Classroom "revolution" against me, help!

Discussion in 'High School' started by EduScate, Mar 24, 2012.

  1. EduScate

    EduScate New Member

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    Mar 24, 2012

    Hello,

    It's a long story but I'll try to make a brief as possible. I really don't know what to do!! I have 5 classes and 3 different subjects, but this is about one specific class, all the others have the challenges I expect and can properly address.

    I am a long term substitute in a low ses area, the district doesn't hire the long terms subs directly b/c they would have to pay them higher rates than using the substitute agency I am employed with and just switch the subs us every couple weeks so they only have to pay the daily sub rate...With me they made an exception because they really like what I'm doing. :thumb: So I am there from 2/1 to 5/15. But their teacher has been out since November, and they have had at least 6 different subs, everyone seems to have lost count how many...

    The first month they were working on a "model congress" assignment that includes a field trip, so the regular teacher instructed me to allow them to work solely on that project during class for the last month. Okay, if that's what she wants. The students didn't work on the project and just talked the whole period (despite my constant reminders to work on it).

    Fast forward to this week when I actually get to start lesson planning and teaching!! :D Yea, not so much :help:

    Day 1: Class in general not happy that I expect them to write notes, try taking pictures with their phones instead...I address this, but it falls on def ears.

    Yesterday, same class the class as a whole (besides maybe 4 students) decided to collectively try everything to push me to snap, thank God I have the self discipline to not allow that to happen!!

    1st a student asked me to hand something to another, upon taking it, I see it was a note and the first 3 works included the f word, I ripped it up and threw it away. She yelled at me calling me nosy and it was none of my business, I simply told her anything handed to me becomes my business and despite her retort, I dropped.

    2nd a student started chanting for their regular teacher, the whole class chimed in. They saw that didn't get to me and stopped

    3rd they started singing slavery song (it's a 98% african american school & I am white) I ignored that, they stopped.

    4th, ask I am trying to instruct them on their assignment a student jams a pencil into the sharpener EVERY time I start speaking, this goes on for 2-3 min, despite me telling her to go back to her seat.

    5th I casually walk around the room and look over at her papers to get her name (I've only been with this class for 10 day and she's never in class) and she hides her papers and says, no way-your not gonna find out my name! I keep walking, I have my ways ;)

    6th I take a student into the hall to discuss his behavior (the ring leader as it were) and I hear a screatching noise....I turn my around and the class shifted every desk about 2 feet!!! Again, I take it in stride.

    7th I had the desks zip tied together (for an inclusion class that will not keep them where the belong) and somehow, they managed to cut every one off.

    8th fire drill--great...

    9th, I come back from the drill and a handful of student beat me back to the class (sub no keys) the teachers chair was on top of the teachers desk. I calmly put it back on the floor.

    At the bell I open the door for the students and stand in the hall to great the next class, their last prank was to put the chairs on top each desk before they left.

    Now, I know this makes me look like I am incompetent. I am sure there are things I could do differently, after all the only experience I have is student teaching middle school in a high ses area... but I must be doing something right if they pulled strings to keep me here the duration of the teachers absence instead of just letting me go after a couple weeks.

    I talked to the dept head and she said that really all that can be done is for her and another teacher to talk to the students and tell them they can't do that...last time she did this, it backfired and the student had gave me an even harder time.

    I am going to call home to the 3 specific students I mentioned and write them up but I need to know how to word the infraction so that it gets the attention it requires, this school is labeled (while I don't believe it) one of the most dangerous in the state so misbehavior usually just gets a detention.

    If you've read this far, thank you so much!!!!! Any and all advice is welcomed!! I can't go in on Monday as if nothing happened or else it will just get worse!!
     
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  3. TeachOn

    TeachOn Habitué

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    Mar 24, 2012

    My heart goes out you. I could not work in such a setting. Students cannot learn in such a setting.

    Would that there were still the option, without moving bureaucratic heaven and due-process earth, to throw such "students" out of school.
     
