Worst day yet. Need advice!!

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by miss.ela, Nov 23, 2015.

  1. miss.ela

    miss.ela New Member

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    Nov 23, 2015

    I'm currently pre-student teaching and started a novel unit about 3 weeks ago. Despite the usual problems a lot student teachers run into, including myself, I thought my unit was going well. This was even after I had a whole other unit well planned out and ultimately denied after being strung along for 3 weeks by the admin and then having to scrape this current unit together in about a week.

    This past week has been disastrous and the students won't listen. This is a 9th grade ELA classroom. The students were all over the room today. They started their journal entries late, were rude to peers during presentations, and I discovered during the group reading questions that most students did not read over the weekend. Students were distracting their peers, not helping within groups, and some were wandering around the room! Despite my best efforts, my co-op had to send everyone back to their seats today and ended my activity. I was completely embarrassed.

    This past week I've felt that I'm struggling with classroom management and it's not just because of the upcoming holiday. The students have been unruly since last week, but I've been able to reel them back in every day but today. The worst part is that I only have 45 minutes to teach this class and every minute counts. I felt my time was sucked up disciplining this week instead of teaching.

    I sat down with my co-op after this fiasco and we agreed that what was working before isn't working now. They said that I need to seriously revamp all my upcoming lessons because they're structured similarly to how things were supposed to go today. My co-op expressed concerns that the students aren't reading and that they fear the students are no longer grasping the material. I drove home in tears after the whole thing and I'm seriously at a loss right now.

    I could really use some advice on classroom management skills or structuring lessons for a short class period.
     
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  3. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Nov 23, 2015

    Would they be motivated to read if you gave them a quiz every day about the reading? Let's say 8-10 questions as a warm up, but it would be a quiz. Announce it so they know, and then if they don't want their grades to suffer they would read the required pages every day. Make sure what's required of them isn't excessive as they have other classes with homework.

    If you have issues with classroom management right now, I wouldn't do any presentations or group work. I would do direct instruction and individual work only.
    I actually love teaching novels, we read in class and they're always so nice and quiet :)
     
  4. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Nov 24, 2015

    Hi miss.ela. Let me start by saying that classroom management struggles at this point in your career are completely normal. Nearly nobody walks into a classroom for the first time and can control a class right off the bat. It takes years of hard work, study, and reflection to develop a strong classroom management presence.

    I can recommend some resources that have helped me and other teachers out.

    Tools for Teaching by Fred Jones provides good information on how to react in tough classroom management situations.

    First Days of School by Harry Wong teaches about the importance of Classroom Procedures and Routines.

    My personal guru is Michael Linsin of the website smartclassroommanagement.com (which is free!). I like reading his articles to reflect about some of my practice, and he goes into a lot of things which may seem intuitive to teachers who have been doing it for a while or who may have grasped certain things intuitively, but is not quite as easy to grasp for teachers who have never thought about certain things in certain ways or haven't had the years of experience.
     
  5. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    Nov 24, 2015

    Do the kids read at home for your CT?
     
  6. miss.ela

    miss.ela New Member

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    Nov 24, 2015

    Thanks for all the advice.

    I have tried quizzes in the past, but I ended up scrapping them after students still weren't reading. It became a waste of time making them up. I've also since stopped major group work and presentations. While I felt they worked well for the most part, common problems started coming up.

    I actually checked out Wong today from the college library. I'll definitely be reading it thoroughly over break because I've heard nothing but positive things.

    My mentor does not require reading outside of class for their academic classes. Originally when I planned my first unit I had the students reading more at home each night. My mentor just laughed and said, "I appreciate you being ambitious, but very few of them will read outside of class. Be prepared for when they don't." They were of course right, but I think the expectations to read/do work outside of class haven't been there for a long time, probably stemming back to middle school. Other ELA teachers in the same school I have met also don't assign reading for homework or much homework at all. It surprised me at first because this wasn't my high school experience.

    My students were actually well behaved today. I read the pages that they were supposed to read over the weekend, I gave them less time than I did yesterday to fix their reading questions to avoid the distractions, and we had a nice discussion with the class. I was expecting doom since this was the last day before break. I'm going to further study classroom management over break and come back next week hopefully stronger.
     
  7. mrbooknampa

    mrbooknampa Rookie

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    Nov 30, 2015

    Wow, so much to handle. It sounds like you're way ahead of where I was when I was doomed day after day for at least my first year. It seems like assumptions of new teachers are horrendously idealistic. Students need to know from each teacher that high expectations and high interaction levels will saturate the room. In other words, performance and relationship can co-exist. Sometimes, after giving directions or reminders to do something obvious like be quiet, I am waiting to extinguish the very next diversion. That has helped me command the room. This small approach has saved the countless future rebellion or just simply lack of concern for expectations and formalities. If bad routines have become normal, communication is vital to inform the students that my expectations have not been met and that I wish for more order/engagement/respect and these are my steps to make that happen. Most importantly, good luck and know that it takes time to develop the practical things that make teaching enjoyable.
     
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