Discussion in 'General Education' started by Pi-R-Squared, Feb 4, 2019.
Feb 8, 2019
The support from my fellow teachers and the notes kids write to say thank you
My colleagues, my supportive admin, my students, my awesome salary, the fact that I get to teach the subject I love (math), and the school breaks and time off. ‘Tis the life.
Feb 10, 2019
Is something the whizkid probably won't ever get to say.
I do have supportive admin and faculty. Teaching at a very small rural school where most of the kids' futures aren't too bright reminds us teachers of how fortunate we are to have an impact in the lives of students. With that said however, I'm starting to get agitated and annoyed at the students who don't give a sh**. For example, my 1st period 11th grade Geometry class comes in late, don't have their books, or pencils, or paper, and just sit there.... I go through the lessons with sarcasm and disdain... It's like they don't care so why should I care...... I realize this isn't the healthiest way to teach these and I do have 2 of the 15 students who actually listen, take notes, etc..... I also believe administration and other faculty know about this group of students. The English teacher has the same problems...... Nevertheless, I try not to let it bother me and I just come to school, do my job, and wait for things to improve.
Feb 11, 2019
I dont know if this would work but at times with my elem. classes in PE I would have a "come to Jesus" meeting. Meaning I laid it out in black and white and called those out that deserved it. In your case I would point out that a few seem to care about this class. How those good at math usually make the most money in the game of life employment. And that I may not be able to make you care but I can help those that do care. So starting today those that wish to learn and will come to class prepared and engaged will sit near the front and the rest that are just here to vegetate can sit closer to the back and WILL NOT disrupt the class. I would even tell my P or supervisor what I was gonna do. I worked in a very small town rural setting too for 40 years. It worked for me.
100% relationships with students is what keeps me going. I probably wouldn't still be in it otherwise. I enjoy teaching the content but enjoy the students the most.
All my students are good kids. It’s just that most of them are stuck in generational poverty. The successful ones are those who can either escape and get into college, go straight to work, or enlist in the armed forces and make it ok. But for the rest? Hate to put the “poor white trash” label on them but those are the ones I am teaching. Parents, if they’re around, don’t or can’t help with academics. Those that I have 1st period? They don’t even show up until 2 or less minutes before bell. I end up seeing other students and saying hello to them besides the ones who should be here. What I really don’t want happening is letting this mindset affect my other classes. The 7th, 8th, and 9th graders? I hound them to death about doing well, studying, trying hard, and paying attention. Most of them try but they struggle at times. At least they’re attempting! 10th through 12th? It’s like talking to rocks.
Feb 12, 2019
I don't want to sound like I am blaming you -- and I understand because I have been through this, too (minus the "white" part). As educators, we have to be aware of our mindset and how it affects the subtle differences in how we treat our students or classes. I started teaching in the inner city and had almost all poor, minority students, and subconsciously, I had expectations of what these students would (or would not) be capable of. I struggled in my first years to overcome this mindset in myself. Once I became aware of my mindset and changed it to see the boundless potential in my students, things began to change for me as a teacher. I won't say everything suddenly became perfect, but it became easier to hold my students to high expectations and have them meet me there. Start with yourself and you just might be surprised at what becomes possible!
Feb 15, 2019 at 8:28 AM
When I first started teaching 6 years ago, I asked my senior math teacher colleague to observe a class that I had trouble with. After school, he said I can teach but I'd have to make seating changes to alter the dynamic of the classroom. He said that, in a classroom of 21 students, there will be 7 students who will always understand it no matter what I do, 7 students who will never get it no matter what I do, and 7 students right in the middle. Those 7 might or might not get it depending on the teacher and those they sit around with. Then he suggested that I sit the top 7 in the front, the middle 7 in the middle, and bottom 7 in the back. He also said if there are any "turds" in the class, sit them in the back because that's where turds come from. I have yet to implement that strategy because I believe all students can learn with help. But this year, his 7-7-7 or 8-8-8 theory might take hold in my larger sized classes. For instance, 7th grade has 24 students. The split in that class is around 5-11-8. The 8th grade with 25 is ever worse at 2-13-10. For a smaller sized 11th grade geometry with 15, it's 0-6-9. I'm starting to wonder if this is starting to affect my teaching abilities. My wife keeps reminding me that how I grew up and how my parents hounded me with school and academics is not the same with the students I teach. How it's an unfair advantage that I can help with children with trigonometry and logarithms but my students are not afforded that luxury. I wondering if I need to change my location or my attitude or even both!
