He is loud, disruptive, and animated. Very intelligent and capable, but more interested in the social aspect of school than the content.
Sound familiar? If so, it's probably no great surprise that his home life is less than ideal. Tons of family crammed into a small room, not a ton of resources, potentially some addiction, etc. The kid drives me nuts and is a distraction to everyone around him; however, I refuse to do what many of the other teachers and administrators do: make excuses for him.
I don't tolerate late work. I don't allow him to freely disrupt class. I don't let my knowledge of his struggles make me lazy as a teacher.
Yesterday, he really got under my skin by talking during a test. I gave him the standard "talking = a zero" or something to that effect, and that was effective, but it was clear that he was well behaved, but not on the inside. I could see the restlessness under his performance of compliance.
I had him wait after class and walked him to his next one. I told him that I can see him, that we can all sea and hear him. I told him I think he is smart and important. Sounds a little like that famous scene from The Help, but it's not Hollywood embellishment, telling kids they have value makes a difference, especially when home life isn't stable.
He seemed to really appreciate it and took me up on the offer to talk out some of what's burdening him. This was just in a 5 minute walk to class. He asked for a follow up and I told him my door was always open.
You have to care for the child and the student, not just one or the other.
Why Dallas Student Emotions Matter
Helping Dallas students understand their actions
Dallas student discipline from petty teachers
When Dallas Students Don't Listen
Why "Back in my day" Hurts Dallas Education