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Old 01-30-2013, 05:14 AM
Elvira Elvira is offline
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Behavior Management in inner city

Hello everyone I am studying to be a teacher but haven't had any placements. I will probably get placed for student teaching in an inner city high school (I teach Spanish) and I am really scared. I don't know how to deal with behavior management; my school never really talked about it much, unfortunately.

I come from a rural school where the kids, in retrospect, were pretty well behaved. My friends from the inner-city say that there were fights literally ever day (We hardly had fights at my old high school). One teacher had to go to the hospital because some student threw a book at her.

What groundwork do I need to set so that students don't misbehave from the start? What kind of rules do I have to have in place? What should I do and not do in terms of my demeanor with them? I've seen some Spanish teachers used cues like *ojos aquí* (eyes here) when students aren't focused. Are verbal cues effective? I have also seen teachers call on students that are not focused to try to 'bring them back'. Proximity control seems useful too.

Just, what happens if I can't get students to stop talking? What if a student outright disrespects me or makes a snarky comment? I've read that in a lot of the inner city schools, the principal's office is so overflooded with behavioral concerns that misbehaving kids just get send back to the classroom. What do I do when a student refuses to participate?

Sorry for the slew of questions, but I just don't feel very prepared. Any advice would be greatly appreciated! i really want to teach Spanish and don't want to spend more time managing behavior than teaching!

EDIT: My old Spanish teacher said that the key to behavior management is to 'not give them time to misbehave'. Is this true?

Also, I am a bit apprehensive because I would love to do interactive and group activites with the kids. However, I'm afraid of these spiraling out of control quickly!
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  #2  
Old 01-30-2013, 05:46 AM
irishman178 irishman178 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Elvira View Post
Hello everyone I am studying to be a teacher but haven't had any placements. I will probably get placed for student teaching in an inner city high school (I teach Spanish) and I am really scared. I don't know how to deal with behavior management; my school never really talked about it much, unfortunately.

I come from a rural school where the kids, in retrospect, were pretty well behaved. My friends from the inner-city say that there were fights literally ever day (We hardly had fights at my old high school). One teacher had to go to the hospital because some student threw a book at her.

What groundwork do I need to set so that students don't misbehave from the start? What kind of rules do I have to have in place? What should I do and not do in terms of my demeanor with them? I've seen some Spanish teachers used cues like *ojos aquí* (eyes here) when students aren't focused. Are verbal cues effective? I have also seen teachers call on students that are not focused to try to 'bring them back'. Proximity control seems useful too.

Just, what happens if I can't get students to stop talking? What if a student outright disrespects me or makes a snarky comment? I've read that in a lot of the inner city schools, the principal's office is so overflooded with behavioral concerns that misbehaving kids just get send back to the classroom. What do I do when a student refuses to participate?

Sorry for the slew of questions, but I just don't feel very prepared. Any advice would be greatly appreciated! i really want to teach Spanish and don't want to spend more time managing behavior than teaching!

EDIT: My old Spanish teacher said that the key to behavior management is to 'not give them time to misbehave'. Is this true?

Also, I am a bit apprehensive because I would love to do interactive and group activites with the kids. However, I'm afraid of these spiraling out of control quickly!

I don't know how helpful I am because I am just a student teacher, but I have had a few field experiences in inner city schools that were deemed one of the worst in the state, so I'll give you what I found out.

From what I saw, the kids are never as bad as advertized. There will be issues, but in my two observations there was never a fight or major conflict, and I think there was only 1 when I wasn't there during my placement. I saw a study that while it is slightly higher in inner city schools, its more the size leads to more reporting than anything. My one teacher was great because she had English language learners and was great at adapting lessons towards their learning levels while also covering the material. I believe the key, from my limited experience, is to keep them engaged and relate to them in anyway possible. Also, if there is an issue do your best to keep it in the room. Usually theres a student or two that wants the attention of being the troublemaker, but if you can keep them in the room and talk with them, the behavior can be stopped. Also, treat them with respect, a lot of the time, these students do receive a lot of attention or respect outside of school, so doing that can help you build a better report.

