By Kathy Glass, Consulting Educator
I get constant reports that my middle-schooler is disruptive in class. My son complains about the teachers throwing him out of class even before he sits down and before the bell rings to begin class. I am always around him, his school and his friends. I am always digging for answers and listening to their stories. They too complain about the teachers not being fair.
I have gone to the school to try to get help or answers and it seems that it helps him. The complaints stop for awhile but then the ball gets easily dropped and the calls keep coming back. How can I work with my son and the school to get to the bottom of this? I want to help reinforce his good behavior but I also want to be sure that he is being judged fairly and that there are appropriate consequences for misbehavior.
It's hard to be objective when your son and his behavior is called into question. It sounds like you are on the right track, trying to get to the bottom of the situation and reinforcing his good behavior. However, from what you describe - "constant reports" of disruptive behavior - the likelihood is high that your son does have a behavior problem in the classroom. If it were only one teacher, then you might question if it is legitimate, but since the feedback does come from many teachers, you need to take this seriously and take the needed action.
It is tough for parents to remain impartial. I would think it would be best to seek advice from a school counselor, district psychologist or independent child counselor. There could be issues that you may not be aware of, like attention deficit disorder or a learning disability, which can be addressed through testing and observation by professionals.
What is most important is that you serve as your child's advocate and ultimately make decisions that will best suit your child. However, in making this decision, it would be best to seek outside expertise from teachers and a child counselor.
In addition, you can request a conference with his teachers and ask that there be a facilitator, such as a lead teacher or counselor. Tell your son to accompany you. In the meeting, you and your son can all hear information directly from teachers and make a plan of action.
Suggest that teachers institute a behavior contract. To do this, ask them to identify the behaviors they expect your son to exhibit, such as: come to class on time, be prepared to learn by bringing all necessary materials, do not talk or whisper to other students while a lesson is being presented, and so forth. Have a rating scale for each line item, like a plus for "exemplary behavior," a check for "OK behavior," and a minus for "poor behavior." Have your son rate himself on all line items in each class and show his assessment to his teachers at the end of each class period, or if that's not feasible, then after school. He should briefly discuss with each teacher if what he felt he deserved is in concert with each teacher's impression of how he behaved. At the end of each day, review the contract at home and give positive or negative rewards as reflected in the scores.
This system worked well for me when I taught, because it gives students all the information they need to be successful: 1) meeting with teachers to hear from them what they expect; 2) self-assessment; 3) teacher-student interaction; 4) positive or negative consequences.
Being able to self-discipline and behave within the confines of any organization is a critical life skill. Help your son to see how his actions affect others so that he can continue through life successfully.
Advice from our experts is not a substitute for professional diagnosis or treatment from a health-care provider or learning expert familiar with your unique situation. We recommend consulting a qualified professional if you have concerns about your child's condition.
Sign up for our newsletter and we'll send you more
insights to help you help your child succeed.
Thank you! You will begin to receive newsletters from us shortly.
Great work! Only one more step. Now we just need you to verify your email address. Please click on the link in the email we just sent you to complete your registration.
Great work! Only one more step. Now we just need you to verify your email address. Please click on the link in the email we just sent you to submit your review.
Please click on the link in the verification email we just sent you to complete your change of email address.
Whoops! It looks like we still need to verify your email. To do so, please click on the link in the email we sent you. Can't find the e-mail? Click the button below and we'll send you a new one.
Thanks for registering. Welcome to GreatSchools, the largest online community committed to improving educational outcomes through parental involvement.
Thanks for verifying your updated email address.
Oops! You haven't verified your email address yet. To do so, please click on the link in the email we sent you. Can't find the email? Click the button below to receive a new one.
Oops! That email verification link has expired. Please click the button below to receive a new one.
Create an account to submit your answers.
Sign in with an existing GreatSchools account or using Facebook:
Your review has been posted to GreatSchools.
Share with friends! Post your opinion of on Facebook.
Welcome to GreatSchools!
For principals and school officials, we offer a special Enhanced School Profile (ESP) which allows you to update and add information about your school, as well as respond to reviews. If you are a school official, click Continue to start.
Please note that it can take up to 48 hours for your comment to be posted to our site. While you're here, we'd like to invite you to fill out a survey on your school's programs, activities, and extracurriculars. It only takes a few minutes and will help parents get a full picture of your school.
Get started now! You have successfully registered and can now start updating your Official School Profile. The information you provide is extremely valuable in helping parents and students learn more about your school, so thanks for taking the time!
Thank you for registering as a school leader. We just need to verify your email address. We've sent you an email - please click on the link in that message to get started editing your school's information!
Thanks! We just sent you an email – please click on the link in the email to post your answers.
Get timely updates for , including performance data and recently posted user reviews.