Any of you embarrassed that you can't control your class?

Discussion in 'New Teachers' started by Dave81, Apr 16, 2007.

  1. Dave81

    Dave81 Rookie

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    Apr 16, 2007

    I'm serious. I have first graders at an inner city school. I went into this job really excited. Of course, I didn't really want first grade, but I took it. These kids are wild! Being a man, you think I'd be able to control a bunch of six year olds. But no! I can't! I have several with ADHD, one kid likes to walk around the class and punch other kids. and several of my kids like to imitate pro-wrestlers between the rows of desks I have. I am a first year teacher and when people ask me how it's going (especially other teachers who teacher older grades), I am so embarrassed. Any one know how I feel about the embarrassment of lack of classroom managment?
     
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  3. JaimeMarie

    JaimeMarie Moderator

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    Apr 16, 2007

    You have rows of desks? Like you would see in high school? sorry totally off topic. Just trying to picture your classroom.
     
  4. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Apr 16, 2007

    Hi DAve and welcome!

    I'm secondary math on LI, so I'm not much direct help to you.

    But instead of being embarassed, it's time to up the ante and take some action.

    Can you give us some idea of your routine? Anything that will help the pros here (meaning almost everyone but me) help you?

    Have you asked some of the veteran teachers in your own school to observe your class? I'm guessing some might have some concrete ideas to help you.
     
  5. MissBee06

    MissBee06 Rookie

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    Apr 16, 2007

    I know exactly how you feel. I am also a first year teacher and my classroom management skills have been a little lacking. Now that it's the end of the year, they are slightly better behaved, but not by much! There have been a few times when I've been truly embarrassed by their behavior in front of other staff. When that happens I let them know what happened was wrong and I make them tell me why it was disrespectful. I am looking at this year as having been a learning experiment. I learned some things that worked, but a lot of things that didn't.
     
  6. MissFrizzle

    MissFrizzle Virtuoso

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    Apr 16, 2007

    Dave,

    It will get better.
     
  7. fallen

    fallen Rookie

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    Apr 16, 2007

    I have found that instead of telling the children how to behave, ask one of the students how they should be behaving. When you get lined up if they are noisy or acting up. Say ok lets try it again and quiet this time. Let them know that you would be more than happy to spend their recess or play time practicing a certain procedure with them. I have the fourth grade class from you know where. 18 very "active" boys and 11 girls that are pretty good (the only thing that keeps me sane". I leave it all up to them. If they are getting out of hand write recess on the board and start erasing letters. tell them for each letter you erase is a minute off of recess or other activity that they like. Most of all don't fight a loosing battle. Praise the kids that are doing what they are supposed to be doing and give them little rewards like stickers. The others will come around. My fourth graders still quiet down when they see me pulling out stickers. I have no idea what they think is so important about them but I just walk around putting stickers on their name tags if the student is on task. Don't get embarrassed it is to easy to focus on the ones that make you pull your hair out. Try to focus on the few that make you smile.
     
  8. TeacherC

    TeacherC Connoisseur

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    Apr 19, 2007

    lol- fallen, I too have 4th graders that adore stickers. As soon as I pull them out, they all quiet down.
    Dave, did you model procedures with them at the beginning of the year? I think that behavior managment is one of the things that can't be taught by taking a college course, it just comes with time. Think of things that you wished you had done, make a list, and make sure to implement it next year.
     
  9. ecross1983

    ecross1983 Rookie

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    Apr 19, 2007

    I only teach pre-schoolers...but I know how you feel. I am embarrassed by the way my kids are acting and I have only been there maybe a month now!!!

    I am trying to MAKE them listen. I don't want to be too hard on them though.
     
  10. Research_Parent

    Research_Parent Cohort

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    Apr 19, 2007

    So most 6 year olds have the attention span of what? a half hour? And with ADHD its even shorter.

    So, is your class time broken up where the kids are to change activities ~ every 20 minutes or so. Or, do they start to get restless before 20 minutes?

