Anyone teach in a "rough" school?

Discussion in 'Middle School / Junior High' started by AnonyMS, Apr 15, 2012.

  1. AnonyMS

    AnonyMS SpEd Para!

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    Apr 15, 2012

    I need to vent but don't want to post publically.

    I'd like to get some advice from someone who's in a similar middle school... urban, a fair amount of discipline problems, rough neighborhood, lots of young, single parents or grandparents who are raising their grandchildren. In the past few weeks, we've had the police on campus several times.

    Anyone?
     
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  3. comaba

    comaba Cohort

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    Apr 15, 2012

    Sounds a lot like my school. We're suburban, though close to the city, and many of our students started out in city schools. The rest of your post matches my school.

    Feel free to PM me if you want. :)

    (Fair warning though.... I'll probably vent too!)
     
  4. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Phenom

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    Apr 15, 2012

    If there is a drive by shooting in town, it is probably in the school's neighborhood.
     
  5. BumbleB

    BumbleB Habitué

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    Apr 15, 2012

    I teach at a suburban middle school with an extremely high poverty rate. Even though we are suburban, we are the county seat....so everyone who depends on those government run programs to survive has moved to our town. So yes, we get a lot of the single or young parents. Parents (and students) with substance abuse problems, extreme poverty, gang activity, etc. It is hard to motivate students to do their best when they have very few role models or examples of people who persevered and moved beyond the poverty. I do have a couple of very involved parents, and they keep me sane!

    You can PM me if you'd like, though I'll probably get back to you tomorrow (it's a school night, after all!).
     
  6. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Apr 15, 2012

    I teach in a very rough school. Feel free to PM me.
     
  7. lucybelle

    lucybelle Connoisseur

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    Apr 15, 2012

    I taught in a rough school last year. Every other week I'd get an email informing me one of my students was in juvie. I also had more than one freshman girl cry in my class and tell me they were pregnant. *sigh*
     
  8. orangepurple

    orangepurple Companion

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    Apr 15, 2012

    It's kind of rough and kind of OK where I am. Fights, kids getting arrested for this and that...Usually, they seem like 7th and 8th grade kids in the classroom, even if they are "bad" outside, and I think anything you can do to keep them acting like normal kids inside the classroom is important. For example, teaching them everything you want them to do, such as how to ask politely or say excuse me... and then giving them little treats and rewards (such as hangman, or puzzles, or madlibs) so that they feel like kids who are having a little fun...it helps.
    I have had bad days when I have called 8 parents, had 4 disconnected numbers, 2 new foster homes and 2 grandparents who say "I'm just taking care of X while her mom is in jail, and I'm at my wit's end because three teachers have already called this week!" And then you think there is a reason these kids are acting out. They are hard to deal with, but it's easier for me to have patience with them when I see where they are coming from.
     
  9. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Aficionado

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    Apr 16, 2012

    Yes, my school is rough, but it's very controlled, so it doesn't seem that rough overall.

    Best case scenarios: kids are somewhat chatty, some are unmotivated, but overall surprisingly respectful, sweet and trying to do their best.
    Worst case scenario: physical fights, destroying things, extreme disrespect, chaos, complaining about doing any work, etc. (there's one teacher who really has it rough, they call her names, always doing something crazy in her room, one time 2 kids peed on her wall, etc)

    I've been doing great, especially lately, the past couple of months or so, but last week was kinda rough for me. That means they were very chatty (some or almost all my classes), just about every day, + some kids got on my nerves. I really need a break. My principal kinda made me upset, that was worse than all the kids all week. I had some issues with some of the probation staff, that's always annoying. Wanted to take off a whole week, but I'll probably take off just 1-2 days (and go sub somewhere else. Sadly, I can't really take off, but subbing in another school is already a break)

    Found out not too long ago that one of my previous students is now locked up for 1st degree murder. (quite kid, never gave me any problems) Still sad about that.

    Venting always helps.
     
  10. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Fanatic

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    Apr 16, 2012

    I teach at one of the best schools in the area where I live, and we have this happen at about the same rate you described. As long as the discipline in the school is good, which ours is, it doesn't get out of hand.
     
  11. kpa1b2

    kpa1b2 Aficionado

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    Apr 16, 2012

    Been there, done that. I was on the elementary side of the building.

    I remember teaching either 2nd or 3rd grade & the car in front of me had an accident on the ice. The turnaround was always very slick & if you didn't know it you would hit the curb. The turn was a 1/2 block away from the school. Well the car in front of me hit the curb and wouldn't move.

    I got out to see if I could help & found out that she was our new music teacher, that day was her first day. So I called a couple of people, got someone to cover my class for me & I stayed with her until we could get help. She was really upset. . . first day on a new job jitters & all that.

    The school brought over snow melt. Parents/kids all saw us. I get to school about 1/2 hour late. Come to find out, one of my boys saw me. He was telling the kids that I had had a car accident because I was drunk! At 7:30a.m.? My thought was what had he seen that he would assume that his teacher had had a car accident because she was drunk. Security talked to him.
     
  12. Reality Check

    Reality Check Habitué

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    Apr 16, 2012

    Yes, I do.

    In fact, we get the photographs for our yearbook from the local post office bulletin board.
    :lol:
     
  13. AnonyMS

    AnonyMS SpEd Para!

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    Apr 25, 2012

    Thank you, everyone. I appreciate the PMs!

