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Behavior: the forbidden question

Date: March 10th, 2016
By: Polly Bath

Polly Bath: I had just gotten my students settled down, when one kid walked in late. I then proceeded to say a deadly thing, the forbidden question, to him. “Hey, where have you been?”

That was a wide open question. The function of this edgy kid’s behavior is to perform in front of his peers and to take over the classroom. And that’s exactly what I ended up allowing by asking that question. I gave him control. His response? “I was in the bathroom. I’m a little backed up today.”

Now, I have 25 other kids that are laughing and giving him high fives. It was a mess. For the next 30 minutes, we got nothing done.

Instead of asking that question, I should have just had the kid come in, sit down, mark that he was late, and move on. Then, AFTER class, talk to him about it.