I hope thats a start, maybe a more seasoned teacher can give you better detail
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  #3  
Old 01-30-2013, 05:50 AM
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Accountable Accountable is offline
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9th Grade World Geography
Your old Spanish teacher is wise. Students are far more compliant at the beginning of school, and they crave routine. If you don't give them the routine you want them to adopt, they will create the one they want, and you can bet their routines don't include engaging in academic discussion and politely asking permission to get up.

I teach inner-city high school gang bangers. They're remarkably respectful. I have noticed that they will follow your lead. If you present yourself as expecting them to misbehave and it's your job to "drop the hammer" on them, they will misbehave and you will have to drop the hammer on them. If you start out trying to be their friend, they will expect you to let them do what they want, just like their friends do. But if you present yourself as the one in charge and comfortable being in charge, and have the lesson ready to go every day without fail, then they will do things your way ... for the most part ... after testing you to make sure you're for real.
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Old 01-30-2013, 10:17 AM
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Reality Check Reality Check is offline
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Some things you're going to have to ignore, but......

"My old Spanish teacher said that the key to behavior management is to 'not give them time to misbehave'. Is this true?"

Yes....When something serious enough occurs: "Get out of my room......now!"

Also, I am a bit apprehensive because I would love to do interactive and group activities with the kids. However, I'm afraid of these spiraling out of control quickly!


My suggestion would be to EXTREMELY limited with the artsy-craftsy teaching techniques. CONTROL should be your first priority. Structured instruction, completing a worksheet as a class, taking notes off of the board, teacher-centered activities work. Even if some nit-wit wants to get cute and say "You're being sooooo old-fashioned" (or some nonsense like that - and that should tell you all you need to know about THEM). Too bad. You can't educate if you don't have control.

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  #5  
Old 01-30-2013, 11:11 AM
Ms.SLS Ms.SLS is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Accountable View Post

I teach inner-city high school gang bangers. They're remarkably respectful. I have noticed that they will follow your lead. If you present yourself as expecting them to misbehave and it's your job to "drop the hammer" on them, they will misbehave and you will have to drop the hammer on them. If you start out trying to be their friend, they will expect you to let them do what they want, just like their friends do. But if you present yourself as the one in charge and comfortable being in charge, and have the lesson ready to go every day without fail, then they will do things your way ... for the most part ... after testing you to make sure you're for real.


In my experience, if you treat the kids with respect, you will have a MUCH better chance at getting them to work. If you show them you care about them, they will WANT to work for you. At the same time, you have to have expectations. You have to believe that they can and will meet those expectations, but be ready with consequences if they don't. You have to believe in second chances - don't write a kid off if he/she has a bad day and tells you to F*** off. When he comes back to your classroom (after an appropriate conseequence), you go right back to respecting and believing in that kid.

With group work, you have to be careful. If you have a gang problem, group work is going to cause fights. Partner work might be better, because it's more controlled and you can be specific about who gets to work with eachother. I would hold off on any sort of group/partner activities until you have a really strong sense of your kids personalities and if they are capable of doing those activities without going nuts.

I agree - keep them busy. OVER plan. Set a timer (you have 5 minutes to complete the first three sentences) check in. Set timer again ( you have 5 more minutes to complete the next three sentences). etc.
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  #6  
Old 01-30-2013, 12:58 PM
Elvira Elvira is offline
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I never really thought about the group activities and the complications of them. Hopefully partner activities will suffice! It's just that it's so important in Spanish to actually USE the language in a communicative context. My old Spanish teacher had notes and quiet activities, but we also did a ton of educational games. (I loved doing group skits in her class). I didn't really realize how I would have to modify these activties for an inne ctiy class.

Thanks for all the advice

Should I say something like, "I don't think there will be problems with behavior because you are mature young adults. But here are some ground rules so that the classroom can run efficiently and you can learn as much possible"

I think respect is a huge thing as well. My Spanish teacher amazed me because even the "bad" kids in her class behaved very well. i think it was because she truly respected them and didn't write them off.
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Old 01-30-2013, 03:27 PM
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DKM DKM is offline
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Bless your heart. I used to teach inner-city for two years and went to teach in a rural area. It is high level stress. If you can't handle high level stress... by any means, do NOT take an inner-city teacher assignment.

Quote:
My friends from the inner-city say that there were fights literally ever day (We hardly had fights at my old high school).
I taught in alternative school and in DC and didn't have fights happen everyday. This is an exaggeration.

