Standard 9: Leadership and Collaboration
Is a leader who engages collaboratively with learners, families, colleagues, and community members to build a shared vision and supportive professional culture focused on student growth and success.
A week or two into my student teaching experience in a functional skills class, I
began receiving reports from peer tutors about a new student named Adrian (name has
been changed). The peer tutors reported that he was making them uncomfortable with
his words and actions. As examples, they told me that Adrian would tell them things
like, “I shouldn’t be telling you this, but I have a crush on you,” “I really like you,” and
“Will you go out with me?” and that he would say these things over and over again.
They also complained that he hugged them for “too long” and came up from behind
them when they did not know he was there and hugged them without their consent.
One female also reported that she felt intimidated by Adrian’s anger after she turned
down his advances. In his dance class, another female reported that she had to reply
on a peer to “haul” Adrian off her every class because he refused to stop touching her. I
eventually logged complaints from six peer tutors. Additionally, I observed concerning
behaviors in our classes. He would attempt to single out peer tutors to work with by
announcing that they were “his” because of their physical appearance. He would also
attempted to sit close to the females he had targeted (no matter who they were working
with) and try to touch them on the thighs and back.
In order to meet the critical needs of this student, I decided on a course of action
and worked closely with my mentor to develop plan. Since the complaints came from individuals
interacting with him across the school day, I decided to involve as many other teachers as possible.
First, the reports came from every peer tutor he had been assigned to, as well as
some who were in the same room, but working with other students. Since his behavior
was creating an uncomfortable environment for everyone, the first consequence was
that I took away his privilege to work with peer tutors. I also assigned him to a solo
desk instead of a group table because of my observations that he used the proximity of
group seating as opportunities for touching.
Next, my mentor and I held a serious conference with the student in order to
explicitly detail the behaviors and provide rationales for how those behaviors make
other students feel. The student has an intellectual disability and I wanted to make sure
that I integrated explicit social skills instruction into consequence. I connected his
behavior to the larger classroom goals for professional behavioral expectations.
As a follow-up to this meeting, my mentor and I called the student's mother. We
spoke to her through his sister, who acted as a translator since English is not her
primary language. We further discussed his behaviors at parent-teacher conferences.
At that time, we gave her a copy of all instructional materials as well as a letter
documenting the behaviors. During the meeting, I was clear that our goals were to
prepare Adrian to have constructive behavior at work, home, school, and in the
In addition to speaking to Adrian’s parents and teachers, I obtained permission to
send a letter to his Seminary instructors. I chose to include this extracurricular setting
in my plan of instruction because Adrian was vocal about sharing how it was his favorite
class and favorite place to be “at school.”
The behavioral interventions and supports for Adrian have been intense and
ongoing. In directing his interventions, I sought to protect the students who felt unsafe
as a result of his actions while creating models for constructive behavior so that he can
begin to develop skills for positive interactions.