A Bad Situation, That I Already Want Out Of

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Nab, Aug 31, 2016.

  1. Nab

    Nab Companion

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2014
    Messages:
    208
    Likes Received:
    25

    Aug 31, 2016

    We are on day eight of the school year. I'm teaching at a Title I, rural, middle school of about 417 students over three grades. 107 of them are in the 8th grade - most are related and all have known one another since they were toddlers. Many of them have parents who are friends with the other teachers in the school. (Most of the other staff has lived in this small town their whole lives) It's a very tight-knit community.

    I have been having MAJOR issues since day two. They students never stop talking. I've reinforced and reinforced the class procedures and rules, I've read Henry Wong's books, I've asked other teachers for classroom management tips. Some teachers and the school resource person have even come observe me. (The students are perfectly angels when the other teachers are around.) The other teachers and staff all tell me the same thing: "The students are perfect with us. This is a great group. They seem fine when we're around. You actually have really great management and your teaching style is good and has improved over the last week. What happens when we leave? They don't lose their minds. There is no way they really misbehave like that! Have you tried re enforcing the rules again and giving them candy when they do well? Give treats when they answer correctly, or stand in line, or just have a good day with you. We give ten or twelve candies two ten or twelve students in a class period."

    Around me, my 1st/2nd hour and 3rd/4th hour (they are blocked) are a nightmare. None stop talking, disrespect toward myself and their classmates, nasty comments about me (my way of speaking, my looks, my physical disability), laughing at these comments, and a lot of trying to arguing with me (I have given in a couple of times, but for the most part I try and stay on task) and complaining about class activities.

    I want these students to do well: of the 37 students in these two blocks, 19 are above or at level and the rest are below level. So, I'm trying challenging things and trying to invite interesting ELA conversations. But, all they do is complain and tell me they are going to ask to be transferred to the other ELA teacher. One student even told the others - loudly and in the middle of class - how to guilt the principal into transferring them. All that, I could handle.

    But today, they just got to me. I was reminding them (sternly, but softly) to get their stuff out for vocabulary enrichment and there was nonstop complaining/talking. I hit a book on the table to get their attention. (Wrong move, I admit. But, another teacher at the school suggested I throw things and I thought a book was better) A quiet girl said: "Why the fuck you did do that for? God, right in my ear. Bitch." A group of girls started giggling and then the class erupted into laughter. I yelled out for them to stop talking, so we could move on - and my voice cracked. Softly I could feel myself start to cry. With middle schoolers this was a bad idea.

    Some teachers say that having an emotional moment in front of your students is a good thing. They see you are human and even the hardest ones sometimes soften to you. But, that won't happen with these students. While I turned around to gather myself - I heard them. They were laughing at me. I was a bit shocked - even people with little empathy wouldn't laugh. (A friend cried in front of her worse class last year (8th graders, as well) and they actually started apologizing on the spot.)

    I'm worried now. I'm sure I've lost the class, and since the school is so small, they've probably told my other classes and the teachers. (I know for a fact they tell the teachers what I do, because the teachers tell me that the students tell them.) I also found out today that several teachers, the principal, and others have had meetings about me over the last week. Meetings I was not invited to nor told about. I'm grateful that they want to help me, but I'd like to be informed of a meeting. I feel like a complete outsider and I hate going to school in the morning.

    Everyday, I get there and put a smile on my face. I think: "It will be a great day. I'll be more positive. I'll try harder. I'll do my best." and everyday by 8:20 (30 minutes into the day), I want to cry. I know middle school isn't the grade level for me. And, I'm frustrated that the other teachers and staff just keep telling me these students are angels and it must be me. A few discipline issues, sure. I know I have classroom management to sort out. But, this seems like a lot.

    Why are these students so great around the other teachers and not me? I asked one of the better behaved ones and she told me: You're too nice and you don't sound or look threatening. So, they do what they want."

    Again, I don't think it helps matters that they have known most of their other teachers since they were small. Or that the District is under a law suit. We can't just write students up. We have to:

    01. Give a verbal warning.
    02. Move student seating around.
    03. Have private student-teacher conference.
    04. Call parent. (3 times)
    05. Have parent-teacher face-to-face conference.
    06. Call parent (2 times)
    07. Have parent-teacher-principal-student conference.
    08. Call parent (1 time)
    09. Write up.