Quote:
One teacher had to go to the hospital because some student threw a book at her.
The question you have to ask yourself is what caused the student to want to do this? Most likely, the teacher had to provoke something and the student didn't respond to it well. That is clearly a respect issue.

Quote:
What groundwork do I need to set so that students don't misbehave from the start? What kind of rules do I have to have in place?
You MUST be consistent no matter what. Your consequences must mean business. I use five rules that are very easy to remember:

1. Follow Directions
2.Raise Your Hand Before Speaking Or Leaving Your Seat
3. Respect Your Classmates And Your Teacher
4. Keep Hands, Feet, And Objects To Yourself
5. All electronic devices must be turned off.

Quote:
What should I do and not do in terms of my demeanor with them?
DO be consistent. When you tell them you are going to do something, you follow through it. Your words are golden. DO be reflective when a lesson activity doesn't work.

DON'T lose your temper or control over your emotions. Kids are bloodhounds at sniffing out emotions by the way you look at them, how you use your tone at them when speaking to them, and the way you stand. Some kids like to make it into a game of getting under your skin and inner-city kids are VERY testy. Most of them come from broken homes where they never had a positive adult figure and were spoken to negatively. And whatever you do... DON'T beat yourself up when things don't go your way- reteach and modify skills in another way if the first attempt doesn't work. NEVER lower your expectations.

Quote:
Just, what happens if I can't get students to stop talking? What if a student outright disrespects me or makes a snarky comment? I've read that in a lot of the inner city schools, the principal's office is so overflooded with behavioral concerns that misbehaving kids just get send back to the classroom. What do I do when a student refuses to participate?
I use this awesome website as a resource for classroom management control:
www.SmartClassroomManagement.com

This blogger is excellent at giving classroom management tips that I subscribe to his site. You are right- principals will send kids back to the classroom if the problems are minor. You also don't want to send them unless it's very severe because it undermines your authority power. The kid will see this move as you don't have enough authority power and they lose respect for you. At times, it is best to handle the problems in your classroom before it reaches the principal's office unless it's something VERY severe (fighting, weapons, etc).

Quote:
You have to believe in second chances - don't write a kid off if he/she has a bad day and tells you to F*** off.
Sorry... I don't agree with this. If you let it continue, you send the kid a message that you are not consistent and that it is acceptable to use that language. Not doing anything about it shows the kid that you are powerless. I would look at consequences that would be effective.
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  #8  
Old 01-30-2013, 03:31 PM
nyteacher29 nyteacher29 is offline
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i have to agree with the last post about the inappropriate language. you can discuss with the kid that even if he (or she) is just having a bad day, there are still rules to follow and unfortunately there are consequences. However, this does not mean the kid is a bad kid.

If you are going to do activities, make sure they are structured!! plan for everything. also, i use a timer in smart board tools and time each part of the lesson. I keep is visible so the students know how much time is left. I have seen an improvement in students staying on task.
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  #9  
Old 01-30-2013, 03:39 PM
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Caesar753 Caesar753 is offline
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Since you will be a student teacher, you should look to your cooperating teacher for advice. It's very likely that he or she will already have "groundwork" in place, and you should find a way to work within whatever system is already there.

My biggest suggestions for working with inner-city students are....

Keep your cool.
Be consistent.
Handle behaviors and discipline issues privately whenever possible.
Be reasonable and flexible (but not a doormat).
Remember that you are the teacher, not their peer. Do not get caught up in their drama. Don't argue or have power struggles with them.
Get used to using the "broken record" technique.
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  #10  
Old 01-30-2013, 03:43 PM
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Caesar753 Caesar753 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ms.SLS View Post
You have to believe in second chances - don't write a kid off if he/she has a bad day and tells you to F*** off. When he comes back to your classroom (after an appropriate conseequence), you go right back to respecting and believing in that kid.
I do agree with this. You can't hold grudges. Even if a kid has a bad day, or even lots of bad days, you still have to treat each day as a new day. Say good morning and smile (don't be fake about it), and do your best to help the student understand that what happened yesterday is in the past. Sometimes it's best to have a clear conversation about this: "Betty Lou, I know that yesterday we had a rough day. I'm hoping that today can be a better day. Are you willing to try for a better day today? What can we, both of us, do to make that happen?" In my experience, most students respond positively (or at least neutrally) to that.
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