Dread going to work each day... what can I do?

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by Kayla037, Mar 10, 2018.

  1. Kayla037

    Kayla037 Rookie

    Joined:
    May 4, 2016
    Messages:
    9
    Likes Received:
    1

    Mar 10, 2018

    The beginning of the year was fine. However, since Christmas break ended, I have been very stressed with my class. I teach at a low-income school, and I have "that class" this year. The whole school knows it, and my principal shares in my frustration. Detention doesn't work. Getting to know them doesn't work. Incentives don't work. Meetings with parents don't work. Desk rearrangements don't work. I have about four students who are extremely rude and pretty much rotate in the office each week. Most of the time, I have to send at least one student to the office and one in the hallway to keep my sanity for an hour. Office visits don't normally resolve anything. The four feed off of each other. Two of them got into a physical fight a couple of days ago when I had a substitute.

    I keep telling myself that I only have a few months left. I have lost my motivation to teach. I find myself pulling out novels after novels to just read for pleasure with the class because it seems to be the only time those students will be respectful.

    I just feel like I'm not accomplishing anything, and I feel for the students who do try. I just can't think of any resolutions. I've recently started anxiety medication, and I'm 100% confident it's due to this school year.

    I know I sound dramatic, but I really need some advice on what to do with those four students.
     
  2.  
  3. nstructor

    nstructor Cohort

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2010
    Messages:
    546
    Likes Received:
    23

    Mar 10, 2018

    What grade is this?
     
  4. Been There

    Been There Habitué

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2017
    Messages:
    849
    Likes Received:
    514

    Mar 10, 2018

    Without us knowing the ages of your students, it's almost impossible to offer any meaningful suggestions to someone who desperately needs help. If I were you, I would arrange to have the parents of the four brats to sit in the classroom next to their children for as long as they are willing to stay. Call them Monday morning to request their help. Had this been done after the first week and repeated as often as needed, your work would now be much more enjoyable.

    Also on Monday morning make arrangements with agreeable teachers who are willing to take your students FOR THE DAY - one brat per class. Once arrangements have been made, announce the new consequences to your entire class. So, the very next time someone acts out, have the work ready to go and send them with an escort to the other class - no discussion and no further warnings - be sure to call the teacher to give him/her a heads-up that the kid is on his/her way. (In some cases, I've personally escorted the student to ensure that he/she didn't get lost.) They should be made to sit at an isolated desk away from other students. If no extra desk is available, you can always supply one from your own room. Be sure to send work along with the student and tell him/her if it isn't completed by the end of the day and if the teacher provides you with a negative report, they'll get to repeat the experience over again tomorrow.
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2018
  5. Been There

    Been There Habitué

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2017
    Messages:
    849
    Likes Received:
    514

    Mar 11, 2018

    I discovered that the most challenging students often respond well to a different approach that caters to their personal interests. Something magical happens when students see that the teacher is willing to shine the spotlight on their favorite pastime or hobby. Being somewhat of a contrarian, I've even had to bend some of the school's policies for the benefit of my students' education. Perhaps what worked with my students may work for yours too! Check out these three examples: 1, 2, 3. Click on Present to view via Google Docs and click mouse or press the down key on your keyboard to advance slides.
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2018
  6. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2016
    Messages:
    2,407
    Likes Received:
    1,180

    Mar 11, 2018

    ,
     
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2019
  7. kpa1b2

    kpa1b2 Aficionado

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2002
    Messages:
    3,274
    Likes Received:
    38

    Mar 11, 2018

    I agree with the others that we need more information to help you. What grade level and what is your content area?
     
  8. TeacherWhoRuns

    TeacherWhoRuns Companion

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2011
    Messages:
    184
    Likes Received:
    49

    Mar 17, 2018

    Can you team up with another teacher, maybe in a higher grade level and make it a reward for your troublesome students to visit that room once a week? I have a very challenging 2nd grader with a brother in 4th grade. He can go visit his brother's class for a half hour on Friday if he has a good week. He just reads a book in there, but it has cut down on some negative behaviors. Maybe another teacher would set up reading buddies with your more active kids and that could be a reward?
     
    Master Pre-K likes this.
  9. GemStone

    GemStone Habitué

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2011
    Messages:
    819
    Likes Received:
    166

    Mar 18, 2018

    I'm so tired of bending to these kids, though. They know what they're doing is wrong. And next year, when the next teacher doesn't kiss their behinds and cater to them, the behaviors will repeat.
     
    Backroads likes this.
  10. Been There

    Been There Habitué

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2017
    Messages:
    849
    Likes Received:
    514

    Mar 18, 2018

    It's a matter of survival - being an American teacher often requires that one be willing to do whatever is necessary to maintain one's sanity. There's definitely an elimination process that weeds out many enthusiastic individuals who quickly burnout, sometimes even to the point of becoming suicidal. Yes, bending to these kids can be extremely tiring and self-degrading, but only if you allow it to get the better of you. By refusing to give in, an inevitable power-struggle will result and may end with you losing your job. Think mind over matter or necessity is the mother of invention. It was my willingness to be inventive and use unconventional methods that saved the day for everyone - a definite win-win situation. Many of us who have worked at toxic schools have thought of throwing in the towel many times, but were able to persevere until retirement by remaining flexible.