    And this isn't an "all year" or "all grading period" thing. This is a weekly thing. I have to go through eight other steps in a week, before anything happens. And write ups do nothing. The students just get a day of in-school dentation with the fun vice principal, who is in charge of discipline. And, they all know it. Whenever I even mention a write up or a call home - they love reminding me that I can't write anyone up without doing the other stuff or I'll get in trouble.

    My contract with this school district is up in May. I'm already researching other jobs.

    Oh, and my 5th and 6th hour are seventh graders. I have "the worst of the 7th graders" in 5th hour - and I've had no major issues there. Just a hiccup now and again. And 6th hour - really great. It's just the. 8th graders
     
  2.  
  3. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2010
    Messages:
    4,959
    Likes Received:
    1,148

    Sep 1, 2016

    I know that this won't help, but I think the district discipline policy is completely stupid. Way too many steps and chances before a real consequence.
    And you got some bad advice. throwing things is never a good idea. And giving candy? You are not supposed to give food for motivation or cooperation. You can bring food for the entire class, but you can't give it to certain kids for behavior or right answer.

    Not much advice here as I think you're going to have to go against the flow, meaning other teachers who seem too lenient and reward them as if they were puppies. You're just going to have to find a different way of doing things with the 8th graders. Silent work. Taking notes. Independent work. No direct instruction, if you're not talking, they can't cut you off. Since they know it all, they should be able to read directions on a paper and complete assignments. When things turn around, you can go back to teaching and learning the way other students do it.
     
    readingrules12, otterpop and Obadiah like this.
  4. Nab

    Nab Companion

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2014
    Messages:
    208
    Likes Received:
    25

    Sep 1, 2016

    I agree that the discipline policy is stupid. You couldn't even do all those steps in a week or even two weeks, let alone a day. They had to cut down on write ups, so this was their solution. It's completely ridiculous and the students know nothing will happen to them.

    I would agree with the food. And, it's so bizarre to me that the other teachers give food daily. Even if they gave food to whole classes daily or weekly, it would still be odd to me. Why give someone candy, because they did what they are supposed to do for a week or even a month? Why not save that for special things.

    I would love to go to silent work, taking notes, and independent work with no direct instruction. That was always my plan of punishment when the students got out of hand. I've been it used in high schools for 9th-10th and it worked wonders. However, that is against district guidelines - the students have to be interacting with one another and the teacher daily. Group work is preferred and independent work is only allowed five to ten minutes in a 55 minute class period. (I have the students for two 55 minute class periods) They are currently being "punished" by writing definitions for the first twenty minutes of class, but even then - they talk, giggle, and/or complain the whole time. Plus, the state has new state-made curriculum, which also requires daily pair or group work.

    I'm sort of just stuck. For some reason, these students refuse to follow simple rules and routines with me. I can be nice about it, harsh about it. . .nothing matters. They don't see me as a countable "threat" or even a real teacher. I'm just some woman they make fun of for two hours a day.
     
  5. GTB4GT

    GTB4GT Cohort

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2011
    Messages:
    748
    Likes Received:
    144

    Sep 1, 2016

    what did you do when this child said this? If nothing, then it's no wonder the kids say and do what they want. There are no consequences for them (there obviously are for you). If you disciplined the student and the admin did not back or support you in this case, then you are in a very,very bad situation and need to leave. Now or at the end of your contract as you see fit.

    Does anyone other than me feel deeply disturbed that an eighth grade child would actually say something like this out loud in a public setting?Or that most of us do not hesitate to believe that this story most likely took place?
     
  6. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2010
    Messages:
    4,959
    Likes Received:
    1,148

    Sep 1, 2016

    They have to interact with someone every 5 minutes? How about when they take a test and it take 25 minutes? What about when they write an essay and just need to sit there the entire 55 minutes, concentrate and write? What about when reading a novel, and most of the reading takes up the whole class time? One student reads out loud (different students of course), and teacher asks clarification questions, etc, but that's still not interaction the way they say it? How about silent reading? I'm not a fan of that on the long run, but an 8th grader should be able to sit there and read for 20 minutes on occasion.

    I say leave if you can. Of course the kids are bad with these strategies and no-discipline policies.
     
