Getting behaviour under control 2

 

Getting behaviour under control

I wonder who thought this one up?

You’ve got a thirteen year old boy in your class who thinks he’s the teenaged Alan Alda. His class is his audience and he knows how to catch their attention with a throwaway line. You like him, he’s clever and funny but he messes up your best-laid plans, he’s irrepressible and in your lessons there are so many opportunities for improvised fun.

Things have got to the point of no return. He has been entertaining all over the place, he’s been warned and sanctioned, detained and internally included. All his teachers have stuck to the official programme of warnings and sanctions, zero-tolerance and Saturday detentions. Strict discipline and no exceptions.

What’s next? Give him a day off school, that will teach him not to disrupt the show being given by the professional entertainer in the classrooms. Give him a five-day weekend so he can think about things and come back to school chastened. His mum will have to take time off work so that will help him to learn what to do differently when he is choosing whether to play or work in class.

No change? Give him a week or two off school, a few worksheets to dawdle and doodle over and the chance to have a well-deserved rest from the regular matinee appearances. That’ll teach him not to treat school as a joke.

If it doesn’t?

Call his mum into school again, tell her that if he doesn’t pull his socks up he’ll have to go, leave school, be permanently excluded.

She tells him, he does the well-loved alternative routine in English with the Head of Department trying to compete with his own polished ‘Ode on a Grecian Urn’ performance and being drowned out by the laughter in the room, and the next thing the entertainer knows he’s out on his ear, ‘resting’ as they say in the trade. End of story.

But we’re not quite at the punch line yet. It’s been explained to his mum that the best option, for his benefit of course, is for her to get him on roll as quickly as possible in another school. That way there will be no stain on his record to put off future employers, he can have a fresh start and that will take all the worries away.

She does. He steps into a new world, a new audience, refreshed and ready to perform.

The funny thing is, the problems disappear.

How did that happen? Good question. And no clever answers please, you at the back.

Fact: Children of between 12 to 14 years of age are at greatest risk of being excluded from school. At this age the brain undergoes a greater degree of plastic change and cellular reorganization than at any other time in life – that’s why adolescents sometimes seem to act like they’re somebody else. They are.

 

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