comparing middle school to high school

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by a teacher, Jun 15, 2011.

  1. KatherineParr

    KatherineParr Comrade

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    Jun 23, 2011

    In general, I agree with what Bandnerd is saying.

    But (you knew that was coming) I *do* confront students directly and I have no problem with angry young men in my face. Caveat: I teach in a small school where students have often been there since 3 pre-k. They know one another well, and they are socialized to be members of a community.

    That said, when a student is disruptive I stare at him or her and if that fails I speak up. I've done this everywhere I ever taught, which is fairly wide range of places. It works, but I have a pretty substantial classroom presence. No one would mistake me for someone to bully. I think you should consider that any approach is dependent on *you* as much as on them.
     
  2. a teacher

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    Jun 23, 2011

    I'm intrigued. Can you describe your "substantial" classroom presence?
     
  3. KatherineParr

    KatherineParr Comrade

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    Jun 23, 2011

    I don't know if I can explain it. My evals reflect that students find me intimidating at first, so they behave out of a sense of caution. But I'm very, very funny. Can't explain that, either. It's just something that happens. So they come to like me and enjoy the class very quickly.

    But they're still kind of scared. So I get this thing where the word among the students is that it's a great class, yet they warn other students not to mess around because *you will be sorry*. I don't consciously employ particular methods, it just sort of happens.

    The one thing I have been doing recently, to great effect, is to drop totally unannounced rewards onto the table. That is, I hold a debate and say there will be prizes. They assume the prize will be a cupcake or something. Instead, the prize is the right to choose your IDs for the mid-term. Suddenly, performance on debates skyrockets.

    Sorry I can't be more specific. I ran the training program for TAs in my department when I was in graduate school. My observation was that the mood of the classroom has a lot to do with the teacher's persona. In my case, that's true, and one of its elements is that students tend to avoid my displeasure.

    And in case you're wondering - I gave three detentions to my own students this year. All were for cell phones ringing. Sometimes, though, I pick up my pile of detention slips and fan myself with them. That tends to settle everyone down.
     
  4. eddygirl

    eddygirl Companion

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    Jun 25, 2011

    ateacher, I realized after reading a couple more posts in this thread that you will probably get a variety of responses because we often base our discipline procedures on the particular population we work with. I teach at an all-boy Catholic high school with a population of 1,000 guys who are racially and socio-economically diverse. About 80% of them play sports, which is very important to them. In my school, a football player would be the last kid to get in a teacher's face because he realizes that one word to his coach would get him benched for the week. The boys also know that detentions are accumulated, which could put them in jeopardy of being kicked out of our school. They don't mess with the basketball coach/teacher because they know he will not take their garbage, but will try to pull stuff on the cute, new female teacher because they don't expect her to be as tough on them.

    During the first two in-service days when I started at my school, I sought out the teachers who I felt were most similar to me. I asked them how they handled discipline and if they would give me some suggestions. They knew the population of the school and could give me advice about how to handle our kids. It worked really well for me, so that's the best suggestion I can offer you.
     
  5. Emily Bronte

    Emily Bronte Groupie

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    Jun 25, 2011

    I have taught students from grades 6-12 and I know from my high school experience that having them line up outside of class wouldn't work too well. What does work is me standing outside the door greeting them as they enter and having a bell-ringer. Also keep in mind that you will learn where your students are at i,n terms of their own development and learning, and what will and will not work. Each class might be a little different.
     
  6. a teacher

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    Jul 12, 2011

    Do any of you have regular problems with cellphones or headphones in class? Do you then sieze them or do kids often refuse to cooperate? How do you deal with the little annoying things, like many tardies, chewing gum, and breaking other class rules? Is detention really all we have? Is calling home more effective at the hs level than the ms level?
     
  7. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    Jul 12, 2011

    This is coming from my extremely limited experience observing and student teaching. We had a big problem where I student taught with cell phones because we were on a college campus and the school felt the kids shouldn't have their phones taken away for longer than one class period in case something happened when they were in a college class (early college program). The Spanish teacher set up a plan where if a student was caught with a phone one time in class then they had to put it in a box on her desk every day for the rest of the quarter before class started and then they picked it up on their way out. She told me that she rarely had repeat offenders!
     
