Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by Kenz501, Dec 2, 2017.
Dec 5, 2017
Teaching is hard. And no teacher is the "perfect teacher" even often after decades of experience. You're not going to be Ron Clark out of the gate. Or you may never be Ron Clark. It may not even be a good idea to be Ron Clark as that may not be your personality and your kids may not respond to it well.
You have to learn to crawl before you can walk, and you're going to have to accept that your lessons will be under your standards for a while until you get the hang of things. Teaching is a messy, unstructured, and a very autonomous job. Some people find freedom in that. If you don't you may want to seek a different job, though most jobs require employees to have some level of self-reliance. As others said, there are resources online. Not just curriculum, but if that's where you feel weak, there is tons out there, but also videos of good teachers doing good jobs that you can emulate. There are good books on classroom management and teaching methods and current research based teaching practices for different subjects and particular student sub-groups. You have to show some resourcefulness to research, adapt and make things work for you, even when you're not the most experienced or experiencing adversity, especially to model these characteristics for your students. Good luck.
Get over the fact that you didn't learn what you needed to learn. None of us did. If you're unhappy about a lack of structure, create your own structure.
Didn’t your teaching credential program teach you how to write lesson plans? And didn’t you have to submit lesson plans when you student taught in your subject area? I’m confused.
And on an off day I'd say even Ron Clark isn't Ron Clark.
It is not reasonable for even Ron Clark to be the public image of Ron Clark every day. Not everyday in a classroom can be standing on tables singing and dancing teaching, scaffolding, and practice has to happen at some point. Every teacher has great days and not so great days.
It's not writing them; it's teaching them without it being scaffolded. It's knowing how to accommodate students who can't use regular instruction but have to have it modified in some way. It's also knowing how to handle the kid or kids who decide that they are bored and use your classroom as a stage to perform for their peers. It's one thing to have solutions written on a piece of paper and actually having to use all of that to teach a lesson.
Student teaching taught me very little about classroom management. There's a lot I don't really know, like when it is appropriate to call parents and assign detentions vs. just talking to the student and trying to figure out the real problem? When is a student making an excuse or making fun of you vs. just asking a question because he / she genuinely doesn't know? How can I get the student, his / her parents, my coworkers, and my principal on my side? How can I prove that I'm a competent professional willing to learn this job? The approach I originally learned in teacher education was to try to make class an entertaining show; in the real world, though, it doesn't always work. There will be complainers, people who are bored, for what ever reason, and people who apparently derive joy from derailing instruction, regardless of how much thought you put into it to make it fun.
Yes, I do feel like one thing feeds into another. If the kid is bored and feels like he / she is not being challenged enough, there will probably be behavior problems. That's why I hate that my lessons are so bland; I feel like they are directly causing the poor student behavior I've had to deal with.
The experienced teacher and my principal had a different take on the whole thing, though. I hope I'm not as bad as I think I am. I have an evaluation tomorrow, and I want to knock it out of the park, but I have not been batting a thousand with the kids. They brag about the more experienced teacher, though.
After teaching for 5 years, I was still asking myself a lot of these questions. You have to be comfortable that you will not always have the exact right answer and that the answer may change depending on the situation. Sometimes you'll get it wrong, but that's okay and you learn from your mistakes, and you make less mistakes the next time around.
Whoever taught you this was doing you a terrible disservice. Education is not supposed to be an entertaining show. Small doses of engagement can be fine, but you're an educator. Not an entertainer. You have to be willing to teach lessons that will bore kids and be a strict disciplinarian when your rules are broken.
Welcome to teaching children. Some lovely kiddos make it their hobby to figure out what you spent your own money and hours of your own free time lovingly preparing and crafting for them, and then do all they can to take a great big steaming poo on it in front of you and everybody in the class. The trick is to expect that some will try to do that, and learn to not care. They're likely lashing out for some other reason anyway. Learn to shrug things off, laugh them off, and still make them do it anyway. (and if they were being disrespectful, pull them aside for a warning or consequence) Again, you're here to educate, not entertain. The students aren't your audience at a comedy show where you can be booed off stage. You own the stage, and you get rid of the members of the audience when you need to. Within reason, you have to not give a fig if they're bored or not entertained by your lesson. You should be most concerned with preparing them for the future, and a lot of the future includes being able to behave well in boring situations where you're expected to exist for hours without any form of entertainment.
