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  #1  
Old 02-14-2013, 05:13 PM
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Peregrin5 Peregrin5 is offline
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California
8th Grade Science Teacher
First Year Teacher Woes... Again.

Today was a rough day. I mean, yes, it is National Candy and Hormones day, but even so, today was a rooough day.

We did a lab that was kind of crazy. It didn't go very smoothly the first few periods, but that's because I wasn't doing so well with explaining the instructions beforehand. I did much better later on in the day.

However I was just so frustrated with some of my kids today, it was unreal. First of all, my third period was as rough as ever. The oppositional defiant student in that class was not having a good day. He had been doing much better previously, but maybe it's because I had been cracking down, but I felt it was a failure for him and a failure for me when he decided to not participate in the lab.

I called parents all during my prep, because I've been cracking down, and I wanted to get the information about the students behavior out there. I ended up calling about 7 or 8 parents (just to touch base and communicate with them about their students). A couple barely understood what I was saying, and one of the ones I most wanted to reach, I couldn't.

Fifth period just drained me. They're great kids, but I didn't have much energy today to begin with and the lab is just hectic as heck.

And 6th period is where I put the book down. My instructions were perfect, we did the data collection part of the lab in record time, but when it came time to come in and graph the data, and discuss the results, they completely tuned me out. I gave them a specific amount of time to do the graph, and they all knew what to do. One out of the eight groups did the graphs after repeated efforts by me as I moved around and urged the groups to get to work. What I got as a response was: "I don't feel like it..."

I discussed with them that doing labs was a privilege and we would only continue to do them if I felt that they were valuable towards reaching our learning goals. As I was talking, I STILL had people interrupting, (I stopped every time and counted them), and I had people just tuned out and doodling on the graph.

I told them that was it. We're not doing the next two labs, and instead we'll be learning from the book.

This is just after I had told them yesterday that we can no longer move around out of our seats anymore because there has been vandalization of both my property and others in the classroom. Today I opened up a textbook and found an inappropriate image drawn in it.

I'm working and reworking all of my management procedures, but I keep feeling frustrated and that I'm not getting anywhere.

Things are not completely out of control like they were last year. Students listen, and I can keep a quiet classroom. For the most part all of the students and I share good relationships. But I don't know what is going on, or why.

And then after school I run the afterschool tutoring, and a whole thing there happens with one of my students, where me and him have this whole quiet talk, and I'm trying to convey to him that his mom really cares for him and wants him to reach learning goals, not just get grades. We have a meaningful conversation, and even though this kid has a love-hate relationship with me, (he's very sensitive to consequences) I think we really did a lot of relationship building during this session. So it wasn't all bad today, but even that was just EXHAUSTING.

I don't know when I really get good or find something that really works with my management style or my teaching style. I feel like I need to start fresh again and get to know all of my students from scratch. Really show to them that what we're here for is for learning. Not to make a grade, not to just have fun, not to socialize, but I think every piece has its place in my class. But balancing them feels impossible. I'm just so tired. I'm going to go home now and sleep for an hour or two.
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  #2  
Old 02-14-2013, 05:59 PM
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BumbleB BumbleB is offline
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I don't have any advice, just

You are doing the best you can, and it's unfair that you can't be rewarded for your efforts as often as you should be. Keep moving forward with all of the best practices that you already do. You're a great teacher...today was a crazy day for middle schools around the country. Don't take it personally.
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Old 02-14-2013, 08:04 PM
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Rockguykev Rockguykev is offline
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California
Social Studies
Today was absolutely ridiculous for me as well.

I've never, in 10 years of teaching MS, had Valentine's Day be a problem at all but today certainly was. There was more candy around than I've ever seen (waaay more than on Halloween) and every single girl had flowers, bears, cupcakes, etc. strewn all about them. On top of it all my school thought it would be a good day to have a dance.

One student near the end of the day walked up to me and said "I'm about to have a serious meltdown." I felt like saying "Join the club..." but I know she has emotional issues so I then got to deal with that on top of all the other nonsense.

