Any of you embarrassed that you can't control your class?
I'm serious. I have first graders at an inner city school. I went into this job really excited. Of course, I didn't really want first grade, but I took it. These kids are wild! Being a man, you think I'd be able to control a bunch of six year olds. But no! I can't! I have several with ADHD, one kid likes to walk around the class and punch other kids. and several of my kids like to imitate pro-wrestlers between the rows of desks I have. I am a first year teacher and when people ask me how it's going (especially other teachers who teacher older grades), I am so embarrassed. Any one know how I feel about the embarrassment of lack of classroom managment?
I know exactly how you feel. I am also a first year teacher and my classroom management skills have been a little lacking. Now that it's the end of the year, they are slightly better behaved, but not by much! There have been a few times when I've been truly embarrassed by their behavior in front of other staff. When that happens I let them know what happened was wrong and I make them tell me why it was disrespectful. I am looking at this year as having been a learning experiment. I learned some things that worked, but a lot of things that didn't.
I have found that instead of telling the children how to behave, ask one of the students how they should be behaving. When you get lined up if they are noisy or acting up. Say ok lets try it again and quiet this time. Let them know that you would be more than happy to spend their recess or play time practicing a certain procedure with them. I have the fourth grade class from you know where. 18 very "active" boys and 11 girls that are pretty good (the only thing that keeps me sane". I leave it all up to them. If they are getting out of hand write recess on the board and start erasing letters. tell them for each letter you erase is a minute off of recess or other activity that they like. Most of all don't fight a loosing battle. Praise the kids that are doing what they are supposed to be doing and give them little rewards like stickers. The others will come around. My fourth graders still quiet down when they see me pulling out stickers. I have no idea what they think is so important about them but I just walk around putting stickers on their name tags if the student is on task. Don't get embarrassed it is to easy to focus on the ones that make you pull your hair out. Try to focus on the few that make you smile.
lol- fallen, I too have 4th graders that adore stickers. As soon as I pull them out, they all quiet down.
Dave, did you model procedures with them at the beginning of the year? I think that behavior managment is one of the things that can't be taught by taking a college course, it just comes with time. Think of things that you wished you had done, make a list, and make sure to implement it next year.
So most 6 year olds have the attention span of what? a half hour? And with ADHD its even shorter.
So, is your class time broken up where the kids are to change activities ~ every 20 minutes or so. Or, do they start to get restless before 20 minutes?
When I volunteered as a guest reader for 1st grade, we were supposed to have them listen to a stories for 40 minutes, yet not a one could keep still that long? I usually had them do some sort of activity along with the story, like remember to stomp your feet when the story gets to fe, fi, fo, fum. Or to listen for a particular phrase in the story and repeat it 3 times...
Also, have you thought about a face paint day, where the kids get to paint their faces like wrestlers do?
And if its only you against a bunch of 6 year olds, you'll always be outnumbered...as my husband says, you can only control people, if they allow you to control them.
I have 30 - 3rd graders who are wild! I, too, can't believe that they don't know how to follow directions, walk in a line, listen, sit still, etc. But, I must say, they get a little better everyday... I just started teaching in January and they were even worse then than they are now! Honestly, it's getting better, you just have to look for small successes. (even if they are really, really small... somedays that's all you get!)
Be consistent - same routine, everytime. You cannot change, not once. They act like they don't know what to do, but if you change your routine, they will pick up on it and follow with what you don't do.
I start them out with 5 tokens in the morning. If they are off task, they owe me one of their tokens. If, at the end of the day, they have any tokens left, I give them an equal number of tokens. We have "open market" on the last Friday of each month and the students bring things to selll- their old toys, food, etc. The kids use their tokens to buy things. This has brought about a big change.
I have also started using the Diana Day methods - "Eyes on me, voices off", Big Eyes when someone is off task, walking the path to make sure everyone is on the right page of the text, writing the correct entry.
At the end of the day, I am physically and mentally exhausted but it is getting better. I'm fortunate to have an extremely understanding and helpful principal who is supportive and helping me all the time. My partner teacher is also very helpful. Without the other teachers and administration, I would be going crazy!