    MLB711 and otterpop like this.
  7. Nab

    Nab Companion

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2014
    Messages:
    208
    Likes Received:
    25

    Sep 1, 2016

    I corrected the girl by saying that there was no cussing in class. It's all I can do. Cussing is a major issue at the school and aside from saying: "We don't talk that way here." we aren't allowed to do much - until at least a parent phone call. I've tried calling her parents during my planning period and lunch- both yesterday and today. They are not answering, so I left messages. I asked about it today and was told that she is a sweet student, who never curses, so something must have been wrong with her. I was told to call her parents and, if it happens again, a write up may be needed.

    Today, some girls came straight into the room for 1st hour and said they needed to talk to me. It seems the other teachers are giving their classes long lectures about respecting me. The girls wanted me to tell the other teacher that they aren't doing anything wrong (they are always talking, rolling their eyes, and laughing), because they need to cheerlead this year.
     
  8. Nab

    Nab Companion

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2014
    Messages:
    208
    Likes Received:
    25

    Sep 1, 2016

    They have to interact and talk with another student fifty of the fifty-five minutes. (This can be in pairs, groups, or whole class discussion) Test days are different, but tests are only allowed once every two weeks. Silent reading is actually discouraged. As are assignments/activities that are "too long" - nothing should be longer than fifteen to twenty minutes. I was told to keep them busy with "fun" activities, because they cannot sit and do things on their own for long. Today, they took grammar notes for fifteen minutes and all I heard was "This is boring. When we get out of here? I'm not writing this. What time is it?" I corrected the behavior and modeled the right behaviors. Eye rolls from a group of girls, giggles from some, and looks of boredom from others.

    Toward the end of the day, one of my better students came to my room with one of my novels from my class library. Another student had left it near a trashcan in the gym. I looked at the check out log, and it turns out no student signed for it. Someone just took it off my shelf. Looking around the room, I noticed that one of the mini white board, which I bought for students to use during certain lessons, had been drawn all over and ripped up in the back. Also, the group of girls in 1st and 2nd hour, who were concerned about cheerleading, spent class time making papercuts for their cheerleading posters. (One of the girls sits in the seat where my board was destroyed.) Parents were called, but. . .I had to leave messages.

    I'm thinking that since I've called home for all my problem students (and had to leave messages for most), I'm just going to start writing them up. This is beyond ridiculous and if I get in trouble - it's been nine day. . .there is no reason for this behavior.
     
  9. otterpop

    otterpop Phenom

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2013
    Messages:
    4,194
    Likes Received:
    1,781

    Sep 1, 2016

    Wow. Where to start with this one.

    Your district's policies are stupid. That's putting it nicely.

    Can you have your own consequences? What are you allowed to do? I realize this might be a frustrating question, because I also worked at a school where no punishments were really allowed. Is there anything within your control that you can do?

    I've learned and improved a lot from reading the blog smartclassroommanagement.com. His ideas are simple, make sense, and are easy to implement right away. Here's a link that might help as a starting point. http://www.smartclassroommanagement...ndle-six-disrespectful-students-in-one-class/

    All of the blue words in his articles lead to other articles, and it's all good advice that's worked for me.

    Good luck, and this forum is a great place to get help.

    I would not recommend writing a bunch of them up; it doesn't sound like your school is going to do anything about it, anyway, and it will just make it look like you can't handle them. They should be providing you more support, since you obviously want to do well, so it's frustrating that that's not being offered, but you've got to work with what you have in a situation like that. There's no shame in quitting either. I quit mid year when working at a poisonous school. But don't give up yet.
     
    Peregrin5 likes this.
  10. MsAbeja

    MsAbeja Companion

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2016
    Messages:
    132
    Likes Received:
    109

    Sep 1, 2016


    Seriously? Have you met a lot of 8th graders? I have no doubt that this took place, in fact I've witnessed similar behavior in my own district, usually with subs or new teachers. Teenagers curse, especially when they are trying to push boundaries and test a new teacher.
     
  11. Loomistrout

    Loomistrout Devotee

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2007
    Messages:
    1,162
    Likes Received:
    172

    Sep 2, 2016

    I would get out ASAP. Based on what you have stated the word that comes to mind is "primitive". It's one thing to deal with discipline knowing you are surrounded by highly sophisticated, well-trained teachers and administrators. It's quite another to find out the best they can do is offer "candy" and suggest you "throw things". The district doesn't seem to be aware or is too lazy to find out the research which shows working in groups "showed no significant improvement" in student achievement. This doesn't mean groups don't work but mandating "what" to teach has little to do with "process" or how to teach it.
     
