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Why can children be so callous at times?

Discussion in 'Behaviour' started by steftucker, May 15, 2014.

  1. steftucker

    steftucker New commenter


    I am an LSA and was in a year 8 class today...found myself wandering round nosing at what the students were doing while the teacher popped out for 2 minutes. One student proceded to ask what my role at the school was, to which I replied and that I was thinking of teaching in the future. This student then replied 'well wait 5 years cos I won't be in this school then' and laughed. I thought this was quite rude, and a sly indication of her dislike towards me. I have previously seen her looking at my arms ( which have a bit more hair on them than most women ) , gesturing to her peers and sniggering. I must say it takes me back to being teased at school and I don't like it, but have chosen to let it slide for the meantime unless it happens again. My guesses are that this girl is simply trying to test my reaction-and is finding buttons to press. My question is that it bothers me now while i am still new, but will it get better as in will I be able to take it on the chin in the future? do we ever become 'immune' to these insults and snide comments?
  2. I am new as well and experience this as well. I think in the future, you just don't let it pass. You keep her at the end asking her how it would feel to hear that about herself, and depending on reaction, let's see what your tutor/parent think of this.

    Or I may be wrong who knows
  3. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    Hi Stef

    Many teachers will tell you that if you work in a school you have to have a thick skin and not to take insults personally. Depending on the school, you will always get these type of snide comment from some of the students. In the more challenging schools it will happen more than in a school where the behaviour is generally good.

    I agree with Anaa, you shouldn't let it pass. I used to let a lot of commments go and not follow up since I work on supply and it was easier just to ignore it. Now, however, I am ruthless and follow up any rude or disrespectful behaviour ( most of the time) instantly. As Ana suggested, have a word after the lesson with said student.

    In some schools, however, be prepared to experience a WHOLE lot worse than what you describe. You only have to read the threads on this forum to get the picture.

    I don't think we get immune, but we can put it into perspective and learn how to deal with it more effectively and the way you learn how to deal with it is through experience.
  4. Tom_Bennett

    Tom_Bennett Occasional commenter

    It will get better, and it does, as long as you learn to dislocate yourself professionally from the emotional content of your experience when you need to. You'll get kids who don't know you, saying much worse, if you aren't lucky. They don't know who you are, they're just lashing out at an authority figure. Pretend it isn't happening to you, and it's something on TV. But follow up as if it were the most important thing in the world, and make sure that consequences are unleashed for such rudeness: a detention, a call home, a demerit, whatever the schools permits. The sooner pupils see that you won't be treated churlishly, they sooner they'll stop.

    And why do they do it? Because human nature.

    Good luck
  5. scienceteacha

    scienceteacha New commenter

    It is best to not take such comments personally but do follow up and let the little **** know they won't get away with it. Remember some kids , for whatever reason ( 5 h 1t home lives etc, corrosion of society due to capitalism and celebrity worship) will try and seek any sort of attention, good or bad. With some kids it is just human nature, frankly I utterly despair of SOME individuals of our species at times, it makes me wish for Judgement day where those without sin will be saved!
  6. re

    re New commenter

    They are trying it on. They need to be taught that rudeness is not an option and will be punished. Because this girl is overtly (and slightly more covertly) rude to you, you need to explain the error of her ways. She knows that she is doing it and with each passing hour she gets away with it she is establishing dominance.
  7. MrEsson

    MrEsson New commenter

    Yeah just to echo what's been said. Don't take it personally if you do children will learn quickly how push your buttons and they will enjoy doing so. Always follow up. If you are feeling particularly offended or emotional by the insult maybe wait until you are sure you can have that discussion and deliver whatever sanction calmly and rationally
  8. andrew07

    andrew07 Occasional commenter

    Thirteen years of Labour. Nuff said.
  9. re

    re New commenter

    So everything was sweetness and light in the previous seventeen years? I think not. I have been teaching Key Stage 3-5 since 1980 in a variety of schools and I can honestly say that behaviour and general respect have improved, although the latest Tory regime has depressed morale.
  10. andrew07

    andrew07 Occasional commenter

    Just keep saying that to yourself.
  11. Tom_Bennett

    Tom_Bennett Occasional commenter

    Don't let it slide. Get her in with her classroom teacher or a member of senior staff and explain how offensive her comments were. Then either set a sanction with the staff, or demand an apology and an assurance it won;t happen again. Because it probably will if you let her think she can say these kinds of things with no consequence.

