s too cool for my class. (Note: this is one of the defining characteristics of 8th graders.) Last week, rather than work on homework when he had the chance, he spent the class playing Cat’s Cradle with a piece of green yarn. He sits with his back to me, even when I’m speaking, and today he refused to sit in his assigned seat. (Also a defining characteristic of 8th graders at the school where I work.)

Even after I told him to get in his assigned seat he just kind of shrugged and continued to talk with his friends rather than practice his speech contest speech.

During the actual speech time, when each student had to go the front and read their speech (Note: today was only practice; long story). I started calling him by the name of the student who was supposed to be sitting in the chair he was occupying. This seemed to get under his skin and make him mad, especially when I called him to do his speech. Rather than go to the front, he went back to his regular chair.

He then got mad when I told him to do his speech anyway. He gave me an eye roll and a smug look and refused to go up to the front. I leaned back and said I had all evening because the class was sixth period. I told him we could stay until 3:30 or 4:30. Either way, we’d stay until every student was finished.

Because he had me last year he knew I wasn’t bluffing and finally did his speech. He went back to the wrong seat again, but he also did the worksheet I handed out once everyone was finished.

 

 

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