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You're in week three of the new year and you've got troublemakers - now what?

I got this suggestion from a fellow teacher, and thought I'd pass it along, since it is still early in the school year.

I have four 6th grade classes, and one 7th grade class. The 7th graders are a lot tougher, especially the boys. In fact, I can already identify 5 boys (out of 33 students) who are "trouble".

My friend suggested that I call each of their parents. Rather than complaining, however, I was to just introduce myself, and tell them I was calling ALL my students' parents. I was to just calling to let them know they could leave a message for me at school if they ever had any questions about my class, and I was looking forward to seeing them at back-to-school night.The idea is that they will be so shocked to actually hear from a junior high teacher who was not calling to complain about their kid, that they will immediately become my ally.

According to my friend, often problem behavior changes at this point. The idea is that this week, if I DO call about their kid's behavior, they will immediately take my side, and come down hard on their child for making trouble in the class where the teacher cared enough to call.

I made about 6 calls. It didn't take too long. Sure enough, most of the parents were speechless. They sounded very glad I called. One mother--of a boy with a long history of problems--offered to help grade papers. I will let you know if I have to implement phase 2. It sounds like a good approach.

CONTRIBUTOR: Sandra Follansbee, 6th & 7th grades
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