  12. GTB4GT

    GTB4GT Cohort

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2011
    Messages:
    748
    Likes Received:
    144

    Sep 2, 2016


    I think you sort of speak to my point with your reply. I don't doubt that teenagers curse. but reread what that child said....to an adult. That is not merely 'cursing" or "kids beings kids".The fact that some find this routine instead of egregious behavior speaks volumes about where we (children and adults) are as a society.
     
    MsAbeja likes this.
  13. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2007
    Messages:
    3,644
    Likes Received:
    108

    Sep 2, 2016

    NAB can you go and observe these students and teachers in other classrooms and see how things are going? If the students are acting like precious little angels, then they're clearly pulling some bs on you and should be called out on it. If this continues for much longer, I would suggest that you update your resume and start looking for another position for the next school year since it really seems like the faculty and student body are not willing to support you.
     
  14. ms.irene

    ms.irene Connoisseur

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2010
    Messages:
    1,564
    Likes Received:
    743

    Sep 2, 2016

    My first teaching position was in a very small, close-knit school. There was just one main teacher per grade level (I taught 8th grade). The 7th grade teacher was notorious for screaming at her classes. I wouldn't/couldn't yell at my classes constantly, so they got out of control, since that was what they were used to. I had students earnestly telling me I had to yell at them like Ms. So-and-so. I tried, and it didn't work for me. I definitely had students telling me to "f off" and calling me every name in the book, in several languages...I lasted three years at that school, and each year got a bit better as students got to know me and my style. It was a very different situation, though, and it seriously impacted my confidence in my teaching abilities. I would recommend looking for a better fit for your style, if possible!
     
  15. MLB711

    MLB711 Comrade

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2011
    Messages:
    376
    Likes Received:
    53

    Sep 2, 2016

    I would get out. Now. This school is not a good fit for you.
     
  16. otterpop

    otterpop Phenom

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2013
    Messages:
    4,194
    Likes Received:
    1,781

    Sep 2, 2016

    It's really hard to be the teacher that comes after their year with the teacher who yells. It's not my style, either, and it takes a while for them to realize you mean business even when you don't raise your voice. I work really hard not to yell! I made it through the whole year last year without yelling once, until one day during the last three weeks of school. :oops: But, boy, when I did finally do it, they were shocked.
     
    ms.irene and Bunnie like this.
  17. 4815162342

    4815162342 Companion

    Joined:
    May 17, 2014
    Messages:
    211
    Likes Received:
    13

    Sep 2, 2016

    I'm curious on what the lawsuit against the district is about.
     
    OneBerry likes this.
  18. Bunnie

    Bunnie Devotee

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2009
    Messages:
    1,136
    Likes Received:
    165

    Sep 3, 2016

    Same here about the yelling I do it like once a year and it shocks the kids. Whatever I yell about right after I'm done I seamlessly continue in a regular voice with the activity we were doing. You'd be surprised how many kids participate and raise there hands after that and confused look on their faces of what just happened, I'm not messing with her right now, let me be a model student. Lol
     
    otterpop likes this.
  19. justwanttoteach

    justwanttoteach Cohort

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2013
    Messages:
    569
    Likes Received:
    75

    Sep 3, 2016

    I am going to tell you what someone told me when I had a really difficult class of sophomores: "When you invite other teachers or admin into a class to watch you and students perform you unknowingly give your power away!" In other words students take this as you saying: "I have no idea what is going on or how to deal so hopefully these visitors will help!" You now have proof that these students can behave correctly they are CHOOSING to not. Stop talking! Stop inviting people into the room and STOP. It is AMAZING what writing "Time After Class" or simply staring silently at the clock scares the crap out of kids. Right now you are in a power struggle with a group of 13 year olds. Think back to when you were 13, you naturally knew everything! (Or maybe that was just me!) Your students have to trust you. This means more than just being someone they can laugh with or share personal information with. Your students must understand and trust that when you say you are calling home YOU DO. When you say you have time after class....YOU DO. Power struggles and arguments only happen and work when BOTH parties engage and participate. Right now, they have you engaged and can sense that you are frustrated with them. They KNOW they are in control. Right now it's a show for them. If we act like little punks, look at the reaction we can get out of our teacher! Stop Performing! It is important that you stop engaging. (Easier Said then done! Belive me I know) Ultimately this is your classroom and it is your agenda and plan that will be done. Students will whine, complain and even resist. That's fine, they don't have to like what the plan is or even like you. But they do have to do it. Opting out or task avoidance is not an option. I am 100% positive that you have more stubbornness or will power than a group of 13 year olds. ( I mean my god your a teacher!! You jumped through a billion hoops to get there!) I am confident you can do this.

