Some of my good students are finally catching on that the best weapon against the trouble-makers is to not pay them any attention. I’ve gone full ignoring mode for Tyree’s disruptive behaviors. Basically, he’s dead to me. I treat him like a ghost and pretend I cannot see or hear him. His behavior usually escalates when I ignore him, but fortunately he usually walks out of the classroom and I can lock the door and call the office.
Unfortunately, he’s not always seeking my attention. He can be satisfied by pissing off his classmates. In the beginning of the year, the other students responded to Tyree by giving him silent signals, verbally telling him to stop his behavior, and telling on him. All of these proved ineffective because it served the purpose of giving him attention.
What works better than redirecting him and punishing him, is to remove the other students completely. What’s even better than that, is having the students remove themselves.
So, when Tyree is flicking his boogers, playing with his water bottle, throwing pencil tips, etc. I tell the students around him, “You can move to a different spot in the room if somebody is being distracting.” And it works!
The students around Tyree have made a new home at the back table. They work together and at this point have refused to do any group work with Tyree. I tried to go easy on him, but I couldn’t help telling Tyree, “Gee, looks like none of your friends want to be around you.”
Tyree’s desk is now in isolation, away from as many students as possible. I’ve also been better about when students choose other students to come to the board by asking them to pick people that are paying attention. I think the class is tired of Tyree’s constant distraction and finally learning to stop reinforcing him.