While there is always the possibility that a boring lesson might contribute to poor behavior, don't beat yourself up about it. You'll get there with practice. I believe the full moon contributes to poor behavior, but there's not much I can do about it. I do what I can and do my job and move on. Also don't use that as an excuse for their behavior. It's THEIR responsibility to behave well in the classroom regardless of how entertaining you are, and it is YOUR responsibility to hold them accountable for kind, respectful, and acceptable behavior in the classroom. If they are not bringing that, you start with a chat with them. If it continues after the chat, then you call home. That's it. One discussion with a warning. Then follow through with consequences.
Hi. I've been reading with interest your posts on this thread. Can I be perfectly honest? You sound as though you are in a personal struggle, not a professional one. You sound to me, and it is just an opinion, like you may tend toward depression.. If you were my family member, I'd be dragging you to see someone.
As to the professional aspect, you may be a little idealistic about the feelings of being a teacher. Students do not always love your lessons. Students don't always come and share their deep feelings and thoughts and aspirations. From your posts, and I could be wrong here, I hear you saying that you are looking for a connection with your students and your feelings of non-success stem in large part from this lack of connection. You are teaching. If you teach, but don't have a great relationship with each child, you have done your job. Yes, it's nice to be able to make personal connections, but it is not a hallmark of success. It's just a thought, but perhaps if you focused on teaching what you know, using the curriculum you have, as well as things you can obtain from the internet, you will be on your way to better teaching. I wish you well.
Dec 6, 2017
Yeah. In my mind, I'm competing for attention with video games, cell phones, and other awesome pieces of technology that keep people glued. I think I could still be as entertaining as the latest computer game, but could I do that while teaching? I don't think so, not now anyway, because I want the students to learn. Right now, I'm concentrating on putting out fires. It does hurt when the kids say that they are bored. I was taught in teacher education that I need to work to promote engagement of the "digital native," but that's not the area I need to work on the most.
My weakest area is classroom management. Almost all of the professional development I've gone to has been about engaging the kid, strategies for helping improve reading, strategies for supporting language learners, but I feel overwhelmed when I have to deal with behavior problems on top of all of that. It makes me feel like I do not know how to do my job, and I start to look for "curriculum in a box" with lesson plans already written. I don't know why a kid acting up in class makes me feel like I'm a horrible teacher, but it really does play with my mind.
I should have done my research before I went into teaching. My original goal was to become an entertainer, but I was told over and over again that I could not make money off of, say, a drama or creative writing degree, so I took their advice and also majored in Education so that I would have something to fall back on if the career as an aspiring artist didn't pan out. I put a lot of energy into my job as a teacher, and, well, needless to say, I've been disappointed with the returns. I would rather be a comedian bombing on stage than putting up with a bunch of kids who say things are terrible when they really aren't.
I don't think I'm the first person to make this mistake. A lot of people with degrees in drama, creative writing, journalism, etc. become English teachers. It's amazing what we end up having to put up with, though. I guess there are worse chew-them-up-and-spit-them-out professions than teaching, but the amount of blame and toxicity that can be found in an environment that is supposed to be engaging and nourishing is surprising. I'm happy I'm at least away from all of that and being given a fair chance, but the disapproval from the kids is discouraging.
All of it makes me wonder what my real skill set is. I was sold the dream, and maybe the lie, that I could be anything I wanted to be with the proper training. The university took my money and made me take all of these courses. I substitute taught and put up with behavior problems; I thought I was learning something, but after working in the real world for a few years, I wonder how much of what I was sold was true.
I do have my own issues to work through. Wanting to be liked is one of my biggest weaknesses.
TPT is hit or miss. Some of the best resources I've found are free or very low cost. Do you have any specific products you would recommend?
For classroom management, buy Dr. Wong’s video series. They are amazing!
For scaffolding, just write regular lesson plans and when you have the students do collaborative group work you can provide differentiated instruction to meet the struggling student’s needs. You provide accommodations such as preferential seating to limit distractions, you regularly check in with those students to see if they understand the directions, you provide a truncated problem set, you provide summaries of the notes or printed notes with fill-in-the-blanks, allow the students to use a 3x5 index card on the quizzes and tests, etc. These are just some of the many things you can do!
What is a specific skill, standard, or text you are getting ready to teach? Don’t restrict your search by grade level, I sometimes use some lower grade level materials to introduce skills like inferencing/ drawing conclusions. For these skills there are tons of mystery units on tpt I introduce them to the idea and we practice with lower grade level mysteries and build up as the year progresses. There are a lot of seasonal ones so they can be used all through out the year. These lessons are fun for the kids and build inferencing and logic skills as well as team work and communication skills.
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