PRIVATE TALK WITH STUDENT IN HALL
I don’t recommend this. When we take a student away from the class to talk with them about their behavior, the rest of the class can only imagine what is going on out there. If they can’t hear, it might be verbal abuse in their minds. In a sense, we are taking a piece of the class away and doing something to it. Rarely, a class doesn’t consider the student part of them due to previous behavior, but by default I assume they do.
What’s going on in the classroom while we’re out? Prop the door open with one foot and peek in? This message of distrust encourages deviant behavior between the peeks.
There are no witnesses to a potentially confrontational situation. A physical assault is possible, and the student’s defense could be that we started it.
Often it’s best to speak quietly to a student about their behavior so they don’t feel they have to save face for the class, but almost always, anything we have to say to the student may be heard by the class—should be heard by the class. If we are fair in our directions, the rest of the class will be supportive.
I see teachers in the hall having a one-to-one with students, and their body language tells the story even if all you can see is silhouettes: teacher scolds in power stance, student looks at floor until it’s over. Or, student verbally fights back and it’s a futile contest of wills. It’s not impossible to have a positive influence on a student’s behavior by counselling with them in the hall, but it’s rarely an effective technique for subs.
If the lesson requires independent or small group work, sending a student to work in the hall alone can be a useful alternative. After numerous ineffective corrections, I sometimes move a desk to the hall without saying anything. Misbehaving students usually perceive more of what goes on in a class than working students, particularly the teacher’s actions. If redirection is needed again, and it often isn’t, I ask if they would rather work in the hall—as if they were working in the first place.
If the lesson requires giving the entire class attention, and I can’t get a student to stop being disruptive, asking them to wait in the hall until they’re ready to be responsible or until I’m finished might be necessary. Moving them to another desk should come first, but if all are taken, someone else has to move unfairly.
Here’s one from many years ago:
“We need to have a private talk in the hall. Please go out and wait for me.” He moves to the door as he’s done so many times. “If I’m not there in a few minutes go ahead and start without me.” He stops and looks at me puzzled. “You know the routine. You can pretend to be me and yourself.”
Fortunately the class, though amused, doesn’t laugh out loud, which would have made him feel put down.
In a while I ask if he feels ready to come back in. He does.