I’d Rather Be Bad than Stupid


Book Outline


Chapter 1 – Introduction

Š             Point of view – new principal trying to do the job but kids got in the way then I realized that the kids were the job.

Š             Rationale for book – proactive discipline


Chapter 2 – Special Education Framework

Š             Learning Resource Teacher

Š             In-school Team Meetings

Š             Resource Team Meetings

Š             Criteria for Identification

Š             K-TEA assessments


Chapter 3 – Daniel

                                                Weak academics

Chapter 4 – Matt

                                                Weak academics

Chapter 5 – Hunter

                                                Imposter Syndrome

Chapter6– Jack

                                                Worry about it not being good enough-not finished=not judged


Chapter 7 – Carli

                                                Poor Self-esteem

Chapter8– Kris

                                                Psych worries

Chapter 9 – Gordon


Chapter 10 – Matt DeSouza


Chapter 11 – Justin Dolbec

                                                Poor social skills

Chapter 12 - Stevin Algera


Chapter 13– Max

                                                Poor self-concept of self as student

                                                Ill-prepared for school



Chapter 14 – Bottom line is that students would rather look bad than stupid in front of their peers.  As a consequence, whenever there is a fear that they will not be able to do what is expected, for whatever reason, they act up in order to be sent out of class.

                                                Each of these students cannot do the expected work and so are considered defiant, belligerent, misbehaving, disrespectful, lazy or lacking in intelligence, however, if they can figure out the buttons to push to be sent out of class, that indicates to me that there is a level of intelligence there that is not being acknowledged.


Chapter 15 –  How do you know if this is the problem?

Š             Look for patterns – a certain time of day; a certain subject; a certain teacher(Student senses a lack of empathy-not an excuse but a reality)

Š             Try an academic assessment

Š             Counselling/demystifying:  “Whenever I have a job to do and I’m concerned that I won’t do a very good job, I have a tough time getting started…..”

Š             Try Rewards

Š             Try a signal-a student that feels frustrated and knows they are going to blow, could give the teacher a signal and go to the office for a little extra help or just a time out.

Š             Invest the time to go into certain classes during Math period and ‘be an extra brain’ in the classroom to help students. Preventative maintenance may mean less playground fall-out.

Š             Try a minor modification of program to see if student is successful


Chapter  16   - How do we fix the problem?

Š             Provide a “Homework Room” during recess time for students to complete work. With a different person(namely the principal) remediating, stress and tension of both the teacher and student can be de-escalated.

Š             The homework room can also be a supervised place for those students who are not coping well and would be better not going out to an unstructured space for recess.

Š             Modify aspects of program temporarily to increase confidence in student and begin to shift their concept of self as a learner

Š             Provide short-term remedial help during recess times and lunches(whenever possible due to yard supervision)



Last Chapter

                                                Why not work this way?

                                                Tyranny of time – one more thing added to the principal’s job, however, if there is a teaching component, what better kind of teaching to do-remedial work? However, I argue that the front-end loading that this relationship building would entail will pay off over time as there are fewer discipline problems for the principal to handle and the school can develop a more positive tone.

                                                Building relationships with students that may circumvent some of the teacher’s relationship so must be handled carefully as part of a team (with parents as well.)




                                               Renew a child’s faith in themselves as a learner

                                                Prevent frustration being manifested on the playground as frustration

                                                Teachers feel supported and can do a better job because ‘discipline problems’ don’t arise as frequently

                                                More positive tone to the school

                                                Proactive discipline

                                                Caring is evident

                                                Affecting change from the bottom up (students first) rather than top down (teachers first)