Toughest Group I've Ever Had

Discussion in 'General Education' started by kellzy, May 17, 2017.

  1. kellzy

    kellzy Companion

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    May 17, 2017

    In my seven years of teaching I've never encountered a group with so many problems. They're as low academically as humanly possible, they are so many mental health issues, there are more behavior issues than I've ever seen before, and there's so many of them (I've been at 33 for most of the year).
    I've been saying all year that there will be no love lost at the end of the year when I say goodbye. Now that there are only 7 days left, that's totally different. As hard of a year as I've had, I've never been this attached to a group of kids. I adore every one of them and don't want to let them go.
    No question or problem here, just wanted to share this thought with people who would understand.
     
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  3. Backroads

    Backroads Enthusiast

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    May 17, 2017

    I'm sorry! These classes happen.
     
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  4. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    May 17, 2017

    In a way these kids need you the most, and you will love it the most when they show any improvement, even though otherwise you hate every day.
    This is the basis of my love of teaching at-risk youth.
     
  5. ms.irene

    ms.irene Groupie

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    May 17, 2017

    Sometimes the toughest ones are the ones you love the most. I feel a little like this about some of my seniors. They can be a wild bunch, but now that I know them and what they've been through, I give them credit for coming as far as they have.

    That said, I will be so ready for a break this summer! :p
     
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  6. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Fanatic

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    May 17, 2017

    I had a similar class three years ago. I didn't think I would be sad to see them go, but at the end of the day they are still 'your kids'. You invest so much into a class like this - they need so much from you - and they will always have a special place in your heart.

    On the last day of school with my tough group, I went home and napped from 6:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m. and then went back to bed at 10:00 p.m. and slept a solid 12 hours. They wore. me. out. I think I slept the entire first week of summer break. I could handle one errand/job a day and then I had to lie down. Make sure you take some much needed recovery time!!
     
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  7. Luv2TeachInTX

    Luv2TeachInTX Comrade

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    May 17, 2017

    I'm going through the exact same thing. This year has worn me out! I had an emotionally disturbed student most of the year that would have daily meltdowns and would destroy the classroom. I had two students removed from their homes by CPS. One for neglect and the other for abuse. One severely AU student in the wrong placement that has been hitting and biting students.

    Not to mention the five others with behavior problems that came to me with ZERO social skills or ability to get along with others. Constant arguing, fighting, and drama. I can't wait for summer! Despite all this, they have come a LONG way and I will really miss all of them. I must be a weirdo, lol.
     
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  8. GPC0321

    GPC0321 Companion

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    May 17, 2017

    Aww...that's awesome that you feel that way about them. Some of my favorite students have been "problem kids" too. Other teachers loathe them, and I have a soft spot for them.

    Unfortunately, my tough group this year I will NOT be sad to see go. They are a different breed of "bad" though. Privileged, coddled, spoiled rotten honors students who don't think they have to listen to anyone and want to do as little work as humanly possible while still getting top grades. Ugh. Buh-bye. Give me a classroom full of "bad kids" any day over this crew.
     
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  9. MrTempest

    MrTempest Companion

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    May 18, 2017

    In the early 1990s my grandparents both retired as educators. They mentioned how every year that the kids got worse and worse. Later when I pursued a career in education they urged me to reconsider. I myself have been in the classroom in one way or another since 2005 now I agree with everything they say. Though I do love teaching for times I make what I call “small victories” I do see a trend that every year the student population get worse. Instead of addressing this concern policy makers seem to be enabling this digression by taking away the tools essential to run an effective classroom. I sometimes believe things get worse before they get better but I do not foresee this changing anytime soon.
     
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  10. ms.irene

    ms.irene Groupie

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    May 18, 2017

    I wonder though, are they really "worse" every year, or are they just more and more different than the way we were in school, or even at the start of our careers? The world is a different place now than it was in 2005. I started teaching in 2007 when the first smartphones were still a rarity. Now, they are the rule. Most of our students have had smart devices in their hands since they were babies. Their brains are literally hardwired differently than ours, those of us who grew up in the dark ages, before personal devices were the norm. I think in this career, we have to be willing to be flexible and to try to keep our students' realities in mind. What doesn't bend, breaks...