    When I volunteered as a guest reader for 1st grade, we were supposed to have them listen to a stories for 40 minutes, yet not a one could keep still that long? I usually had them do some sort of activity along with the story, like remember to stomp your feet when the story gets to fe, fi, fo, fum. Or to listen for a particular phrase in the story and repeat it 3 times...

    Also, have you thought about a face paint day, where the kids get to paint their faces like wrestlers do?

    And if its only you against a bunch of 6 year olds, you'll always be outnumbered...as my husband says, you can only control people, if they allow you to control them.
     
  11. hoku625

    hoku625 Rookie

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    Apr 20, 2007

    I have 30 - 3rd graders who are wild! I, too, can't believe that they don't know how to follow directions, walk in a line, listen, sit still, etc. But, I must say, they get a little better everyday... I just started teaching in January and they were even worse then than they are now! Honestly, it's getting better, you just have to look for small successes. (even if they are really, really small... somedays that's all you get!)

    Some tips:

    Be consistent - same routine, everytime. You cannot change, not once. They act like they don't know what to do, but if you change your routine, they will pick up on it and follow with what you don't do.

    I start them out with 5 tokens in the morning. If they are off task, they owe me one of their tokens. If, at the end of the day, they have any tokens left, I give them an equal number of tokens. We have "open market" on the last Friday of each month and the students bring things to selll- their old toys, food, etc. The kids use their tokens to buy things. This has brought about a big change.

    I have also started using the Diana Day methods - "Eyes on me, voices off", Big Eyes when someone is off task, walking the path to make sure everyone is on the right page of the text, writing the correct entry.

    At the end of the day, I am physically and mentally exhausted but it is getting better. I'm fortunate to have an extremely understanding and helpful principal who is supportive and helping me all the time. My partner teacher is also very helpful. Without the other teachers and administration, I would be going crazy!
     
  12. jojo808

    jojo808 Comrade

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    Apr 20, 2007

    I've been there! My first two years were awful. After 8 years I thought I had a good system down until this year. I feel so incompetant! I have a group of 4th graders that are so overwhelming. I am so embarrassed my my lack of control. I keep hearing "they were never like this last year" type of comments. Anyway, find a system you can live with and stay positive! You will be laughing about this year someday :)
     
  13. Bored of Ed

    Bored of Ed Enthusiast

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    Apr 24, 2007

    God, YES. It's unbelievable how horrible I let those kids make me feel. They have less respect for me since I'm an aide, though I tried so hard to establish respect. I think I'm doing a lot right, and the teachers back me up, but I feel soooo low when I have to teach students and I can't even get them settled down long enough to get a word in edgewise. :(
     
  14. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Apr 24, 2007

    Maybe. Some years you just get 'one of those classes'. We've all had them. But it's also imperative that you reflect on what you are doing (or not doing) that contributes to the climate in your classroom. Have you taken any behavior management classes? I highly recommend the book "Cooperative Discipline" by Linda Albert. Also try "Love and Logic". You need to get firm now, set rules and consequences, put people on behavior contracts and GET CONTROL. The situation you described is draining for you as well as embarrassing and makes it difficult if not impossible for many to learn.
     
  15. Ms.H

    Ms.H Companion

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    Apr 24, 2007

    I can very much relate-- someone asks how it's going and I'm caught between the utter lie of "fine" and the shameful truth of "disastrous"! The embarrassment is both personal (just feeling like a failure) and professional (knowing full well that the lack of control is impacting students poorly). Definitely frustrating.
    (I have a bit of a different story in my first year with suburban, private school teens [so really, even less of an excuse for trouble], but the control issue is still there.)
    I've heard the firm and consistent advice many times, but must confess I've struggled mightily with it. I've "started over" with grand plans of enforcing rules and consequences so many times that I don't know what to do anymore. I'm looking forward to a fresh start next year, but in the meantime....? Is it too late? How can I salvage a class that's "started over" too many times?
     
  16. abby1966

    abby1966 Rookie

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    Apr 24, 2007

    I feel your pain. I feel exactly the same way!! I don't know what else to do - the students are just so disrespectful!!
     