Feb 17, 2019 at 3:06 PM
In forty years I came to this epiphany. The dynamics of a class (im so glad you used that word) can be fragile at times. I have seen one kid come into a class and it all goes to hell. And the flip side to that, also. In upper elem. if the leaders in the class are good kids the class is usually good. I have heard many many HS teachers lament the fact that too many kids now just dont GAS.........I always ALWAYS felt blessed teaching Elem. PE because my class was a desired destination but I worked hard at making it that way for as many as I could. When I taught I almost always had a passion for what I was teaching. Math, reading, tech skills, games, sport skills. I wanted the kid to feel it was important and could be rewarding (like it was for me). Even so you had those with attitudes that were like granite and hard to overcome. That was the time to throw life lines to the motivated and tell the quitters to sink or swim. Make it crystal clear they were making the decisions to fail and were going to be held responsible for their actions. One other thing I believed strongly and even have heard it recently from others that share our occupation. IF the kids know you care, really care and are not bllshtting them and you will listen to them when you can without too much judgement you can get some of those to buy in and give you good effort. I will say it is the hardest job in the world and can be the most rewarding........
Feb 17, 2019 at 3:59 PM
Here’s a good example of what’s going on. The ACT test will be given to Juniors on the 20th. We’re supposed to “blitz” them in English, Math, and Science. So I had them take a practice section of math. They ALL finished in 5 minutes or less because they just randomly circled answers. The most common comment? “Well, I’m not going to college anyway so I don’t care about this.” Well, bully for them that they can just mess around with this and not take it seriously
BUT our school systems are report-card graded and one criterion is how the juniors do on the ACT. Last year, we were lucky because more than half of the students were planning on college. This year’s crop of juniors the majority are not college-bound and majorly don’t give a dang. I’m sure my admin will say to try my best but when the next report card comes out and the school drops a grade letter, who’s gonna get blamed?
Feb 17, 2019 at 5:05 PM
I know I would not be as effective in an environment like that as I am in my current school. I recently had a student teacher observe two of my CP [regular] classes, after he had observed in 2 other schools. He remarked that my CP students behaved themselves and engaged themselves like the honors/AP students he observed in the other schools, and he was surprised by the effort they put in.I try to be the best teacher that I can be, but I don't think what he observed has a ton to do with me in particular. I know a lot of it has to do with being in an affluent town with supportive familities and the like. For me, it's definitely the right environment. If you just feel like you are going through the motions with your students, it might be a good time for you to find a change of setting. The only downside I observe is that I think most of my students would be successful with just about any teacher, so long as he or she knew the content well enough. It takes a more special type of person to work in your environment.
Feb 17, 2019 at 7:02 PM
I gotcha. Our school grades in Fla. are tied to all kinds of things we do. When we see a young kid just Christmas tree a test it kills us. But what really drives me insane and has for years is our ESE kids are required to take the same tests and as the regular kids. I watched one great kid struggle every year and try as hard as he could. I remember the year he finally just gave up. What sort of moron decides kids that have no chance should HAVE to take the same test as kids on level for their grade? Now if its me in front of your unmotivated juniors who are not trying? My speech is exactly what you told me. That OUR school is graded and your lack of effort will cause us damage and bad press. I would also point out that many kids after HS realize they do need to go to college or some sort of classes to make more money so this could help them years down the line. I would appeal to pride, economics , whatever I could to inspire or motivate them Hell I might even have a little classroom prize for whover showed the most improvement or something of that nature. I was never above bribery to get kids moving the direction I wanted them going. I have offered fishing trips to kids over learning mult. tables for years...........rural kids like to fish.
Feb 18, 2019 at 6:30 PM
I’m envious of you because even though I work in an “affluent” area, the wealthier students tend to misbehave (though, the vast majority are not too bad) because they are used to getting what they want at home. And it really doesn’t help when I have a class of 36 students and 5-7 like to make innapropriate comments or obscene gestures to each other and myself. That’s why I love my prep periods and certain periods over others.
Feb 18, 2019 at 6:36 PM
My chilled wine waiting for me back home.
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