    Good luck

  12. dozymare1957

    dozymare1957 Occasional commenter

    When children in school whinge at me, "Mi-issssssssssssss, Billy called me fat" I tell them to ignore Billy because he's only doing it to get a reaction. They ignore Billy. Very soon Billy loses interest.

    I don't suppose anyone will agree with me but I'd be inclined to offer you the same advice. Or better still, you could discuss your hairy arms with the children and ask what they would do if they had them. Discuss shaving vs cream vs living with them. Explain your decision to keep the hair. There will be kids in the room who have hairy arms and you could help them with their confidence. It's also a good way of introducing the idea of looks in general and things that might be worrying these children about their own self esteem. You could become a huge support to the children who perceive themselves has having things about themselves that they don't like.

    Try not to let them upset you because children are notoriously tactless.

    I wouldn't let them know that they are bothering you because if they are truly nasty children (and some are truly nasty) they will take great delight in continuing with this nastiness. If you ignore it, they will lose interest.
  13. Tom_Bennett

    Tom_Bennett Occasional commenter

    Can I strongly suggest that you don't use this as an opportunity to discuss your body hair? If you have a great relationship with them, this is possible, but if you don't- and the heart of your issue is that they're being mean- then they'll just lap it up as further ammunition against you. You need to be reinforcing the relationship of authority and trust with them, not a pally, say-what-you-fancy one.

    And never ignore it. It will not go away. You will encourage them with this approach, as they realise they can say what they want about you with impunity. They need an adult and someone to direct them. And you deserve to be treated with dignity, so make them understand that isn't a negotiable.

    Good luck

    caress likes this.
  14. Hi,

    I have large groups of mainly male students, due to the subject I teach. I read your post, and a couple of things really jumped out at me.

    Children, especially in large groups, jostle for hierarchy, and making comments like this is more for their peers and their position in that hierarchy, rather than it being about you. Its totally for effect, so please dont let this 'impact' on you. The reason it does is because you have been through this before, as a child when your 'power' to deal with that was less, so you have that helpless feeling all over again, even though you are in a totally different place. That is what you have to deal with. As my Gran used to say "To slay the dragon, you have to speak it's name." You have to face what happened to you, really accept it and move on.

    I find that with these 'throw away' comments from students, if you can, its best to use a quick, witty retort to show you acknowledge the comment, and deal with it immediatly. You also take away the 'respect' that the peers give to the person who made the comment. For example, in that situation i might have responded something like "I had thought that", smile, and carry on chatting. Never break stride, always smile, and be totally indifferent to the comments - so continue to try to make a good relationship with the person who made the comment.

    If it continues to escalate (which it might) then its a 'cards on the table' conversation. "Am i sensing that we have a problem here? If so, I'd really love to get it sorted, so we can have a chat about this after class?" Smile, nod, dont break stride, and continue with what you were doing. Then follow school protocol for low level disruption.

    Remember, you dont know what life that student lives, and the behaviour you see is only a product of how they live. Its not personal, its their means to an end, and unfortunatly you are the target. Good luck (not that you need it).
  15. re

    re New commenter

    Don't engage in banter, otherwise the lesson could degenerate into a points scoring match. I also teach a large proportion of boys and have witnessed this happening in my youth.

    A far better response is something like 'I do not voice judgements about you - no matter what I privately think, because it is rude. Please do not voice judgements about me'

    If they continue, you can then punish them for rudeness to staff.

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