  17. abby1966

    abby1966 Rookie

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    Apr 24, 2007

    What does your administration say about not being able to control your class?
     
  18. KinderKatie

    KinderKatie Companion

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    Apr 25, 2007

    Dave, perhaps you need to be more firm? Sorry, I know I don't know you or your teaching style but when I started I let the kids walk all over me and they quickly shaped up when I became FIRM and CONSISTANT. I think that is the key. Of course you will always have the off the wall kids, but this will still help them. Another thing that helps you keep control is making sure the kids are constantly engaged. I used to struggle with the end of the day, kids went nuts! So now we practice counting by 2s, 5s, 10s, sing, say poems, etc. They had something to keep them occupied and stopped going nuts. And it will get better for you!
     
  19. thechangingtabl

    thechangingtabl Companion

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    Apr 25, 2007

    I can relate here. Now I have a population of students that are emotionally disabled. I am a first year teacher without any student teaching experience or classroom management experience. I am so ready for the year to end. I have been non-renewed and I am OK with that because I do not think I have what is needed for this kind of population yet. But, my administration seems to have made it personal, that I cannot handle this classroom. He wrote me up with a U for classroom management and NI in classroom planning. Well, I have a constantly changing, evolving classroom. Seems like my classroom is the dumping grounds from the "experienced" teachers classes who "cannot take it anymore." So from my original 7 kids, I have two still in my class, but have lost 5 students to the SED program (severely emotionally disabled) and gained 8 more with 5 new students in the past 4-6 weeks! I am the only teacher teaching 3 grades and I have no planning time and barely get lunch because I have to eat with my students and usually there is some conflict occuring, so my lunch never gets eaten.

    Anyway, my fault is not speaking up for myself as a first year teacher. I just accepted everything they gave me but it was not enough. I am so disappointed in my county's new teacher programs. The support is non-existent and now I have to find a new job with a performance appraisal that I am not sure I can recover from!

    I hope you guys make out better than me. I am praying that I can find another position with another population of students and with a school that offers support!
     
  20. wanateach

    wanateach Companion

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    Apr 26, 2007

    Changingtable,
    I am right there with you, I have an ED student, and I have a classroom of 4th and 5th graders and have had quite the rollercoaster year, but I have had wonderful support, which is probably the reason, that I am finally getting just a touch of confidence, after much praying crying and begging for help-I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

    I have ADD, ADHD, in addition to LD-a lot of it. I have borderline ODD, but golly I am learning to love them. I too am nonrenewed, and a lot fo the same reasons as you-because I was very passive, and confused, dazed and had too much thrown at me to begin with, that I didn't know which end is up, and thus was searching for help, which meant I wore my heart on my sleeve, but did it to the principal, which I later found out was the wrong person to go looking for sympathy or understanding from.

    He is new to this school, and had a lot of learning to do himself, but I was on the chopping block because I was late in turning in paperwork, and deadlines. I never sent my kids to the office, so he thought I had my class under control, and if I wasn't the squeaky wheel he ignored me., so, but he did put that my kids were off task, but just try teaching 3 grade levels all at the same time, with kids who really have legitimate reasons for not wanting to be there in the first place.

    It will all work out, I know it will, whatever was meant to be-just hang in there. I needed this mess up year to get my head where it needed to be-where I can help these kids, now I just want to get on with it, and outa here.

    KEep your head up;)
     
  21. pretty teacher

    pretty teacher New Member

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    Apr 26, 2007

    dont worry...

    you know... when I was reading about your experience, I remembered the many times I have had similar experiences; for examle, you know, in my country, public education is not that efficient, and it is for those who can not afford better education. Well, once, I had to teach in a public school for a week!!... and my class was formed by 28 students (24 of them were hiperactive boys,) and one of them even hit me! (of course, he was suspended!)... but I will never forget that day because I felt very useless! :(

    I THINK THAT THAT FRUSTRATING FEELING OF LACKING CONTROL OVER OUR SS IS SOMETHING THAT ALL TEACHERS FACE SOMEDAY, DONT YOU THINK?
     

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