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You're an elementary teacher in a self-contained classroom. You've got a class of 29 lively sixth graders, and you've been struggling all year with classroom management. Damien, a larger than average boy, seems to resist your efforts at every turn.

You like science and have tried to provide concrete, hands-on science activities whenever you can. You've been debating whether or not to do a fun activity on chemical changes where students actually test different "mystery powders" (for example, sugar, salt, and baking soda) with different liquids like water and vinegar. You decide to go ahead with it and strategically place Damien up toward the front of the room where you can watch him. In addition, you pair him with Katie, one of your more responsible female students. Everything is going well until you go to the back of the room to answer a question and hear a student shriek, "Damien!" As you rush to the front of the room, you see Katie holding her eye as a mixture of vinegar and baking soda drips down her cheek. Damien is sitting there with a guilty look on his face. As you rush the crying Katie to the office, you wonder if you should have handled the science lab differently.

To what extent are you responsible for the actions of students like Damien?

  • AE -

    Really, the teacher should not be held responsible for Damien's behavior. Most of the time students who act out have been taught how to behave in a classroom; however they ignore these lessons. The teacher should not be held accountable when the majority of the class is capable of following directions and acting in an appropriate manner.

  • AE -

    The scenario states the teacher is having classroom management problem all year. Two, a student name Damien, has been resisting her—she is aware of his defiance with this class. Three, even though debating an exercise, she choose to go forward; she wanted to do the assignment—never ask the class. Fourth, place Damien in front of the class to watch him better and then went in the back to attend to another student, leaving Damien unattended. Fifth, place another child in harms was by believing he good reputation would win over Damien better instead of the teacher or a teacher’s aid watching the class. I see many things that could have been done differently.

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