I'm ready to go to bed and pretend it never happened.
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  #4  
Old 02-15-2013, 12:11 AM
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Peregrin5 Peregrin5 is offline
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8th Grade Science Teacher
Somewhat happy to hear it wasn't only me. Thanks guys. On another good note, I got my DonorsChoose project funded today after weeks of writing letters, collecting money (both my own and from others), and planning. We're getting a set of 20 laptops. =]
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  #5  
Old 02-15-2013, 07:42 AM
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lucybelle lucybelle is offline
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Science
Some days just suck. Drink a beer, take a nap, and move on.

Congrats on your DonorsChoose!!!!
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  #6  
Old 02-15-2013, 08:54 AM
Ms.SLS Ms.SLS is offline
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CA
High School Teacher
You know, there are some days I just know are going to be insane. Valentines Day. Halloween. The day before Christmas Break.

I sort of try to plan my lessons with that in mind (ie. I don't intend on getting very much work done those days).

And then, when things are insane because the kids are boucing off the walls, I don't feel so bad.
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  #7  
Old 02-15-2013, 03:59 PM
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Peregrin5 Peregrin5 is offline
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8th Grade Science Teacher
Today was SOOO much better. The kids were all behaving, and they THANKED ME for my lesson! I was honestly very moved. I honestly don't know if it's just because of the day the lesson was delivered, or the type of lesson, or if it's because I DID come down hard on them yesterday, or maybe a combination of the three, but I always wonder what did happen to make things go off so right on days like this.

Sometimes I feel like it's just because of a mood I get into, that might help me look like I mean business more or be more consistent. I really want to take whatever it is and use it to help make me more successful everyday, or at least lessen the impact on my self-esteem that bad days have on me.

My entire 5th period class was deathly silent during our back-to-back intruder and cooperative during our fire drill, and then stayed on task so well that we were able to get through all the notes and things we had to in fifteen minutes because of the time the drill took out of our day. I did feel like I was a lot harsher and serious. But I definitely thanked them for the awesome job they did today and I think they definitely deserve a reward, especially because they could hear the class next door laughing and screaming during the intruder drill and generally not taking it seriously.

I trying to figure out what to give them as a reward that is not food based (because it is against our policy to feed them).
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  #8  
Old 02-15-2013, 05:42 PM
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mopar mopar is offline
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Kindergarten Teacher
With 8th graders, a great reward is a free homework pass for the class (or chance to turn an assignment in late) or a bathroom pass.

You could also plan a fun lab that they might enjoy (where you do the work as a class or just have a discussion about the lab).


Valentine's Day is usually a much more difficult day, especially with middle school students.

Something I've found that really makes a difference with my teaching is how I dress and how early I arrive to school. The more professional I dress, the more confident I feel. Also, when I arrive to school a few minutes before contract time, I often feel rushed throughout the day. By arriving 20-30 minutes earlier, I feel much more relaxed.
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  #9  
Old 02-15-2013, 06:24 PM
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Peregrin5 Peregrin5 is offline
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8th Grade Science Teacher
Quote:
Originally Posted by mopar View Post
With 8th graders, a great reward is a free homework pass for the class (or chance to turn an assignment in late) or a bathroom pass.

You could also plan a fun lab that they might enjoy (where you do the work as a class or just have a discussion about the lab).


Valentine's Day is usually a much more difficult day, especially with middle school students.

Something I've found that really makes a difference with my teaching is how I dress and how early I arrive to school. The more professional I dress, the more confident I feel. Also, when I arrive to school a few minutes before contract time, I often feel rushed throughout the day. By arriving 20-30 minutes earlier, I feel much more relaxed.
Yeah. Likely, the holiday had a lot to do with it.

I'm always one of the earliest ones to school (I get there around an hour early), and I'm always wearing a dress shirt and pants, (sometimes a tie). I enjoy nice slow mornings. =3
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Old 02-17-2013, 02:17 PM
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Milsey Milsey is offline
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Word got around that you called parents. Just keep doling out consequences. Also, reward those who are doing the right thing such as being on task.
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