Classroom behavior management 101; The Alpha Dog

Your best friend is the most bad ass kid in your class. You know the one, the alpha dog.

If you can find a way to reach this alpha dog and he or she will control the rest of the class re: negative behavior.

It’s obvious the alpha dog doesn’t want to be there and the odds are homework is never completed. What can you do to win the alpha dog over? Be bold and ask alpha dog one on one, “what can I do to help you make school life easier”? The odds are they hate being there and hate homework.  Certainly you can’t just print alpha dog a diploma. But maybe you can customize homework assignments. Some homework is better than none alpha dog is currently turning in.  Give alpha dog some sense of control over homework and you may develop a little bond beneficial to alpha dog. It might just be something to build upon and who know you might turn alpha dog into a good student.

Giving alpha dog a sense of a little control might win alpha dog over and just might calm him down. Alpha dog may become your protector keeping other class dogs who like to show their asses in check.

If you can manage to build a bond or more like a workable relationship with alpha dog he’ll calm down and will step-up when other students get up your ass.

Now, I am sure all you teachers know about I-messages. Those who point fingers and say, “you do this” and “you don’t do this” shit will only put up a communication wall. Somewhere before the word you, there should be the word I. Like, “I feel need to do your home work” or “I appreciated if you would chill out just a little during class”.

Is all this kissing the alpha dog’s ass? Perhaps yes! But if you are able to “connect” with the alpha dog you could gain some teaching time back rather than constantly fight alpha dog and his dog pound. You know damn well if you go to your building administrator they’ll just tell you to suck it up. Giving detentions over and over to alpha dog just fuels the rage.

Contrary to belief, negative behavior is a form of communication and a distress call.

What does Kilroy know? Kilroy has done work with kids in treatment centers, the ones that can’t function in alternative schools, the ones who required passive physical restraint and behavior plans unique to the individual. And yes Kilroy was certified in passive physical restraint and assisting with the administration of medication.

I’ve worked with non-delinquent, delinquent adolescence and even juvenile sex offenders. Also, I’ve worked with the same population in specialized foster care programs. I would even visit the hoods for  individual and family sessions. I’ve restrained many alpha dogs and most importantly build working relationship with these alpha dogs. I am a master of yell therapy.    

I use to have these alpha dogs threaten my life. My response would be, you can kill me later but right now you “will” take time out.

Yep, I am bringing Race to The Top in this post. What does Race to the Top have to offer in addressing disruptive students / alpha dogs? Nothing ! What do Arne Duncan and Jack Markell know about how disruptive students are dumped back in the classrooms because there isn’t enough funding to address the need? Not a dam thing!  What provisions are there within the results of DCAS that will expedite educational evaluations for students in clear need of additional services? NONE! All the RTTT data and DCAS in the world does not provide needed resources to address behavior and clear educational deficiencies.

As far as alpha dogs and his dog pound in need of social services such as treatment outside the school or interventionist to address family crisis that often is root cause of dysfunctional students, Markell has no plan. Markell feels schools and the classroom teacher are the interventionist from educational needs to behavior needs.

Alpha dogs and teachers are closely related. That’s right closely related, both dogs. Markell, Duncan and these so-called reformists kick teachers around like dogs. Teachers are more like wolves howling in the wind for help. And their boards anointed alpha dogs called superintedents are always down Dover licking the asses of the political dogs.

I see teaching as a creative art form but Markell and company including clueless DOE Dan sees teachers as narrow-minded instructors bound to restricted curriculums.

Surely disruptive behavior accounts for 30% in lost teaching time and perhaps more. How about if we required The Delaware Secretary of Education and her poodle DOE Dan be required to teach a classroom once a month. This way they can come to the districts and meet with the kiss ass supers in-between classes.

Every year disruptive behavior becomes more intense and more threatening. Those new security cameras in schools aren’t necessary to deter outside intruders. But they are there to also deter inside intruders and negative behavior.

Good luck to all you teachers and God help you.

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8 Responses

  1. Oh, boy. PD with Kilroy. Now that’s something completely different.

    I agree with your comments dealing with the oppositional “alpha dog.” It is good to get that kid on your side. But it is not as easy as you describe because the challenge is in identifying the right “trigger”–the right issue that makes the connection, and it is quite likely different for each puppy. And, there may be competing puppies in any one class.

    My goal this coming week is to calm down, slow down, and try to relate to more of the disengaged puppies in my five classes–now that I haver a clearer picture of who they are. With 145 kids–it ain’t easy. But, I am always willing to try.

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  2. Well there is no silver bullet on this issue but as far as all this reform efforts its doesn’t look like any effort is going into address disruptive behavior.

    sure you agree over the year student behavior has gotten worst and intervention is limited.

    Alpha dog is the ringleader of the others or the one most feared. but as you can see administrators play the follow the alpha dog all the way to Dover, LOL :)

    I’ve worked with the worst of the worst, the ones who got kicked out of the alternative school placement. The kind of kids you always sit with you back to the wall. Only one scared the shit out of me but he backed down the last seconds. It was great having the alpha dog on my side.

    I am glad our legislators stood up to Markell to keep uniformed SRO’s in our schools.

    Hey maybe K12.com came put an online program together for disruptive students and they can do their work online from home.

    Two things parents care about the most is their child’s safety and quality teaching time in school. Charters have the option of booting students out who don’t adhere to their behavior agreement with the schools application.

    Good luck with the dog pound and I hope you share you years of experience with the greenhorns. I know you hug those TFAs when they breakdown and cry, LOL

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  3. Where oh where are all the teacher being used in RC? 145 children for 5 classes = average of 29 children per class, perhaps RC will provide the assignments.
    Kilroy–did I hear you comment on class size?

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    • The class size “law” pertains to K-3 , not to exceed 22 by the end of October. Therefore there is no cap on class size about grade 3.

      29 students at any grade level is way too much in today’s society.

      But let’s no fear, Merv is on the Race to The Top bandwagon aka “a once in a lifetime opportunity to reform public education” and a “moon shot” and “the civil rights issue of this generation”. So how could he possibibly ask for a wavier?

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  4. Quick reminder: 2 fo the 4 Partnership Zone schools are Vision 2015 schools, Howard and Glasgow.

    Good job V2015!

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  5. Quick reminder: 2 of the 4 Partnership Zone schools are Vision 2015 schools, Howard and Glasgow.

    Good job V2015!

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  6. My solution is simple and unfortunatey not very realistic – but IMHO if the alpha dog is a problem and disruptive, KICK him or her out! Why do we have to work around the disruptive kid that is causing problems. Sad that a teacher can’t discipline the problem children anymore!

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    • Teacher’s can’t even yell at students anymore or they be reported for being verbally abrasive.

      I remember the days when students got paddled but worst than that wes to write some silly sentence like I will not talk in class and will respect the rights of the teacher and other students. Like 500-1000 times. That was worst than getting hit on the ass.

      HOWEVER, these days kids are on a short fuse full of rage and anger and who know what the trigger is.

      Many kids and families are in serious crisis and state services and Family Court is broken. Arne Ducan and Markell want schools to be the place to go for all services. Schools are for learning not mental health centers. The teacher’s job is to teach not be a crisis interventionist.

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