    We all know that there's an epidemic of failing students that are automatically promoted only to widen the achievement gap - it doesn't help to dwell on that.:rolleyes:
     
    Backroads likes this.
  11. SabrinaY

    SabrinaY Rookie

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2018
    Messages:
    19
    Likes Received:
    1

    Mar 21, 2018

    I feel this so much. I don't know if they've lost respect for me slowly over time or if things are going on at home. I'm considering completely overhauling my classroom management plan. My concern is that it will make things worse not better. I agree with the packet of work and being sent out. Its what I have to do with one of mine everyday. Make a nice thick packet and show it to them and explain what will happen if they continue to do what they're doing.
     
  12. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2012
    Messages:
    3,246
    Likes Received:
    1,217

    Mar 22, 2018

    I had two students like that this year. Eventually - after trying everything - the principals and one student's mother agreed to move one of them to a different class. It wasn't me. It wasn't my classroom management or behavior management plan. It wasn't the other kids in my class. It was these two kids and their lack of self-control and respect for others. Don't listen to anyone who tells you that it's you or your lack of management or the way you handled it in the past. It's easy to say that until you've lived it yourself and know you're a good teacher who got stuck with a hard class It .

    Out last ditch effort with my two kids was creating a choice flow chart - "if/then" style. "If I [do this positive thing], then [this other positive thing will happen - and not some reward or incentive, just some good, old-fashioned respect and learning]." Here's an example: "If I am getting my work done... I will show that I am responsible". It worked the other way, as well. "If I am not working... 1. my teacher will give me a reminder... 2. my teacher will change my seat... 3. my teacher will call the principal." It was set up visually as a flow chart with boxes and arrows that led to the outcome of particular choices. It also had a set of top 3 non-negotiables. If the student engaged in any of those three things, then there were no middle steps. Immediately, I would call the office and have the student escorted out of my room. This worked well for a few days, and I think it would have continued to work long-term if we needed it to. However, after one of the two students hit the other one on a field trip and the mom said something about moving the one kid, my principals and I jumped on that and moved him to a new class. I still don't enjoy my job, but my classroom climate is so much better these days.
     
  13. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Aficionado

    Joined:
    May 29, 2007
    Messages:
    3,060
    Likes Received:
    538

    Mar 22, 2018

    I really don't think bending to or catering to students is a bad thing, it's about student engagement. Engaged students rarely cause problems. I had THAT CLASS one year (grade 1) - and my experience sounds a lot like the OPs. It was a revolving door between my classroom, the office, the resource room and the hall. I had 4 students that threw the class off their rails every day. I tried everything I could in terms of consequences, rewards, incentives, phone calls, resource referrals, crying in the office, you name it - I tried it.

    One day one of my students asked for a cardboard box and some masking tape. I happened to have the supplies on hand, so I gave them to him and he got to work. I didn't hear a peep out of him for about 20 minutes and slowly a crowd gathered around him. (I cannot remember what we were SUPPOSED to be doing, but at that moment, it didn't matter). He created this amazing 'super hero' costume from the cardboard box and I knew how I had to proceed with the rest of the year.

    I gathered every cardboard box I could find. Friends and family started saving their recycling for me. Once a week, I dumped all of the recycled materials on the carpet in our classroom and we sat in a circle around our mound of garbage. Then every student had to tell me their plan for the next hour

    My students did amazing work that year and covered so many curriculum outcomes with our once a week garbage hour. They built aerial 3-D models of the school, researched how semi-trucks work, and invented new math games. One group of girls wanted to make crowns for everyone in the class, so they had to work out how to measure everyone's head so the crowns fit.

    By spring we were well into full class inquiries. They became obsessed with dinosaurs, so we spent a month learning about them. I stretched every possible curricular outcome that could fit into a dinosaur unit and we ran with it.

    EAs were terrified to come into my room because they knew what my kids were like outside of the classroom and couldn't believe I would paint with my students. But this was an artistic, creative group and I played to their strengths all year.

    Everyone learned to read, write and count. We covered all of the grade 1 learning outcomes and so, so, so many more. I had a wonderfully fantastic administrator, who knew I was struggling, and supported every wacky idea I came up with. My students were still far from perfect, but when they were in the classroom they were engaged, learning and too busy to get into too many shenanigans. I pushed those resource referrals and encouraged parents to take their children to the doctor and 5 of them were eventually diagnosed with something - from Autism to Tourette's Syndrome to ADHD.

    Interestingly, the following year I had the 'dream class' and when I tried to launch our first inquiry/art project, they couldn't handle the lack of structure and buckled. I had to go back to my 'tight ship' ways. Every class is different, so please don't think of catering to their interests as a bad thing - think about it as engaging your students.
     
    kpa1b2, Elena3 and Backroads like this.
  14. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2010
    Messages:
    3,105
    Likes Received:
    1,431

    Mar 22, 2018

    I totally get what you mean, but I think there is a difference between bending to bad behavior and working to engage your students. You're not tolerating disrespect, you're just finding a way to teach them the curriculum and a few social skills.
     
    Been There likes this.

Share This Page

Members Online Now

  1. evesmeow,
  2. miss-m,
  3. TeacherNY,
  4. Mackenzie Roberts
Total: 351 (members: 5, guests: 316, robots: 30)
test