AskMetafilter helps with Classroom Management

An interesting thread/question on AskMetafilter:

Hi there,

I have a student who for whatever reason has very recently gotten a serious case of silliness/defiance. What concerns me is that when he is kept in for detention he finds the whole thing to be a big joke and giggles constantly. Even within detention he is defiant by getting up and walking around, etc. Clearly, he would be a candidate for a suspension or office referral, but for various reasons I’d like to avoid that route for the time being if possible. Obviously I’ve spoken with his parents.

I would like to reel him in mainly because normally he works pretty well, but also because he is capable of distracting the whole class. I worry that he’s actually trying to see if he can get sent to the office for some reason. At the same time, it could be a physiological thing (13ā€“14 years old) or a genuine desire to get under my skin. The last option seems very bizarre as up until this point in the year I’ve had a great rapport with him in class.

To be specific, I don’t think that he gets the teacher ā€“ student distinction very well (almost all students when spoken to one on one have enough respect to discuss the issue if they are spoken to politely and openly ā€“ with him he just laughs right in my face).

So, any suggestions on other things I can do to get him to be respectful again? His parents have agreed to have him do extra homework, but I’m keen to know if there are other ideas. I really don’t think detention is the right fit for him and besides which, I have to supervise it and if he’s giggling the whole time it’ll really undermine the authority. The other thing I’ve done is isolate him from the class and have him do his work individually for the time being.

Thanks for any suggestions!

The responses (35 as of now) are varied and interesting. Some are, imho, awful, and some are heading in the right direction. Of course, without more context, it’s all shooting in the dark. But it was such a well-responded to thread with a lot of different perspectives… Blog posts — except for the most popular ones — don’t generate this kind of “hive response.” I wonder if there is a site out there that teachers use for this sort of discussion/advice? Where anyone can throw out a question or offer advice to other questions? Or are a thousand disparate and not-super-popular blogs enough?



  1. There was one new promising looking one that is still only letting you pre-sign-up for an account. Trying to remember the name.

  2. There’s a couple I browse through regularly inbetween blogs:
    for math: forums at

    In general I’ve found that the blogs in my Google reader are far more introspective and go deeper, but the teacher forums are good for getting a lot of responses (unless you’re a major blogger of course)

  3. I have to confess I don’t have an answer for the original poster, but if anyone who works with YOUNGER children is looking for classroom management ideas, I have a great suggestion: Wolf Pack Classroom Management Plan by Janis Gioia, who’s a teacher and an expert in classroom management and teaching kids how to get along. In a nutshell, the plan affirms children’s feelings, lets kids feel all their concerns are valid and provides teachers and children strategies to meet social and emotional needs. And by doing that, of course, kids learn better.

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