Embarrassed to admit it, but my students are really getting to me

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Zane E Marshall, Jun 26, 2018.

  1. Zane E Marshall

    Zane E Marshall New Member

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    Jun 26, 2018

    I am currently doing a teaching fellowship, teaching summer school at a Charter School in my hometown. All of my groups are great except for my math group which is mostly middle schoolers, plus a few really smart 4th graders.

    Theres one really intelligent, manipulative student who somehow always manages to confound me. He is super smart but can be a bully to his fellow students and never stops talking.

    Ive already hideously failed as a teacher and am thinking of quitting to be honest.

    A nickname for a boy named Carter I have is coach Carter. At one point I accidentally called a girl who was sitting in his spot "Coach Carter" because I wasnt looking. This boy I mentioned above I guess thought that was hilarious and used that as a springboard to bully the girl super bad and he would undercut every attempt I made to correct him with basically gaslighting me and stating I started the bullying. Anyhow I tried to be punitive because I hate bullying, but the administrators only let me give him a lunch detention. Anyhow he bullied the girl out of summer school over the course of the few weeks of school.

    In general him and 2 other girls have nothing but contempt for me. I have to do so much just ot get them to do their work and they constantly just chat. Im moving their seats tomorrow to prevent that, but ultimately the kids just dont respect me. In some part this is due to my demeanor and voice. I come off very gay (and I am gay) and this is a constant source of mockery. Ive beefed up my tone and presentation a bit but the kids still continue on that track. I really dont know what to do to get them to knock it off. My administrators are super against the idea of "giving up on anybody" but its frankly such that a few of my students are holding everybody back out of sheer spite and nastiness

    Maybe im not fit at all to be a teacher, maybe its administration. IDK. Maybe I ought to quit. What were your first few weeks teaching like?
     
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  3. Aces

    Aces Companion

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    Jun 26, 2018

    Hi Zane! Welcome! So I'm a gay man in the teaching bizz as well, so I feel your pain. In a word, my first year or so: hell.

    Firstly I would steer away from nicknames and the like. In my limited experience it's just a bad idea all around. It tends to lead to trouble like you're experiencing.

    Secondly, unfortunately bullies are a part of life and sometimes it can be hard to figure out how you can intervene without making it worse. Try separating the students, on other ends of the room or so and see if you can isolate who starts it. Sometimes you can figure out okay this one starts it the other two go along with it.

    But, my biggest question is why do you think you're a failure already? You've really just gotten started, right? How can success or failure possibly be determined so quickly? It doesn't matter how many times you fall, only how many times you get back up.
     
  4. Zane E Marshall

    Zane E Marshall New Member

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    Jun 26, 2018

    Im probably being a bit over dramatic. I just have no idea how to handle these kids and feel like im ruining everything by not being able to totally control my class and I feel like theres something really wrong with me that my students seem particularly troublesome.

    Maybe I ought to talk to coworkers more and see if they feel the same way.

    That and the kids can tell when im mad and thats super worrying
     
  5. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Habitué

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    Jun 26, 2018

    I taught in a summer program and had a very difficult time with a group of students. It was mainly four girls but they were very disrespectful to me. I would not let them see you get mad or flustered. That will cause the behavior to get worse. Can you be more specific about one situation that you are facing in the classroom?

    I don't think this means that you are not fit to be a teacher. Some groups of kids are difficult and you will grow from this!

    I agree with the previous poster and I wouldn't use nicknames for students. It could cause them to think that it is ok to call each other names, which it is not.
     
  6. Zane E Marshall

    Zane E Marshall New Member

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    Honestly its little stuff that winds up pissing me off and making stuff hard to direct.

    Either the kid is making stuff up or maybe I was un-wedgying my pants or something like that, but this one kid has made that into "Mr. Marshall digs in his bootyhole". Anyhow I dont know what to do with something that ridiculous and it winds up making me angry/embarrassed for some reason. I know im too sensitive and all but it sucks!
     
  7. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Habitué

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    You have to have a thick skin to be a teacher and kids can be rude. I wouldn't let a comment like that slide because it's disrespectful. Can you ask the student to step out into the hallway? Then you can have a private conversation with him/her. With a difficult class, it's best to address discipline privately so they do not have an audience.
     
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  8. Aces

    Aces Companion

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    Jun 26, 2018

    The other thing Zane is that you're really new overall so your nerves and inexperience are working against you. But you definitely have to have a thick skin to be a teacher. That and classroom management skills come with time.
     
  9. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    Kids are like sharks, and you're bleeding like a geyser. You need to learn to pick your battles. Remember that this is summer school; I'm guessing there's not a single kid in your class there because they want to be there.
     