  4. kpa1b2

    kpa1b2 Aficionado

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    Mar 24, 2012

    So this is a class that has been without a regular teacher since November? They've been allowed to get away with everything. Go in Monday and review the procedures of the classroom. I worked with 1 teacher who only allowed pencils to be sharpened 1st thing in the morning. You could do the same thing, but the first 5 min. of the period. After that unplug the sharpener & put it away. Get a room key. Keep the door locked. Wear the key.

    Be consistent. Do the students know why the subs have been switched every 2 weeks? They may be thinking that they have run off the subs and that is what they are trying to do to you.

    Good luck
     
  5. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Mar 24, 2012

    I just want to say you do not look incompetent. It is very hard when the whole class gets teamed up against you. It's great that they haven't been able to get to you.

    What have you been doing as far as discipline? What is the procedure at your school? If you send someone out, what happens to them? How about detention? Do they show up? If not, what happens?

    Usually there is one ringleader, but in this case, there might be a few who they follow. If you can figure out who they are, they might stop. Of course, you have to single them out and 'punish' them, which might be hard, because often the ring leaders don't do much, they're sort of invisible.

    Often by 'punishing' 1 or 2 works. My mentor teacher called this 'sacrificing a couple of students for the greater good'. This is why I asked what are the disciplinary measure at your school.
     
  6. Ron6103

    Ron6103 Habitué

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    Mar 24, 2012

    You have my deepest sympathies, but unfortunately I can offer no real advice. I have never taught in such a situation, and quite honestly... would likely go elsewhere after experiencing what you have dealt with thus far. That said, I teach in a school with a 60% poverty rate. But our administration is rock solid... if a kid disrupts the classroom, they can be kicked out immediately. Repeated disruptions result in a removal from the school entirely. In the course of this academic year alone, we have had close to 15 students transferred out due to their behavior.

    Thus, much of the blame must go to the administration and the culture of the school. Such absurd behavior has been allowed to persist and become the norm in that building (or so it would appear). At this point, I cannot see how much (if any) learning will occur.

    The students in such a setting seem to have decided early on that they have no desire to earn an education. I realize much of that stems from environment and SES status, but at some point... people have to take some responsibility for their actions. I don't know what the solution is at this point in the game, but wish you the best of luck. You are a braver soul than I.
     
  7. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Mar 24, 2012

    They're testing you...you haven't given up...you're winning.
     
  8. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Mar 24, 2012

    I agree with Ron and the above answers. I am facing a similar situation as you right now. I think the best thing to do would be to get administrative help.

    If you have security or someone who could sit in on your class, and take the ones who are acting up out of the classroom with work to the office that would be great. If you can get cooperating teachers to help you as well and will take students to their classrooms and roundly embarrass them for their behavior, it would be prime.
     
  9. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Mar 25, 2012

    Embarassing students for their misbehavior was discussed in another thread. NOT the best mgt choice.:eek:hmy:
     
  10. HSEnglishteach

    HSEnglishteach Rookie

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    Mar 26, 2012

    Good for you for not breaking. I think ignoring behavior in the moment is the absolute best thing you can do -- you can't openly confront students. It sounds like you need administrative support and also maybe some educational psychology. Is there a ringleader in the class who you can bring over to your team? I would pull this kid aside and maybe even have lunch with him or her and just be honest. Tell the student you need his or her help, that you can't do it without him or her. If you can get one domino, others may fall into place.
     
  11. Ms.SLS

    Ms.SLS Cohort

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    Mar 26, 2012

    Admitting you "need the help" of a student in this situation would probably backfire unless the student was particularly mature (which I am guessing these kids are not).

    I would go over expectations. Be very clear. The first time someone breaks them, issue detention (if they don't show, issue referral or whatever it is at your site). If the whole class is participating in the infraction, the whole class has detention. Repeat process until it's no longer worth it to them to harass you.
     
