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How to Eliminate Distracting Behaviors and Get Back to Instruction

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While attending the AIG Conference, I had the opportunity to participate in the session “How to Eliminate Distracting Behaviors and Get Back to Instruction.”  As a middle school teacher nearing the end of another school year, discussing differences in behavior within the classroom is most relevant.  The instructor, Cherisa Zafft, was extremely open and honest throughout the session. She explained that there are three different types of students.

1.      Always Students- who are always willing to do whatever you want, whenever you want it done.

2.      Sometimes Students- which are students who are sometimes doing what they should but have their bad days where they get off task.

3.      Never Students- Which is self-explanatory… THEY NEVER DO ANYTHING!

Dealing with these different types of students, teachers make approximately 1,500 decisions everyday (which is more than a surgeon).  This statistic not only shows how difficult our job as teachers can be, but, furthermore, it shows the importance of our decisions in our students’ lives.

One of the best takeaways from the session involved the role of diffusers. I wanted to share some of the most commonly used diffusers. A diffuser is a statement the teacher can make to help redirect students. Statements such as, “I understand,” “probably so, never the less,” and “I’m sorry” are brief statements a teacher can make to a student who is not following directions to diffuse the situation. 

Once the student feels heard or that an adult cares, often the behavior will change.

By:  Sheridan Summer

About Heather Mullins

Heather Mullins is the Chief Academic Officer in Newton-Conover City Schools. She is a North Carolina Teaching Fellow who spent 12 years as a high school English Teacher. She received her B.S.Ed. in Secondary English Education from Western Carolina University. Heather completed her National Board Certification in Adolescent Young Adult English Language Arts in 2002. She holds an M.Ed. in Academically and Intellectually Gifted from UNC-Charlotte. Heather has served as a Curriculum Specialist in Hickory City Schools, an adjunct professor at Lenoir-Rhyne University, and a Professional Development Consultant for the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction. She completed her Ed.D. in Educational Leadership through Western Carolina University. Heather is one of the co-founders of #NCed Chat, North Carolina’s first Twitter chat for teachers. She is passionate about innovative practices, instructional technology, student ownership of learning, and supporting teachers. Heather serves on the advisory board for the North Carolina Digital Learning Plan, North Carolina School for the Deaf and Catawba Science Center. She is a recipient of the 2015 NCMLE Central Office Administrator to Watch Award. She also received the 2016 Don Chalker Award for Excellence in Educational Leadership. Heather is the proud mother of one son, Jackson.

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