New teacher struggling with behavior management..Advice?

Discussion in 'Middle School / Junior High' started by LMichele, Apr 6, 2012.

  1. LMichele

    LMichele Cohort

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    Apr 6, 2012

    I just started a new job about a month and a half ago. I'm doing small group pull-outs for reading intervention. I have two groups at each grade..6th, 7th, and 8th. Of the six groups, 5 are wonderful.

    The 6th group is 5 7th graders, which I see three times a week. One time a week I see them with 2 other 7th graders. This group is just relentless. I feel as if I can get nothing done because I have to stop every 2 minutes to get them to stop throwing things, touching each other's stuff, touching each other, making inappropriate comments, etc. They've started attacking me now, commenting on how they hate me, I'm not smart enough to be a teacher, I didn't go to a good college, etc. It is just NON STOP for the entire 48 minute period.

    I started putting post-it notes in their folders and commenting on positive behaviors. This worked with one student, who has been good since. It didn't work with the others. I can't give detention because we only have it once a week, so if you get it twice in a week you just go the next week, and so on. These kids are already sitting in on Fridays for pretty much the end of the school year for other reasons, so they know I can't give them detention.

    Is it OK to go to my director with this? Since it is a new program she is always curious as to how it is working. This group just does NOT work well. I can't change the times I see them and break the group up since I take them from Spanish class. They just don't work well together, and I don't want to be unproductive for the remainder of the school year. I can't get anything done with them, though.
     
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  3. ciounoi

    ciounoi Cohort

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    Apr 6, 2012

    What kinds of consequences do you have?

    Can you change up the seating arrangement? We do that all the time in our room... some kids just can't get along.

    How do you respond to negative comments? I use a LOT of dry humor in my class, and a lot of it is directed towards myself. For example: I have a deeper voice than most, so I'll often direct the kids to listen closely for my beautiful voice - it cracks them up and usually brings them back to task. However, some of them go overboard and become unkind about it. I usually respond by telling them that we've all laughed about it and it's time to move on. For repeat offenders, I'll talk to them later about how it's important that they keep the joking appropriate and follow my lead. This is what's worked fairly well for me - it might help when students make inappropriate comments about you.

    One more suggestion I might make. Middle schoolers are all about their relationships with other middle schoolers. We've also had this issue in our room where kids have issues with each other and they haven't developed/don't use appropriate social skills to deal with conflict in a healthy way. It might help to devote some time to talking about the issues that the students are having with each other and involving them. Maybe even ask your guidance counselor to lead/give suggestions.
     
  4. LMichele

    LMichele Cohort

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    Apr 6, 2012

    I've tried to change the seating arrangement, but it is hard. I have 3 desks, and two small tables set up like a "t". I've assigned them seats, but it's such a small room that it really doesn't matter.

    It's also a struggle to set up consequences. The kids have picked up on the fact that my program is for remediation and not a grade,so they feel as though they can act however they want and it won't matter.
     
  5. TXteacher7822

    TXteacher7822 Rookie

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    Apr 6, 2012

    I'm a new teacher, so I don't have all the experience that many people on here do. If you aren't allowed to give detentions and the class isn't for a grade, I would probably do what you said and go to the director or the principal. If I was in your situation, I would just tell them the circumstances and ask them for tips on how to go about disciplining this particular class.
     
  6. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Apr 6, 2012

    I don't think it is a bad idea to talk with your director, but I would definitely have what I've tried written down to show and a plan for what I want to try. This way your director knows that you are trying and just need a little assistance.

    Can you basically take everything away from them? This will limit what they can throw.

    Find articles that will interest them. Are they interested in cars? Maybe copy articles from a car magazine. Do they love technology? Find some high tech novels or articles. This might motivate them to want to read and work on the skills.
     
  7. Peachyness

    Peachyness Virtuoso

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    Apr 6, 2012

    One thing I would do is sit down with them and talk to them about why they are here. I've worked long enough to know that if you have a "trouble maker", when you get them alone, they generally are actually quite smart/nice/sweet/shy/awkward/etc. They just act out because they aren't getting the subject. So, maybe these group of kids are used to acting up, showing off, etc because they are struggling.

    So, I would start off by just talking to them. About their goals, how things are going, and I would work on making a connection with them.

    I was the math resource teacher and in the beginning, I had one group of 6th graders who were like that too. They got, though, that if they worked hard enough with them, that they'll get it and catch up with their classmates. No need to goof off with me. We're in this together.
     
  8. roxstar

    roxstar Companion

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    Apr 6, 2012

    positive positive positive

    I think you need a positive incentive system...something positive for them to work towards since this is a remedial program, they KNOW it, and they don't have grades to motivate them (which that rarely motivates challenging students.) Make them want to show up with interesting academic choices like the ones suggested by mopar and then come up with a way for them to earn points or something for appropriate behavior. Treat it like a large classroom. Teach them how you want them to behave, model it for them, practice it and reward them for it.

    I'm a 2nd year teacher so I am not exactly a wise old sage, but I will tell you that this has been working for me in classrooms where I have had similar problems with select students. The only thing that has worked is to kill them with positive consequences. You can even ask them what kind of reward would motivate them if you think they would take it seriously.

    Hope that helps
     
  9. PowerTeacher

    PowerTeacher Comrade

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    Apr 7, 2012

    Look into Whole Brain Teaching. It will provide you with the classroom management and discipline system you seek, all for free grasshopper!
     

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