    I had a similar class last year and did the same things you are doing. There were many tears, moments of frustration and second guessing the choice to be a teacher. As crazy as this sounds this is the class I learned the most from. The most difficult class is the one that taught me the most about classroom management, My most difficult class is the one I miss the most. It will get better! It wont be easy, but try an remember why you wanted to be a teacher. Get a piece of paper and start making a list of the GOOD things happening. There are good things, it's hard to see them when there are a lot of bad things. Good things could be as small as "a kid brought supplies to school today!" or "I was able to get through the attendance and call kids by name"

    Hang in there! and good luck!
     
    Luv2TeachInTX likes this.
  20. Nab

    Nab Companion

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2014
    Messages:
    208
    Likes Received:
    25

    Sep 3, 2016

    The lawsuit was about discrimination. There were three middle schools within twenty minutes of each other. One had a student population that was mostly African American (the one I am at), one had a student population that was all white, and one only had 100 students over three grades. So, they combined the schools. The lawsuit also dealt with the fact that too many African American students in the district were sent to the alternative school during the year. This is a decades long issue.

    A couple of six grade teachers have invited me to observe their classes, and I do plan on doing that. However, I'm not sure it will help much. The sixth graders at the school are very polite and even a bit scared of teachers. They have caused no issues.


    I actually never invited anyone into my room. My room is joined with another teacher's. (It used to be one room that they have divided into two rooms.) We have an adjoining door. She came in the first day of school to tell my Homeroom students they were too loud. If I remember correctly, she came in within the first ten minutes. It snowballed from there. By day three of school, teachers were asking students about me, students were telling anyone that listened that I couldn't handle things, there were conferences/meetings I wasn't invited to, teachers and other staff were just randomly walking into my room during lessons, etc. I never invited anyone in and I only talked to two people: my mentor teacher at the school and the school's counselor about some students. I simply asked for advice - such as who not to seat together, activities that have enjoyed in the past, lessons my mentor teacher knew 8th graders enjoyed, etc. I did complain that I was shocked at how much middle schoolers talk and act foolishly, but I was trying to find my own solutions to the issues.

    Oh, while I like your suggestion of keeping them after class - I can not do that. It isn't allowed. At most I can go out during lunch and make them stand with me for five minutes, before they go in the lunch line. I have tried stopping lessons and simply staring silently at the clock or my watch - they just get louder. I have called home numerous times to discuss several students. In the first two weeks of school, I have called the homes of half my students. On Friday I called the homes of fifteen students. Most of the parents sounded bored with our conversations. On Wednesday and Thursday I called the homes of eight students and the behavior of the students was even worse on the following days. I've written up students, and that did nothing. Those students are still misbehaving.

    These children are talking, yelling at each other, destroying my property, walking around the room - during graded quizzes and tests. They are refusing to take notes and doing other classwork or extra activities in my classroom. Phone calls home are not working. Write ups are not working. I am at a loss. In regard to the quizzes and tests, I actually took off a points. They didn't care.

    The school hired five new teachers (including myself) this pass summer. Only the new coach (who is young and handsome for the girls and who is forming sport teams for the boys) and the French teacher (who is an extra class that students must have a 3.5 GPA and no referrals to take) have had no troubles. Myself and the other two teachers (one of whom came out of retirement for this) are having issues.

    The one who came out of retirement teaches 7th grade ELA, and the students are HORRIBLE to her. They don't listen, do work, or take notes. And, they spend most of the class period insulting one another or her. She is also being offered very little help and I've overheard other teachers wondering if she isn't "too old" for this age group.(The principal was there and made a passing remark that it was "only for a year. Because so-and-so's niece will graduate in May." )

    The new 7th grade ELA teacher wrote up 28 of her students on Friday, citing she had had enough of their nonstop talking, clowning around, and general disrespect toward her and each other. She had also given warnings and called home, but nothing had helped. The other teacher is 6th grade science, and has had a few bumps, but not as bad as we have had.

