d-money (laralikesska) wrote in badass_teacher,

Power struggles.

This past fall I student taught, had a great experience, and now I am subbing while looking for a permanent teaching job. Subbing is making me come up with all sorts of new classroom management skills I never needed in my own classroom where I had a relationship with my students. It's difficult trying to manage a class where you don't know the students and they don't know.

My specific inquiry is about how to avoid and deal with power struggles with students. I haven't encountered this too many times, but at a job the other day I had one student that pushed his boundaries as far as he could. I don't like sending kids to the detention room, so I try to use it as a last resort, but with a sub, a lot of students think there is no consequence to not listening to a sub, until you warn them that the next time you will send them to detention. Most of the time that warning works. But with this student, he would be doing one thing and I'd tell him to stop (mostly things that were distracting other students, or when the aide in the classroom told him to sweep up the (art) room to keep him busy, he was using the broom inappropriately, etc), and he'd keep doing it, and I'd say if you do it again you're going to detention. And he wouldn't do that one thing again, but he would start doing something else he shouldn't, and I'd give him a warning for that, and he would just move on to another inappropriate behavior. There were also small things, like when he was sweeping, he kept coming by me, and every time he would bump the broom into my foot and say, "excuse me" loudly. It was just small things, done for no other reason than to annoy me, but not large enough for me to kick him out of the room. I left a note about his behavior for the teacher, for him to handle however he wanted when he got back, but that didn't do much to help me through a very annoying and exhausting hour with this student.

I know he was doing it on purpose, I know he wanted to annoy me. So, how can you stop a power struggle like that from escalating? And how do you keep it from getting to you? I never show my emotions in front of the class, but I had prep/planning the next hour, and I just sat down and cried because I felt so helpless to do anything with this student. Any advice or suggestions? Thanks!
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