Sometimes students with special needs face some challenges when it comes to behavior issues. Reacclimating students in the classroom after they return from suspension is necessary to help them be successful in the classroom. Students with behavioral issues can act out in a way that is not safe for other staff members and students. These actions can lead to a student being suspended from school for their actions. There is a root cause for why this student is acting out and must be address. However, the teacher can solve all of those issues when he or she is teaching a class. I have some tips for managing students who have behavioral issues who have been suspended from school and need to re-acclimate to the school procedures and rules.
I remember teaching one student who struggled with meeting expectations in school. I knew this student was capable of following rules because he started the trimester off with a great attitude and behavior. Over the past couple of weeks, I saw his behavior change drastically. I was losing my patience with this student and did not want in my class anymore. Whenever I hit that point, I realize that I need to try something different. There were other teachers who were struggling with his behavior and did not offer any useful advice. At this point, I was giving up on finding solution.
One day the student came into class not willing to follow any directions. I asked him multiple times follow directions and he would not listen. He walked out of class and went to place we call the “Ed Office” at our school. He sat in the “Ed Office” for the entire period. This made me feel like I had failed to get him to rejoin the class after he had refused to follow directions. Later that day he made a series of poor decisions and ended up getting suspended at the end of the day. I knew that he must have been struggling with something before he came to school. I was struggling to figure out how I should have handled this issue. When he returned to school, I was determined to try something different because this student deserves to be cared for.
I sat down with the student when he came back and had an conversation about the choices he made that lead him to getting suspended. He shared with me that he was having some conflicts with some students in the dorm and he was afraid that no likes him at school. I wanted to tell him that his actions affects the relationships he is able to have with other students, but I decided to connect his actions to how he was acting when he came to class on Monday. He apologized for his actions and told me that he was not trying to be disrespectful to me. During class, I spent extra time close to him to ensure he was completing his work. I noticed that he sometimes struggled with staying on task which lead to him acting out on class on Monday. He completed an independent assignment on his own. I praised him for working so hard on the project and completing all the required work that day. He received public acknowledgement for his efforts at the end of class. He walked out of class feeling like he had accomplished something and wanted the his success with other students in the class.
“I spent extra time close to him to ensure he was completing his work. I noticed that he sometimes struggled with staying on task which lead to him acting out on class on Monday”
There where a couple of strategies that I found to be helpful in this situation. One was not blaming the student for their actions.When a student receives a suspension, they have already been spoken to about what happened. You need to have a restorative conversation where you are listening to the students issues. Then, relate the issue to what is going on in class. If the student has an issue in your classroom, ask how you could make the situation better. Sometimes students offer some great advice about solving some of the issues they have in class. Secondly, the student needs to list the things they will do in order to make class better for themselves. If they are not willing to make changes to their behavior, then the student will repeat the behavior. Stay close to the student during the class period to ensure they are successful in meeting their goals. Offer your support with completing assignments and managing their behavior. Take some data on when the student is acting out in the class so you can be aware of the triggers for the student. All of these tips useful for the teacher and the student to be on the same page in terms of your expectations. Students want to come back to school after a suspension feeling like normal. Help students readjust to the school environment the right way.