How Teachers Can Deal With Negative Colleagues

Dear Kid Whisperer,

I am a fourth-grade teacher who is worried about a situation that I foresee happening this year with adults. Last year was my first year in my building. I quickly found that lunch and recess times were stressful times for both staff and students, as these areas were loud and unruly, and staff spent a lot of time yelling at kids. I decided to try and help out in these areas as much as possible. I use your blog and podcast to help me help my school, and we have changed the way we do some things. I have had colleagues tell me to stop helping because they say that if I help during these times, our administration will demand that everyone help too. I am not going to stop helping my school, but I am dreading the conversations with other teachers about this. Any advice? -Kim, Oakland, California

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How to Deal With a Kid Who Hits Other Students

Dear Kid Whisperer,

I teach in a PK-K Montessori room. What do you do for children who are hitting/hurting others or saying and doing unkind things on a consistent basis? Parents are involved in this, we’ve had meetings, the student has been assessed, etc… but it just keeps happening to the point that other parents complain about their child, worrying about this student picking on them or hurting them. We go through the steps of helping the student who is hurting to use their words and say, “Don’t hit me,” or “That makes me feel bad,” and then the child who’s hitting will have a chance to say something like, “Are you okay?” and “What can I do to help you feel better/fix your heart?” and so on. This child has gotten really good at these exchanges, but the behavior still gets worse. So now we’ve started suspending him, which has also made the behavior worse. -Lee Ann, Eugene, Oregon

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How to Survive the End of the School Year

Dear Kid Whisperer,

I teach fourth grade. I have three weeks of school left. I am going to lose my mind. I would estimate that I spend at least half of my time with kids correcting them, lecturing them, or telling them what to do. I’m not getting much teaching done. My students are going to end the year behind where they are supposed to be since I can’t really teach effectively. That ship has sailed. I just need to know something simple that I can do so that I CAN SURVIVE THE NEXT THREE WEEKS! -Jenna, Los Angeles, California

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How to Deal With Students Who Don’t Seem to Care About Their Grades

Dear Kid Whisperer,

I am struggling with high school students who don’t care about their grades. I have never had so many students who get “F”s on their tests and then laugh about it. They flat-out tell me that they don’t care. I tell my students about how they won’t get into college if they don’t learn the material, and how they won’t be able to get a job without a college degree, etc. What do I do if my students refuse to do any studying at home because they don’t care? -Eunice, Middletown, New Jersey

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How to Respectfully Disagree with Your Colleague’s Behavior Advice

Dear Kid Whisperer,

I have a student for whom I have been given a behavior plan to use. It has been unsuccessful, just like every other behavior plan I have been told to use in the past. I have been given a myriad of time- consuming suggestions for how to modify work and his environment to limit distractions. This child takes up a majority of my time in class and even my planning time, which I spend documenting everything he has and has not done. Frankly, I am exhausted. I am afraid if someone tells me to try one more thing, I may not be very professional in my response. Do you have a suggestion for how I could respond in a professional manner so I can take back control of my classroom? I have been to your summer conference and have used the skills I learned with great success, but the way that I am being asked to work with this child is so time- consuming that I feel like I am too overwhelmed to function. – Mary, Columbus, Ohio

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How to Deal With a Physically Violent Student

Dear Kid Whisperer,

I recently attended one of your workshops at my school. You touched on the idea that when a student does something that needs a consequence, you should do the consequence later so you don’t have to stop teaching and so you can come up with something that makes sense. My question is this: what if the student is hurting someone? I can’t wait to deal with that later.  -Pat, Cincinnati, Ohio

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