A Letter to Teachers about Their "Troublemaker"

Hi Teachers,

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Congrats on (almost) making it through another school year! As the year winds down I wanted to reach out with a note about that one kid in your class (you probably have him/her in mind right now) who seems like their goal is to cause trouble.

These kids are notorious for not doing what they are told, talking out, losing their work, and overreacting. From a teacher's eye, these behaviors can seem disrespectful and rude and they can be hard to manage when you have 20-30 other kids looking to you for direction. We want to help.

These behaviors are all symptoms of what we call "Executive Functioning" struggles. Executive Functioning (EF) refers to the skills that we all use every day to be successful, but most of us were never explicitly taught. These include things like time management, organization, following multi-step directions and emotional regulation.

Anybody can struggle with EF, but we see that our students with learning disabilities struggle with these skills often. We know that our dyslexic students struggle with implicit learning. It is a challenge for them to just "pick up on things." This can make learning to organize their work or sit quietly in their seat a challenge. We have to keep in mind, also, that while their peers are implicitly learning all of these skills, our struggling readers are still trying to sound out their words. Now I am in no way labeling our struggling students as the troublemakers. Any student can struggle with EF, or be facing other things that can lead to troublesome behaviors. I am saying, however, that when 1 in 5 students have dyslexia, and many others have other related learning disabilities, it is not uncommon for these kids to need additional EF support.

All month long we will be sharing information and easy tips that you can implement in your classroom. If you feel like there is a kid in your class that fits the description above, we encourage you to check out our free resources (released every Friday) and learn more about EF as well as Learning Disabilities.

We love our teachers and appreciate everything you do for students. If you have any questions about EF or feedback we would love for you to reach out and ask! You can join the discussion on our Facebook Page here.

Congrats again on making it through another school year!

Sincerely,

  • The Smart ALEC Team
Kelly Hoover