Feeling Discouraged

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Ms.Holyoke, Dec 5, 2017.

  1. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Comrade

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    I taught a lesson in my practicum today and it went so badly. The lesson was intended to be a quick review of the distributive property and I realized that most kid were really struggling. A lot of students didn't have access to the launch I had planned which was hard and the format of the chart that I made was confusing. My mentor said the worksheeet was great but I don't think she had the chance to review it with detail. And the kids also did not participate. The lesson was intended to be 20 mins and went to 45 mins. The class has 50% students with IEPs and no special ed co-teacher so I feel like I don't know how to teach them. And there are a few kids who are bored because they know how to do everything...

    In addition to that, we have so many behavior problems. Kids yelling across the room, kids not listening to directions, kids on their phones. Today all of the kids left without being dismissed and left a huge mess in the classroom. It's impossible to get the class's attention at the end of the day without yelling over them. My mentor often talks over the yelling or talking kids and there is no one we can send them to if they misbehave. I have a lot of anxiety about taking over next semester because I have never seen classroom management done well with my class. I've started reading books but so many of the things are things you have to do in the beginning of the year and I'll be taking over mid-year. I am so anxious about taking over these classes next semester and I feel like I don't know what to do.
     
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  3. rpan

    rpan Comrade

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    Take a breath! You aren't supposed to know everything, even very experienced teachers have bad days. Sometimes we envision a lesson in our heads and for various reasons it doesn't go to plan. That's OK, because its a learning experience. I'm sure you've picked up on things you can improve on for next time and things that worked well.

    Have a chat with your mentor teacher and have a lesson debrief. When I was a student teacher way back when, it always helped me to have a lesson debrief after every lesson because it was also important to acknowledge what went well.

    I personally dont like to yell over students because they wont be listening to you. It just adds to the chaos. I prefer to wait for their attention. When you take over the class, you should treat it as if it was the start of the year, lay down your expectations of them and of their behaviour and have strategies in place for when students do the wrong thing.
     
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  4. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Comrade

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    Do you have suggestions for types of systems that work? I've tried the waiting strategy and the students just get louder, which is why I think my mentor talks loudly over kids a lot of the time. Do you have suggestions for strategies for when students do the wrong thing? Right now, my mentor gives warnings sometimes but they do the behavior again and nothing happens. Individual conferences don't work because if the teacher leaves the room, the rest of the class becomes chaotic. A lot of the yelling happens during direct instruction and I feel like I can't stop to conference with a student. Should I ask a student to wait in the hallway? I would be worried that they would leave. The other consequence is parent phone calls which we can also do, but my mentor does them every week and I am not sure how effective it is. There is also no one to send kids to if they do not behave so I'm not sure what a plan would look like. I feel like the class could implode at any point when I am teaching and it is stressful...

    We mainly have an issue with 5 boys. The rest of the class is mostly manageable with some side conversations and some issues but I feel like I can manage the class and set expectations for them. I just don't know what to do about the boys who are so so disruptive. They are usually great when you work with them one on one but in a whole class environment they are so awful.
     
  5. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Aficionado

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    What grade is this, Ms. Holyoke?

    Please keep in mind that you're not supposed to be the expert right now. You're learning. There's going to be a ton of trial and error.

    Have you phoned home for the boys who are being disruptive?
     
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  6. LouiseB

    LouiseB Cohort

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    It is helpful to us if we know the grade of students. Waiting is a great technique but there needs to be consequences when not waiting. Depending on age, staying after school is a good one. That usually gets attention of students. Another is commenting on the good behavior of those that are waiting. Again, knowing the age makes a difference.
     
  7. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Comrade

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    8th grade Math

    My mentor has called the families of all of the boys who are being disruptive but I don't think it improves their behavior. She calls/texts them 1-2 times a week at this point.
     
  8. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Aficionado

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    Have they been referred to admin? There needs to be a consequence. Campus beautification, for example, if a great one! ;)
     
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  9. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Comrade

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    The problem is that the vice principal is on a stress leave and there is no one to replace her. The principal does not address behavioral issues and only handles budget issues. I'm really not sure but that is what my mentor said. Their english teacher sends them to the behavior reflection room. The behavior reflection room is basically an 8th grade class for kids with severe behavior/emotional needs. I'm not sure if I should ask if that can be a consequence?
     