    I'm having a hard time with the disrespect (talking back) --

    Me: Stop singing, Joshua.
    Joshua: I'm not singing; I'm humming!

    OR

    Me: Turn around in your seat, Jennifer.
    Jennifer: You are ALWAYS picking on me!

    OR

    Me: Davina, please stop talking!
    Davina: You always bothering me... everyone ELSE is talking!

    OR

    Me (to Terrance, whose shirt is untucked and his shorts are showing b/c he is sagging): Terrance, tuck in your shirt.
    Terrance: My shirt IS tucked in!
    OR Terrance: Man! You never tell HIM to tuch in his shirt!


    I have no replies for this sort of stuff and, seriously, I'm near my wits' end! I would say that 80% of the time I re-direct or correct someone, I get back-talk like this.

    Another issue is the dang GUM! SPIT IT OUT, for cryin' out loud! They go to the trash can, stand there, bend over, hide the gum in their mouth, and go back to their seat where they start chewing it again. I had one girl the other day tell me I was wasting her money by telling her to throw out her gum. The next day, she had gum again and when I told her to throw it out... she told me NO.

    Yes, I know the "pick your battles" thing but GUM IS NOT ALLOWED in class. I have found all sorts of chewed up gum under desks or in seats.
     
  14. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Aficionado

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    Apr 25, 2012

    Let the class know before they enter classroom that gum is not allowed. Make sure they hear you and understand it. The first kid you catch with gunm, have him/her spit it out, then write a detention. You might have a few more right away trying to stash it, which should be fine. After that the gum incident should die down.
     
  15. Milsey

    Milsey Cohort

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    Apr 27, 2012

    Me too. I teach in a low-income neighborhood. The children can be challenging, but kindness and rewards go a long way to earning their trust - that and coming in every day. It's really the principal who's the problem at my school. He's a bully.
     
  16. BumbleB

    BumbleB Habitué

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    Apr 28, 2012

    I get this often from some of my eighth graders. They always have a retort or try to place blame elsewhere when they are corrected. I don't see that as disrespect so much as immaturity. Sometimes I say something silly (but in a stern, no nonsense voice) such as "I don't care if your dangling off the side of the Empire State Building...cut it out". Usually that disarms them and they stop. Or I tell them to take responsibility for their actions by prompting them to use their "sorry" statement, which we practice throughout the year. They simply say "Sorry Ms. BumbleB, I'll try harder next time" and then we drop it. If their behavior continues, that's when I will either pull them into the hallway for a serious chat or just write them up then and there.
     
  17. AnonyMS

    AnonyMS SpEd Para!

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    Apr 28, 2012

    It's just so freakin' draining!

    I do sometimes try to re-direct in private. It's just that there are so many that I literally have to walk the classroom the entire period! I am not against walking the classroom, but sometimes like to stay on one side for longer than 3 minutes!

    As far as giving a 'group' prompt... it's losing its effect. I resort to the individual calling out b/c the group prompts don't work.

    I'm glad I only have 24 days left.
     
  18. BumbleB

    BumbleB Habitué

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    Apr 28, 2012

    Have you tried some sort of positive behavior support program? Most middle schoolers are competitive, so you could put them on teams that "compete" against each other for a prize (my kids work for fast food or junk food lol). You determine what behavior is acceptable, and teams get points/tokens/tickets/whatever for their positive behavior. Then whichever team has the most at the end of a specified amount of time (you'll probably want to go to the end of the year) wins.

    I'm sure other members here have some great ideas for implementing it in your classroom if you're interested. Just try to hang in there...I'm sure you're doing a great job!
     
  19. JMB115

    JMB115 New Member

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    Apr 29, 2012

    Give one final warning about spitting gum out and explain from then on, if they are caught with gum, they will be serving a "gum detention." What does that consist of? Get them plastic gloves and some scrapers from the custodian and they will spend the 30 minute detention scraping the chewed gum off of the bottom of your desks. This has tremendously cut down the gum chewing at our school!
     
  20. AnonyMS

    AnonyMS SpEd Para!

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    Apr 30, 2012

    JMB - I would probably not be allowed to have students do this.

    BumbleB - we are not allowed to give the students any food!! G-r-r-r... we actually do a school-wide PBIS system where we give the kids COINS for positive behavior. I have an issue with this system, but try to do it. The problem is that the "store" where they can turn in their items have hardly anything in it that the kids want!! What is your "sorry statement" thing of which you post?

    Today, ALL my classes were actually WONDERFUL for me!!!! I did a lot of quiet re-direction with pats on the back (that really seems to do wonders for many of my kiddos!) and also hand gestures (of the legal sort, of course!).
     
  21. BumbleB

    BumbleB Habitué

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    May 1, 2012

    I'm so glad that your strategies are working!!! :)

    My sorry statement is something that they learn at the beginning of the year and we practice it often. I HATE when students refuse to take responsibility for their behavior and try to get into an argument with me about what they were/weren't doing. So, instead of arguing or trying to "prove" to me why they weren't doing anything wrong, I taught them to just say...."Sorry Ms. BumbleB, I'll try harder next time". And then we drop it and move on. Saying it out loud makes them realize that it's their choice to act that way and that they can make a different choice next time they are faced with that situation. I don't really know the magic behind it, but they seem to respond really well to it. They stop their undesirable behavior pretty much immediately.
     

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