The Ostrich

There are all sorts of behaviors that students in a classroom exhibit when facing academic challenges. Whether the task is writing, reading, math, finding a question to ask about a topic over their head, lack of interest in the material, or some combination of all the mentioned the student isn’t engaging.

But why?

There are many reasons.

  • “Too boring”/”I can’t tell you I don’t understand”
  • “I didn’t get enough sleep.”
  • “I don’t like the teacher.”
  • “I don’t like the direction.”
  • “Something else is going on and I can’t focus on this…ever.”
  • “I’m socially aware that I shouldn’t look like I care. Go away.”

So what can you do?

They are a students identified as persons with disabilities for a reason. And it’s your job to help them out. However, there is something especially defeating about watching a student with a head on the desk. But students are also allowed to make choices and choices have consequences. And sometimes failing a class is preferable for a student than dealing with the issues.

For some students, having a rapport will not be enough. Knowing if there is support on your campus for students having issues at home and larger emotional support needs is very important.

Sometimes it’s literally as simple as walking up to the student and gently nudging them on their shoulder to get them to pick their head up.

Sometimes, it will take a teacher telling them they have to leave the classroom. And in a quieter space, they can demonstrate respect and attentive behavior because the classroom is too much for them for whatever reason in that moment.

Unfortunately, if the student doesn’t value the class material or the classroom teacher you’re going to have a harder time convincing the student to attend to activities or expectations. But getting the teacher to buy in to positively rewarding the student either with praise or even an occasional special treat will be very useful to giving a start on a relationship with the teacher and the student so you will not always have to be the bad guy.

Students get to make choices about things in their lives. Sometimes it’s the little things, like paying attention that need to be let go. Being able to respect a student’s choice can be very difficult for some staff to honor, but it is a choice the student can make. There will be a point at which you need to sit back and see if the student tries on their own. Just reminding them that your are there and you are willing to help. Hopping around and helping the other students can help remove the stigma. Modeling interest and showing interest in the content helps — when the students see you are actively doing the math homework by long hand and helping the other students they often take pause and consider your role in the classroom.

October, the month that always celebrates

In no particular order:

  • October is National Down Syndrome Awareness month,
  • World Cerebral Palsy Day (October 6)
  • National Bully Prevention Month
  • National Spinal Bifida Month
  • Mental Illness Awareness Week (October 7-13)

October is quite the month for awareness and prevention. We will be looking more at this through October.


Do you have any comments about this week’s blog? Do you have a question for us? Would you like to be a guest blogger? Would you like to have an opportunity to pilot some materials at your campus? Find ParaEducate online herehereherehere, and on our website. Paraeducate is a company interested in providing materials, information, and strategies for people working in special education inclusion settings for grades K-12. ParaEducate, the blog, is published weekly during the academic school year on Thursdays, unless a holiday. ParaEducate shares their findings at conferences, through their books, and their academic adaptations.

About paraeducate

ParaEducate is a company run to help reach out to paraeducators or paraprofessionals in public K-12 schools, giving advice, talking about publications that ParaEducate produces, and other useful information regarding working in public school settings.
This entry was posted in 8 hours, Behavior Strategies, Campus, Classroom, Disabilities, General Education Teachers, Modeling, National Anti-Bullying Month, paraeducators, Professionalism, Skills Lesson, Students, training. Bookmark the permalink.

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