  8. KatherineParr

    KatherineParr Comrade

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    Jul 13, 2011

    I don't have a huge problem, but perhaps my sense of what "huge" would be is different from yours.

    Students routinely have to be reminded (with detention or confiscation) that they may not text, check the ski report, or otherwise use the phone. But they know it's not allowed. They're sneaking, and when I catch them they surrender the phone or take their detention with good grace.

    As for headphones, they wear them around the neck but take them off in class. I don't worry about it.

    For me, there has never been a refusal. But I believe, and have always believed, that discipline is shaped by your persona. That is, you have to be authoritative to have authority. I don't mean harsh. Authoritative. No one (teen or adult) will respect your leadership if you don't absolutely believe in it. So the question isn't whether someone refuses to cooperate, but rather how you establish that the classroom is your space.

    Last - I have never called home about discipline. I deal with the student, and the cases severe enough to warrant a call (100% cheating) have been handled through the office. I email and call parents with compliments and praise. The parents like it, the students like it, and the extremely important student/teacher relationship is preserved. My AP says that his job is to be the bad guy so teachers don't have to. I love that.
     
  9. platypusok

    platypusok Companion

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    Jul 13, 2011

    Re: cellphone and iPods

    I know that there are teachers in school who do not like what I do but I don't care.

    If I am in the process of direct instruction or they are doing group work or taking a test, I had better not see their cellphone or iPod or them with their hands under their desk and staring down (I really hope they are just texting) or that iPod/cell phone becomes mine.

    When they are doing independent work, I don't care if they have their earphones in. I like background noise when I'm reading.

    As to cell phones, if they are choosing to sit there with their hands under their desks texting when they could be working, then they are also choosing to take that work home for homework.

    Eventually they learn and do their work first.
     
  10. KatherineParr

    KatherineParr Comrade

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    Jul 13, 2011

    This is a point I sometimes make - obliquely. In other words: either you're texting or you're doing something really inappropriate. Which is it?
     
  11. misterdee

    misterdee Rookie

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    Jul 14, 2011

    I have taught at both middle school and high school, and the differences are fairly minor. High school students are more versed in the process of "doing school." They will quickly determine exactly how much work they have to do to obtain the grade that they want. They understand that failed courses will need to be made up in some way. High school students have so many more outside obligations and interests that you have to work harder to earn their attention. It is not unusual for high school students to use work time in one course to do the work for their next class. Overall, whatever grade level you teach, you must be honest with your students. Don't threaten when you won't follow through. Don't allow yourself to be backed into a corner -- decide what is most important to you and don't compromise those core values. Most importantly, show the students that you care about them and that you understand that they are complex people of importance.
     
  12. a teacher

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    Jul 16, 2011

    What teacher personalities do you think are most appreciated by high school students? For lower grades it's best to be real nurturing. They want surrogate parents. What is it that makes a high school teacher popular? What kinds of high school teachers get the most respect?
     
  13. KatherineParr

    KatherineParr Comrade

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    Jul 16, 2011

    There's no single answer to that.

    We have a teacher who is a complete drill sergeant. Everything must be done exactly his way or else. He trains those students like robots.

    And they love it.

    My colleague in English is the total opposite. His room is a shifting pile of books, papers, and interesting objects. He encourages students to decide how to spend their time and how to produce what they think is important but he never really directs them in a formal way.

    And they love it.

    Our French teacher engages in tons of rote work because he believes strongly that knowing the words will produce fluency. Our Physics teacher throws out a problem and makes students do it entirely without him.

    They love both men.

    So....it's not about a single personality type. My observation is that students hate teachers who are ineffective. They'll work hard *if* they're learning. They'll slack without complaining *if* they're learning. But either approach, without any point to the time (ie, they learn nothing) will cause angry, teenage angst in about 2 seconds.
     
  14. ku_alum

    ku_alum Aficionado

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    Jul 16, 2011

    It's not about popularity, it's about being effective. If you are an effective teacher, most HS students will value their time with you.

    Things that mean a lot to HS students:
    Fair
    Fair
    Fair
    Consistent
    Reliable
    Real
    Respectful
    Understanding
     
  15. looneyteachr

    looneyteachr Companion

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    Jul 16, 2011

    high school kids waaaayyyy more mature (maybe not 9th graders) - taught h.s. for 20+ yrs then went to middle school last year - lot more coddling needed! what is ur subject area?
     

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