    The fact that two ELA teachers are having such huge issues should be a warning sign to the principal. Not something they are sweeping under the rug.

    I've secretly started looking up old staff of the school and district. I've actually found some "reviews" of the school and blog entries about the school and district dating back three or four years. Everything written online about this school is BAD. (The district has some good things in the high schools and the "city" of the district). But, this school that I am at - every ex-employee of the school says the same thing:

    1. The students have no respect. Especially for people from outside their community.
    2. The students have no discipline and discipline is never enforced.
    3. Everyone at the top (principal, vice principal, etc) are more concerned with "looking good" and "bringing up test scores", that they rarely pay attention to the real issues of the school.
    4. The school brings out its twenty "good" students when the state visits and only shows visitors one or two classrooms - always sixth grade or they warn teachers someone is coming via a text message.
    5. The school claims to be a family, but they will throw you under a bus, if parents or students complain.
    6. If you are not from that town (or one of the two surrounding towns in the district) and you work there - the students will treat you badly. The parents will ignore you. And, you probably won't stay for longer than two years.

    So yes, I am in a power struggle with 12-14 year olds. And, I hold some blame in that. But, it appears I'm not the first two have the issue with them. Nor am I the only teacher on campus struggling.
     
  21. Rockguykev

    Rockguykev Connoisseur

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2008
    Messages:
    1,934
    Likes Received:
    257

    Sep 3, 2016

    This sad story is simply going to become more and more routine. These lawsuits are abundant. Nearly every district in Southern California - not exactly rural small town America - has been hit with them. We have a very similar situation where kids cannot be suspended due to the lawsuit. We are supposed to document X interventions before the office gets involved but that number changes every single year.

    I'm grateful I've done this long enough and I don't have discipline problems very often because if I did there's nothing I could do. I can't imagine trying to be a new teacher without proper support in this environment. My first two years were rough (they always are) but at least I had great support from my admins at the time.

    I wish I had more advice for you but my advice would have been the same as already said - give them a textbook and standards, then quiz them. Kids don't have a choice in going to school but they do have a choice in how I teach them.
     
  22. Nab

    Nab Companion

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2014
    Messages:
    208
    Likes Received:
    25

    Sep 4, 2016

    Yes, and the students all know there are X number of interventions that have to be done before a write up. There really are no consequences to disruptive or disrespectful behaviors. I feel really badly for the students who need quiet to learn or need that extra time, because they aren't getting it. I also feel bad for the disruptive and disrespectful students - they are in for a rude awakening once they hit the "real world" and start having part-time jobs or go to college or what have you. Bosses and college professors don't have to give some many "chances".

    I went to the school yesterday to do a couple of things. A teacher was there. She had been teaching for 15+ years. She told me: "Baby, if they keep this up - send them to me. I've got a class set of dictionaries they can copy. If that doesn't work to improve behavior, let me know. In the mean time - pick things up for points. They're leaving their papers and handouts in your desks and not taking notes? One day, just randomly pick that up for a grade. Then, give it back the next day and tell them to study. Give them a test on those notes a week later. Just keep doing that and they'll learn notes and paying attention are important."

    I'm taking her up on that. Next Monday, I'm picking up all notes from the first three weeks of school and making it worth some points. I already know half of them won't have half the notes.
     
    MLB711 likes this.
  23. GTB4GT

    GTB4GT Cohort

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2011
    Messages:
    748
    Likes Received:
    144

    Sep 4, 2016


    I'm anxious to see how that works for you. (In my experience,grades are not much, if any, of a motivator for students with discipline/behavior issues). please keep us updated.
     
    readingrules12 and Peregrin5 like this.
  24. Nab

    Nab Companion

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2014
    Messages:
    208
    Likes Received:
    25

    Sep 5, 2016

    I agree. I'd say over half my students have Ds in the class, and they don't care. Open House is tomorrow night. We meet with each class' parents for 5-7 minutes to give an overview of what will be taught during the year. The principal sent out a long email reminding us NOT to bring up discipline issues - that it was something to discuss individually with parents via phone or a conference. But, since so many students in each class are misbehaving - and I've sent notes home - I want to use two minutes to let parents know what is happening in the room. Basically tell them the truth: there is nonstop talking, moving around the room, physically touching/pushing one another, etc. It has to stop.