  10. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    It is so very difficult when admin does not follow through on consequences. I agree that you should treat the start of your role as the beginning of the year. Be clear to the students that that is what you are doing. If it takes time out of instruction to achieve some of the behavior goals, so be it. Don't stress (haha, who wouldn't) and don't be hard on yourself. Consider it a learning experience, which is what it will be. You don't need to be an expert.
     
  11. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Comrade

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    Do you know what this would look like in terms of achieving behavior goals? Do you think I should introduce a hand signal to get attention? I'm trying to figure out what I would need to emphasize especially when I realize it is about 5-6 out of 25 students that are being disruptive. Some of the students don't do their work so I'm wondering if that is a behavioral expectation I need to set or something else.
     
  12. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Aficionado

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    Ridiculous! When I was out for 1 week due to an appendectomy a few years ago, the district office brought in a sub vice principal for me (it was a retired VP). She handled discipline during the week I was out.
     
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  13. rpan

    rpan Comrade

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    You can use a hand signal e.g. 3 loud claps indicates that you are ready to start the lesson and they should settle down.
    I follow the Essential Skills of Classroom Management (http://justforteachers.yolasite.com/resources/mark davidson.pdf) ethos because personally, i like a positive environment and this helps to build positive relationships with students, which is crucial in behaviour management. At middle school, they still want to please you, so you should give them that opportunity to.
     
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  14. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    I don't know as much about particular behavioral management programs as some of the others because I worked in a small school with small classes and our home-grown methods worked well.
    I would like to suggest an activity that worked well for review and teamwork with grades 5-9 math kiddos, though. Place kids in s mall groups of about 4. Give each group a card with 6 or so answers written across the top. On the bottom of the card, write fewer questions than answers. As each group finishes one question, one member goes to the board and writes their answer under their group name and next to the problem number. A different student must post the answer each time and the group must agree on the answer before posting. The group that finishes all questions correctly first is the winning group. I awarded a price. Check when all responses for a group are posted. If a question is answered incorrectly, erase it and give them another chance.
     
  15. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Comrade

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    That is why I feel like I don't know what to do. Maybe the Vice Principal will be back when I take over but I'm not sure how long her leave is. I feel like I'm at a loss because I think these kids need to be sent to the office because they are such a disruption to the class. My mentor hasn't done many routines or procedures with them either (ex. how to enter the classroom) . Their only routine is the Do Now and showing their whiteboards during classwork. But they enter the classroom yelling and feel like they can talk/yell while the teacher is. I really wish she made them redo something if they did not do it correctly.Once they have a warning or discussion with the teacher, I think that they need to be sent out of the room. I really don't know what else I can do at this point because my mentor ignores so much of the behavior. I also don't think I can make it through student teaching with this behavior.

    Another challenge I have is with students who pretend that you don't exist when you try to talk to them. So if a student is yelling while my mentor is teaching, I will try to walk over to them and redirect the behavior. But for a few kids, they literally pretend you are not there and continue the behavior. I usually just stay there and stare at them and they eventually stop after a longggg time but they will repeat the behavior again. Does anyone know how to handle this?

    Today, my mentor left me and an aide with a group and she took the five boys to another room to work. A lot of the kids (even the "good" ones) had their phones out and didn't listen when I asked them to put it away. Because there is no consequence system (and I don't want to take student phones) I wasn't sure what to do.
     
  16. AdamnJakesMommy

    AdamnJakesMommy Habitué

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    I absolutely LOVE teaching middle school. In the five years I've been teaching, I have found that the best method of behavior management is having the classroom set up in a way where I, personally, have very few behavioral issues to contend with. It's amazing when the kids actually police themselves.