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  10. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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    Jun 27, 2018

    Which... isn't that sad when you think about it? The idea that children are allowed to bully and harass teachers (adults) with no REAL consequences? What has happened to this society?
    I remember growing up, in the 90's, we were afraid to speak up or speak out against our teacher. Even if we didn't like him or her or the way s/he taught or the work we had to do...w e kept our mouths shut and plowed on. Students today are so embolden to say exactly how they feel, which is fine to a point, but the harassment crosses the line!

    Sadly you thinking about quitting isn't shocking or surprising as you'll find many of the next ¨generation´´ of teachers in the same exact boat. And they wonder why there´s a ¨teaching shortage?" It´s not all about the MONEY folks!

    And then people have the audacity to say that you "knew what the kids were like when you signed up for the job..." umm no! Kids are just getting worse so it´s really hard to predict.
    Education needs a major overhaul in my opinion.

    :roll:
     
  11. Lisabobisa

    Lisabobisa Companion

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    Jun 27, 2018

    You WILL fail, but that doesn't make you a failure. Learn from those mistakes and grow as a teacher. I have had tons of fails over the year, but I am definitely not the teacher I was when I was student teaching, or even my first year teaching. I learned A LOT throughout the years.

    Middle School is tough. Maybe the grade just isn't right for you. I remember when I was student teaching I was put into a kindergarten classroom to observe for a couple days. I'm still scarred. Later I did a semester in 2nd grade. I remember telling my cooperating teacher that I didn't think I was cut out for it... and she told me it probably wasn't the right age level for me. She was right! I'll take my high-schoolers any day.
     
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  12. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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    Jun 27, 2018

    Also, a lot of middle schoolers are insecure and unstable wrecks. Perhaps some are closeted themselves and it's easier to make fun of the teacher and deflect attention off of themselves?
    And yes, it's all about finding your niche in education!
    :)
     
  13. Aces

    Aces Companion

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    Yes! Preach! I will take my high schoolers all day everyday.
     
  14. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Jun 27, 2018

    You might have been “un-wedgying” your pants?
     
  15. OUOhYeah

    OUOhYeah Comrade

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    Jun 27, 2018

    I am in my 4th year of teaching, and guess what? I teach ELA and Social Studies to 5th graders in a public school and I have learned that kids can be cruel. I have worked at a charter school and to be honest they were rough on me the first year. They did not respect me, they called me gay and other names. I was supported by the administration, but not so much they helped all of this go away.

    I guess what I am saying is please don't give up. You sound like a really nice guy and someone who cares about the field and the kids. Why would you have taken the time to write on this board if you didn't? I think you don't want to quit, or you are looking for advice. Well-- I will give you some.

    1.) Don't give them nick names you don't have that rapport with them yet. I would start building it with them immediately. Start talking to them and even having lunch with them.

    2.) Have you ever used class dojo? It's great. My parents are constantly in contact with me because I hound them down and really get them involved. I whip my phone out and have them sign up when I see them and I make sure the student sees that I am doing this. BELIEVE ME!!! It works.

    3.) Give them a lot of structure. I would have them line up in a line order and give them a number they must line up in. Model for them how to walk in a line, how to enter and leave the rest room. How to sharpen a pencil, get your attention, how to switch between classes. There's a million routines and they need to be taught and explained and to practice. This comes down to your preference.

    4.) Consequences... for those students that do not follow through and break them even if it is so minor... Give them the consequence or they will walk all over you. I would start out with a warning, then message parents on dojo as the second option as well as going to a desk alone and having them reflect on what they did.

    5.) BE PATIENT. You might not see a change for a few weeks, but if you stay consistent they will learn you care, and that you mean business and your class will run so smoothly.

    Hope that helps Zane! I would love to keep in contact with you to see how you are doing because it's rough... but please do not give up the kids need people like you!
     
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  16. Zane E Marshall

    Zane E Marshall New Member

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    Jul 3, 2018

    I do have Class DOjo! The point system works great with younger kids, the one problem I have is that alot of parents still havent signed up but im hoping that changes, I plan on making naother flyer for it.

    Im restructuring my class tomorrow and ill make it alot more structured then its been.
     
  17. Been There

    Been There Habitué

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    Jul 3, 2018

    Many of us know exactly how you feel because we've been there - the first few years can be brutal. I'll add to the great advice that others have given by referring you to related YouTube videos if you haven't done so already - search words: youtube dealing with disrespectful students. The videos show effective strategies that you can practice at home over the summer.
     

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