Managing the middle school’s girls’ behavior

It’s 7:20, the school bell rings. Students start coming up the stairs towards the hall to put their bags in their lockers. As they get ready for class they’re loud, giggling, teasing, non-serious, running and showing attitude to the teachers. They look in their lockers trying to find their books and waste their time. The teacher proclaims that they have 2 more minutes and they need to quickly get their books and stationary.  After 2 minutes, she whistles and reminds them that their time is up and they need to go to their classes. Some of them ignore while others continue to talk and giggle, wasting time. A few head toward their classes. This is the start of another day for middle school girls and teachers!

Once all the students arrive, I take their attendance. After I’ve finished with the attendance, I notice that they’re all in uniform (blue trousers and white shirts), but their hair is down and some are wearing trendy goggles, jewelry, makeup and other hand accessories.

I start the lesson by explaining the classroom rules and procedures; they keep interrupting by asking questions to distract me.  I try and keep them focused but their behaviour gets rude and obnoxious.  I keep calm and explain the classroom rules and the consequences precisely but they are not interested.

After the class I reflect, think, ponder and question myself as to why they behave the way they do.

Some of the behavior I note is a lack of respect for teachers, self and school property, short attention span, lack of motivation, over socializing, laziness and general lack of integrity, bulling and lying.

As I conclude the students’ observation, I begin to research the reasons as to why middle school students behave inappropriately.   Research indicates that middle school children are aged 11 to 13 years.  At this age they go through hormonal and puberty changes. These changes have a huge transformation on their mental (brain) and physical body, sometimes making it difficult for them to control their behavior. Additionally, because of the increased amount of hormones in their bodies, they can fail to understand their emotional and social situation. Their mood suddenly changes for no reason and their feelings swing backwards and forwards, they laugh at one moment and cry the next.  They feel a sense of strangeness, confusion and exasperation and sometimes they start to “lose it”. All of this can lead to them becoming rebellious, emotionally up and down, to experience mood swings, become self absorbed, stubborn, forgetful and grumpy.  They desire more independence, think more abstractly, and irrationally, as well as form their own moral code and assert their opinion. They are desperate for greater freedom and desire strongly for attention, and like to have a status within their peer group. Also, they don’t like to be controlled by their parents or by their teachers. They also do not want to be around their parents the same way they used to be and are against parental control.

All research and observation directs me to believe that the reason for middle school students’ behavior is related to their hormonal changes of puberty.

 Considerate with Middle school girl’s behavior:

Parents and teachers must work together (to devise a plan that) helps middle school students understand this is an important phase in their life.  Parents in particular need to be involved with their children in disciplining and guiding by providing a structure secure, harmonious, peaceful, supporting and understanding home environment. Mothers can a play an important part in their lives by communicating, understanding and explaining to them about hormonal changes in their bodies and what they need to do and how they need to look after themselves.  Research agrees that parents need to communicate with their children, discuss and understand the changes   in their child’s body and mind. Furthermore, they must provide a secure, peaceful, loving and supporting environment that encourages the child to open up and trust and respect their parents.

 Disciplining Middle School’s Students:

Teachers need to create a behavior plan for middle school students.  Parents and students have to cooperate with teachers to facilitate the plan in order for students to find success in school and in their life. The plan needs to be rigorously implemented, have a proactive and a progressive discipline process, so that every student can learn, feel secure and be successful.

First is the discipline procedure. Next- teachers and administration oblige discipline and follow the process. Teachers need to put forward a systemic procedure of behavioral correction in which inappropriate behavior is followed by consequences. Furthermore, teachers should speak to the students about the discipline procedure and the consequences by going through  each policy, explaining what kind of code of conduct is expected from the students and what  the expectations and consequences of their behavior are and further explain that positive behavior will be rewarded and negative behavior will be penalized.  Students and parents must agree and sign their agreement.

If the student’s behavior escalates and is unresponsive, then the rule can be changed to suit its needs. Teachers further explain that disciplinary actions are designed to teach students  self discipline and help them substitute inappropriate behavior with  acceptable behaviour.

Defining Bullying

Bullying is a major and a serious problem with middle school girls; as it can appear  in different forms. Bullying is defined as physical or psychological intimidation that occurs repeatedly over time to create an ongoing pattern of harassment and abuse. Bullying is the belongings of others, stalking, hitting, coercion, intentional exclusion, and gossiping or spreading rumors. Both result in victims becoming socially rejected and isolated. It is not something that just happens at school, it can happen anywhere: at home, over the phone, through text messages, and online.

Stopping bullying in School

Teachers, school administration and other staff should ensure that all students learn in a safe and fear-free environment.  Parents, teachers and principals need to cooperate together to preclude bullying. This can be done by developing a comprehensive, intervention curriculum.  The school’s counseling and drama staff can instigate an anti bullying program, which can incorporate all the important components of the  prevention and intervention curriculum . The program can be presented as drama; the aim should be to educate students as to how to deal with bullies.  Students can learn about bulling by vicariously acting with positive model attitudes and behavior. They can relate and identify realistic and common bullying situations with other students. This will help them to clarify the universality of their experiences.

The other part of the program can be a discussion, which follows after the drama.  During discussion Students can process their feelings and discuss alternative ways of handling bullying situations. Teachers and principals involved in the program should reinforce these concepts; this is done by speaking to the students and explaining to them the policies on bullying.

Teachers need to provide support material and explain the types of bulling and to explicate different strategies as to how to deal with them.   Anti bullying rules can be developed and each student asked to sign an anti bullying pledge.

Conclusion:

 Middle school students are generally indiscipline; they show inappropriate and obnoxious behavior. They usually ignore school’s policy and regulations and enjoy doing whatever they prefer. Research agrees with these affirmations and further asserts this has to do with their hormones and age.  The findings recommend that students’ behavior can be disciplined if action is taken.  It also emphasizes the importance of understanding and communicating with them.

When action is undertaken, teachers and parents are able to see positive changes in these students; however inexperienced teachers often feel the challenge.   At first students are reluctant to change, nevertheless with persistence, care, patience and behaving in a positive manner towards the students, the desired results can be seen. Not only does it mark a new beginning of change for the students, teachers can see how discipline and proper behavior affects (was affecting delete) students’ learning.

Parents’ involvement, schools discipline polices teachers’ class rules and regulation, parents and teachers’ interactions, communication, guidance, a secure, peaceful, caring environment and structure are all vital for disciplining middle school girls.

Educational achievements and discipline cannot take place without forming a triangle, the teacher-student-parent.  Without effective involvement from all three elements, the triangle is incomplete and in spite of the utmost efforts from even one of them, the venture of learning will be destined to fail.

No evil propensity of the human heart is so powerful that it may not be subdued by discipline. Seneca ~

The great end of education is to discipline rather than to furnish the mind; to train it to the use of its own powers, rather than fill it with the accumulation of others. ~ Tyron Edwards

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