    Now all that being said, I do think there are groups who come through every now and then who just have a difficult group dynamic. My seniors have that reputation as a class. I had to get to know and understand them. They have been marked by great early successes as well as some horrible tragedies. Once I understood them, it became easier to relate and to connect to them. But next year's group has a totally different dynamic, so I don't think it's necessarily an annual trend of worse and worse.
     
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  11. MrTempest

    MrTempest Companion

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    May 18, 2017

    There are a few factors I believe are contributing to poorer behaving students. First, the tendency to fail students forward to spare their feelings even when they lack the appropriate skills. This fosters a tendency to believe that they are entitled to a passing grade regardless of how good or bad they do. Second, this current trend to poorly implement positive behavior supports which in many cases schools have abandoned traditional forms of discipline in lieu of, “this week you just won’t earn as many special points little Johnny.” And third, and this goes for my area and perhaps not others, is a push to address high dropout rates. In order to keep kids in the class room we are increasingly forced to deal with behaviors previously deemed unacceptable for the classroom. Not only does this compromise the learning environment it sends the wrong message to others that such behavior will be tolerated and therefore it is okay for everyone to act like a fool.
     
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  12. Backroads

    Backroads Enthusiast

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    May 18, 2017

    I think we have a myriad of goo ideas (and not so good ideas) being poorly implemented. We want inclusion (something I support in general) and lower drop-out rates (another fine goal) and awareness and strategies for the host of atypical behavioral situations (well, of course) and I think this leads to some teachers and even schools and school districts taking some very bad short cuts. I'd also say our straying from the village mentality means a greater barrier between families and teachers (despite boasts of the opposite) where there is a discipline discrepancy.

    I too hate the "special points" and I do not use a chart system or reward box in my classroom because, darn it, I'm just asking for some basic good behavior.

    That, of course, is on the behavior side.

    But inclusion, differentiation, and all of that adds more sets of challenges and a learning curve most teachers haven't quite mastered.
     
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  13. AmyMyNamey

    AmyMyNamey Comrade

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    May 18, 2017

    No, they are worse.

    We've had a HUGE uptick in the number of emotionally disturbed kids we normally see, something like a ten-fold increase. In one year.

    And more kids who should be in self-contained classrooms are being dumped into regular classes where they can't measure up or control themselves. Around here, it is common to have a class wherein fully half or more of the children have significant mental deficits.

    This is what happens when the local economy tanks, the largest employers leave, and property values crash: a massive influx of poverty, crime, abuse and neglect.
     
  14. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Fanatic

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    May 18, 2017

    During my very tough year that I mentioned earlier in this thread, I cried in the principal's office more than once, simply due to stress. At on point I said to my principal, "I can't do this for another 30 years. I don't know how you have done it for so long." To which she replied, "I haven't done THIS for 30 years, a lot has changed since I started teaching."

    Things have changed in the last few decades, and other things haven't. Out of my 6 years in the classroom, that was by far the most challenging one. The other 5 years were typical - kids are kids, but it was nothing dreadful. I really enjoyed it!
     
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  15. AmyMyNamey

    AmyMyNamey Comrade

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    May 19, 2017

    I'd like to know what state you're in. You described what we saw in Indiana. THIS year was far worse. We've always had bad kids. We've always had troubled kids. THIS year was the worst I've ever seen.
     
  16. GPC0321

    GPC0321 Companion

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    May 19, 2017

    I would argue that the teachers who stick in the job for 30 years also change over that time. As we get older and more set in our ways, we tend to be less tolerant, have less energy, and might be less forgiving than we were as younger, fresher, more energetic teachers. I'm not saying that kids aren't the bulk of the equation, but we cannot discount our own evolution as career educators either.

    I've been teaching for 15 and a half years, and the group I had in the 2015-2016 school year was one of the best I've ever had. The group I have now...not so much. But I don't think the kids as a whole have gotten worse. I think today's kids offer up a new set of challenges that kids 15-20 years ago didn't pose for us, but even when I was in high school (graduated 25 years ago), we had bad kids. Heck, I was a "good kid" and I skipped school with friends and toilet papered a teacher's house. Me. An honor student who was always polite and well-behaved in class. I was a dumb kid. I did dumb things. All kids do. It's just that as we get older and wiser, we sometimes forget just how stupid we used to be, LOL.
     
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