    The most effective way, I have found, is a healthy, group competition. My classroom is divided into three teams: blue, pink, and green. Each team has three tables of 2-3 students in it, so on average a team has about 7-9 kids in it. Groups earn points for all sorts of things: homework, attendance, attentiveness, following through with directions immediately, participation, etc. . Groups lose points for talking to members of another group, being off-task, being out of their seats, not being prepared, not cleaning up after themselves, etc.. The kids get so into it, they will practically comply with what I ask immediately. All it takes is "Alright, let's close the netbooks...which group can get it done first," or "Time to pull out our composition books, let's see which group really has it together today,"etc. If someone doesn't have a pencil, they might raise their hand and ask for one and I say "Sure, but it's five points from your group if you borrow it from me," it's amazing how quickly they are equipped with a pencil without me moving an inch. Also amazing, is a simple glance in a group's direction and saying "there is a table in pink that is not being very respectful right now, I'm about to take away points," and *poof* just like magic, they stop talking. Why this strategy works: you rarely have to call out students individually (prevents arguing back/power struggles), quite a few kids (in my experience, at least 50-75%) will absolutely WANT to win and will police the others---nothing like peer "encouragement" to do the right thing (sit down, not talk, be prepared, etc.)--so even the kids who "couldn't care less" will feel the need to at least visibly comply (even if they aren't mentally) to avoid scrutiny from their peers. It also builds a sense of community and teamwork and encourages leadership skills---as those who take the game seriously will step up. I even have kids who will get out of my lunch line and bolt to my room to go push in a chair from their group because someone from another group raised their hand to tell me they saw so-and-so's chair pushed out.

    Of course, points are worthless without an incentive-based reward system. Every three or so weeks a game ends and a new one starts. You have to determine for your students what will make them WANT to win, and when they WANT to win, they will do most everything you ask. For my kids, the winning group gets a homework pass, a piece of candy, and fifteen minutes of free time on their computers, while everyone else does a binder check. These are things that generally my kids want, though, it may not work with yours. Perhaps 15 minutes of free time on their phones while everyone else has a binder check assignment? Outdoor time while the others stay with your mentor teacher?
     
  17. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    There isn’t an assistant at my site and the P doesn’t handle discipline either. It’s not her job. :confused:

    Office referrals are a joke and we aren’t allowed to do anything other than call parents.
     
  18. TrademarkTer

    TrademarkTer Comrade

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    I would collect those phones each class. My kids this year are fine without me doing that, but I've taught algebra 1 before, and made them put their phones in a caddy like this before every class:

    https://www.amazon.com/Misslo-Numbe...F8&qid=1512530541&sr=8-4&keywords=phone+caddy

    Each student gets a number so each number should be filled. Some teachers in my department put the calculators in there, and the procedure is that when students enter the room, they take the calculator from pocket, and put in their phone. When they leave class, they switch it back.
     
  19. viola_x_wittrockiana

    viola_x_wittrockiana Companion

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    When I student taught, the VP was absent for different reasons and my co-op stepped in instead of a sub or not having a discipline team leader. My co-op had her admin cert., so I spent a solid quarter of my internship with my co-op in the office and me with a sub. It was hard on me, but that school needed someone wearing the VP hat every day.

    OP, try to find out what motivates your miscreant kids. For my kids, socialization at lunch was important to them, so lunch detentions were an effective deterrent. Extra time doing interactive group activities worked as a reward. Giving up a duty-free lunch was worth it to reduce management nightmares.
     
  20. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Comrade

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    I worry about collecting phones because they could get stolen or break and I don't want that responsibility. During normal class, students are not on their phones except for one girl who is constantly texting and won't listen. However, when kids are split into small groups in different rooms, they feel like it is recess and they get their phones out! Part of it was that they were doing such an easy activity today...I think a 3rd grader could have done it. So they could easily be on their phones and finish the work.
     
  21. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Comrade

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    I would LOVE to do a classwide reward system for a fun activity. Right now they are getting minutes towards Free Time on Friday but they get minutes even when the behavior of the five boys is bad. I feel like if I turn their Friday free time into a game I would get pushback. The boys are on a behavior plan where they play basketball on Friday's if for good behavior. The problem is that this is not enforced. Students who are yellimg across the room several times per day get points because they do some work when a teacher is with them. I feel like we are setting such low expectations for these kids which frustrates me so much. I will ask my mentor if I can run lunch detention next semester. Part of the problem might be the lack of consequences for their behavior.
     

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