When I see this happening, I know it’s time to revisit TAB with the whole class. I often deliver again my beginning-of-the-year pitch for TAB and the benefits of using it as intended. I pull out the tried-and-true basketball analogies about being pulled off the court, sitting on the bench, and getting back in the game after a minute or two. Typically, we’ll have an informal class meeting where students generate the reasons why we have TAB, how we use it, and what’s good about it

Ann Ericson, chemistry teacher and teacher coach

This is an indicator that the TAB procedures and purpose have not been properly established. A quick conference or problem-solving meeting can help. On a few occasions I have witnessed a student’s making light of the TAB chair as a compensation technique to save face with peers. Some eighth graders like to “fly under the radar,” and anything that brings attention to them will get a negative reaction. 

Matthew Christen, former eighth grade teacher and Developmental Designs facilitator

Abuse it and lose it. TAB can’t be a joke, or it has to go away. Adolescents are embarrassed by anything that singles them out, and they have a tendency to joke about TAB. Students who wittingly or unwittingly attempt to tear down the structures built to support people and learning have to be intervened with. Their behavior has to be addressed forthrightly and respectfully to preserve the social contract. It’s tricky, because students who lose the TAB privilege could be looking at referrals from class. When removing the TAB privilege from a student, I would tell him that referral from class is not an option, and that I would need to go directly to intervention outside the school day, possibly with his parent or guardian, to make sure he has what he needs to be successful.

Todd Bartholomay, middle-level principal