Unruly Students

I simply cannot tolerate this anymore!

There is a group students in my third grade class that are simply making incredible trouble of themselves. I won’t name names for the sake of privacy, but I cannot keep this to myself any longer and I need some outlet for the frustration this is causing me.

There are four children in this often hyperactive group: D, a girl, age 8; H, a boy, age 7; J, another boy, age 9; and L, a girl, also age 9. J and L are siblings, and are the most rambunctious of the group. I have tried time and again to pull these children aside and teach them that their behavior is not helpful to them and is disrupting other students, but nothing seems to work – time-outs, being told to sit away from each other, even outright sending them to speak with the principal, Mr. Smith, has proven completely ineffective. I was at first concerned that perhaps these students had ADHD, but they seem like perfectly normal children and are able to focus just find on their schoolwork. Why, D is perfectly astounding with mathematics and in fact consistently has some of the highest scores for the class on her times tables quizzes. All this leads me to believe that these children are simply rambunctious, extremely active children, specifically since they all seem to be quite dominant in personality – I can’t seem to identify one single leader of the group.

This afternoon during open reading time, I could not get them to sit down and simply read one of the offered books. Instead I found H pulling on another student’s hair while she was reading, and while I was scolding him, J and L were busy taking crayons and hiding under tables to draw. It seems the children cannot sit still, and this worries me. After all, if they cannot sit still long enough to read a book, how will they ever sit still long enough to learn?

The thought occurred to me that perhaps, I was taking too much of an old-fashioned approach. I went looking into alternative methods of teaching these children and managed to find some, but they all seemed so harsh. I only want to see them continue to succeed, and I would rather not stifle their otherwise infectious personalities and bright minds. But I can think of nothing else to do except enforce stricter rules for the entire class to follow, because these four children are quite simply tearing the class apart.

I have emailed the principal a list of proposed rules for the classroom, and I am hoping he will approve of them. Until then, it is all I can do to relax in the evening with my tea and a good novel. I have been meaning to start on A Confederacy of Dunces for quite some time now, and I could use some good satire.

— Ellen T. Strich

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