We all have our difficult students. I know I am not alone in this one. I have a couple who just do not want to do work. Or if they have a bad morning, the rest of the day is a waste.

What are some ways to motivate the unmotivated. Unfortunately, I am not to a point that he trusts me yet to find out the exact cause. HELP

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Personally I’d start by pulling the student aside (individually) and having an empathetic heart to heart with him/her. Id start by asking -what’s going on or what happened to make it hard for you to get your work started/finished and share objective observations (find something positive too), etc.
Tell that student you want them to think about how you might be of help to him/her and have them think about it and report back to you- follow up.

Maybe work is too hard, maybe they can’t concentrate, maybe ???
Start building that relationship. It will serve you well.

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I have been working on the relationship with this student. I know it helps immensely. But he tries to see if I am going to stand by my guns....I hate sending kids to the principal, but if i let him get away with throwing things he will do it all the time. Some days are better than others, as to be expected.

I have a student like that this year! He is on the spectrum so getting back into the routine of school - which he does not love - is DIFFICULT for him! At home he is treated like a little prince and gets to do/eat whatever he wants. This isn’t necessarily due to indulgent parenting, it’s due to his culture and parents just not having a ton of parenting skills - we’re in the process of getting the family supports at home to help them with this. Knowing this about him and knowing a little about his home life is absolutely essential for me to reflect on his point of view and why he refuses to do anything. Right now we have a visual schedule with many breaks built in on Velcro so he can pull off each subject and put it away. He knows that IF he does ELA, THEN he gets a 5 minute choose time. The first few days out focus was on being in the classroom without being disruptive. Now that he’s done great with that we’re moving towards getting work done. IF he actively participates at least one part of the lesson THEN he gets a sticker towards a book that he’s been really wanting for a while! The sticker chart has like 100 spots for stickers. Once he starts regularly actively participating in one part of a lesson we’ll bump it up to 2 and keep going from there! It will take a while but it does seem to be working! He’s a super complicated kiddo but maybe some extrinsic rewards for getting work done will help! It’s not my favorite way to motivate kids but hey sometimes as special education teachers it’s what we need to do! Good luck!!!! Try to learn everything you can about them to help you reflect on the behaviors and why they’re happening!

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Many middle school students on the spectrum still need the constant visual supports described above and frequent reinforcement beyond a reward for having a good day. And some high school student still need it too. Sometimes they just need it at the beginning of a new year and it can be tapered off. I am so frustrated to see students who need these things having them taken away because they're "supposed to have/learn more mature skills" when they don't yet have that ability. It's about what that student needs, not what grade they're in.

As you mentioned, you don't know them well enough just yet and trust takes time. We know that students will go out if their way to please a teacher which whom they have a great relationship. I offer you some suggestions below and I hope you find them helpful.
1-use a visual chart of the class schedule and what has to be completed. Celebrate when the students complete some or all of it
2-make those students your "social project" and give them all the possible attention when they do the right thing no matter how small
3-use first-then strategies
4-use tangible reinforcers if you know what they like (you can have informal conversations to find out)
5-be patient with them since many of our students have developed resistance to intervention and many times have very challenging life experiences that preclude them from being successful in other environments
6-most of all, be patient with yourself. I am sure you are trying to do the right thing
7-don't give up. There are no shortcuts to any place worth going

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Love your suggestions NSU1-
Ask the student what he thinks will help. You’d be surprised as to how well they know themselves.

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