  12. HSEnglishteach

    HSEnglishteach Rookie

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    Mar 26, 2012

    You have a point: It would take some real skill to get one of the kids over to your side, especially if they are not incredibly mature. But I don't think you give kids enough credit. Group think happens in GROUPS, not individually. One-on-one, most kids listen to reason. Find a kid who the other kids turn to (this is usually a kid who is socially intelligent enough to get it anyway) and get him or her to join your team. I would be willing to put money down that there is ONE kid (and maybe two, but even in that situation one is looking to the other kid) who everyone is turning to for subconscious orders. Most classes have a whole chunk of kids in that middle ground -- kids who could go either way. And then there are the leaders. You can't control the leaders via force; leaders must be allowed to lead. And they will lead, for good or for evil.

    Discipline referrals may restore your class to order if the kids care about detention or you have any administrative support, and it's smart practice to give consequences every single time when your expectations are broken, but don't expect your class will be anything but a daily battle zone if you don't get some kind of student buy in. The students have to see value in SOMETHING. If not the curriculum, then at least in you. If you can show the student -- genuinely, not through BS -- that you see leadership ability in him or her and that you need his or her help, you will have shown that student you see value in him or her. I think it's silly to think that shows weakness on your part. It doesn't. It shows strength. It shows honesty. Of course you need that kid's help -- without buy in from the students nothing can work. That kid already knows you don't have control over the group. You are not begging for the student's help, you are humanizing yourself as an adult who cares, who sees an ability in that other student and who wants to give some of your power over to the student so that student can take ownership over what happens in the class. You can dish out all the consequences you want, but unless the kids start to care about what happens in your room it won't make a bit of difference.
     
  13. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Mar 26, 2012

    Please disregard this advice. As czacza said, it is not a good idea to embarrass students.
     
  14. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Mar 26, 2012

    (Hugs, Peregrin5.)
     
  15. Silmarienne

    Silmarienne Cohort

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    Mar 29, 2012

    I admire the way you are handling this, not taking it personally or whining. :thumb:

    I agree that you are going to have to be a complete harda$$ for several days. Be clear in your expectations, be clear in what the consequences will be, and follow through like a complete merciless authority figure, at least for a couple of days. It usually takes just one or two getting punished and the rest take notice. But whatever the consequences are, be sure you are supported in making them happen. Nothing worse than kids finding out a threat is empty because admin is too wimpy to let you follow through.

    Offer hope that the class will soon be what it should be, and maybe even offer a reward (someone posted the "VIP" party idea). And a dab of humor can go a long way.

    I think your attitude is awesome and you'll do fine.
     
  16. Red Apple

    Red Apple Rookie

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    Apr 14, 2012

    Does your state allow different discipline techniques? I know a city police officer who uses the threat of push ups if he finds drugs on someone...if such a thing is legal maybe you can try that.
     
  17. hbcaligirl1985

    hbcaligirl1985 Cohort

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    You have my deepest sympathies. I would have curled into a ball and admitted defeat already. Stay strong!
     
  18. HeatherY

    HeatherY Habitué

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    May 19, 2012

    Whatever happened with this class?
     
  19. Keylay

    Keylay Rookie

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    Aug 3, 2012

    First you need to ask for help.

    I was in the same boat as you. I got a class who lost their teacher during break. Had a rotating sub in there, and had 2 real teachers up and quit within 2 days. One only lasted 3 periods! So I am the 3rd full time teacher in this class, I am first year, computer science major with 0 experience teaching math. Yeah this sounds like a good idea.

    So, I go in there and being a male it helps. You really can't do anything about that. I seem to get a little more respect. However, I explained my rules and when they didn't follow them call home. They don't really matter to most students.

    Then I came up with "You call home and tell them what you did while I am here making sure you tell the truth." Which worked better.

    I contacted the security guards to check in on me during my hardest periods. He would pop in and said "How is everything going in here?" Sometimes students would talk under their breath and he would take them out with him. All I would say is "thank you" or "Everyone is doing great here." It wasn't everyday, and it was kinda random when they showed up. It helped allot.

    Then, I wrote my first referral. That solved everything. It only takes one student to set the example and they all fall in line.
     

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