    To be perfectly honest, I dread going to work each morning. Middle School is clearly not for me. Someone suggested that at mid-year, I go to human resources at the school board and discuss my issues.
     
  25. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Maven

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2008
    Messages:
    5,123
    Likes Received:
    1,546

    Sep 6, 2016

    If the other teachers and administration could somehow observe your classroom without being noticed they would understand what's going on. Of course the kids are crafty enough to NOT behave that way when they are around. They are purposely trying to make you look bad or just look plain crazy. I'm so sorry you're in this situation. It's too bad your school has that kind of intervention/write up plan. Also, if they are getting Ds BECAUSE of their behavior then how can you NOT discuss it??? That really makes no sense.
     
  26. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2011
    Messages:
    5,770
    Likes Received:
    1,004

    Sep 6, 2016

    Some experienced teachers told me that this is the way they respond to overly demanding admin: "Tell me what you want me to do and I'll tell you I'm doing it."

    LOL. I've taken that to heart with certain things. Now I don't know if you can in your situation since it seems that if you take discipline into your own hands, you might have kids ratting you out. I'm in a position where I don't really care if I get in trouble for not following all district/admin mandates, since I'm only teaching here for a year.

    But consider it. If you need to stay with this school, but you also need to survive your classes, you may need to implement an effective disciplinary system with or without admin approval. I would shy away from using their grades to punish them or having them copy dictionaries (these are useless punishments that don't teach anything).

    I second the SmartClassroomManagement website. It has some articles on how to turn around from where you are now which is in a pretty dark place management wise.

    I would recommend a few things:
    1. An independent study table
    2. Lunch-Time academy to practice good behavior skills
    3. Calls home when necessary, but not too often.
    4. Refrain from ever slamming down a textbook again. Never show your frustration to your students. Especially not 8th graders. Always pretend that everything they do and say just rolls off your back like water off a duck, and smile through it. But still hold them accountable for their actions by enforcing consequences.

    Again I don't know if you're willing to be brave enough to separate from the herd, but I can't imagine any of the teachers at that school are effective if they're really following that discipline system set out by the district.
     
    ms.irene likes this.
  27. ms.irene

    ms.irene Connoisseur

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2010
    Messages:
    1,564
    Likes Received:
    743

    Sep 6, 2016

    Do you have a phone in class? Can you pick up the phone and start calling parents during class? Perhaps put the student on the phone with the parent and have them speak to their parent. No parent wants to have the teacher call home. I have done this before and it can be effective.

    After class, call every.single.parent. Give a good report for the good ones (there are always a few), and keep it short and to the point for the rest. Word will get out, and at least a few will really not want another call home.

    Prepare a very simple, straight-forward lecture. Tell kids that there will be a test on the material. Keep it short and sweet, no more than 10 minutes. Then, immediately give a quiz on the material, and if they took notes, they can use them. If someone talks during the quiz, immediately take their quiz, tear it up, and throw it away. It's less about the grades and more about showing them you mean business.

    These are things I have done when I was in a similar situation, in a high school with a very segregated population that was being treated unfairly and which was directly impacting my class climate, and without any real admin support. I can't say it was ever perfect, but it did get better with time, and consistency.

    Like Peregrin said, though, the key to it all is to never lose your cool. You have to stay calm, cool, and collected through it all, no matter what happens. Right now, they are in control of you -- you have to be in control of yourself and your reactions to their behavior.
     
  28. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2010
    Messages:
    3,280
    Likes Received:
    768

    Sep 6, 2016

    This is it exactly! Don't give 7th and 8th graders so many chances. Have a consequence and then implement it when you need to stop the talking. Some ideas:

    1. Isolated quiet lunch--students sit alone at lunch time and may not talk.
    2. Miss of some of lunch recess.--Most schools won't let you take away all of lunch recess because students need to run around. Still taking away 5 or 10 minutes can be helpful.
    3. Call parents--I have never heard of a teacher ever get in trouble for communicating with parents.
    4. Fred Jones' PAT time outlined in his book Tools For Teaching is very helpful.
    5. Whisper bell--

    Good luck to you!
     
    otterpop likes this.
  29. Nab

    Nab Companion

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2014
    Messages:
    208
    Likes Received:
    25

    Sep 7, 2016

    If the other teachers and administration could somehow observe your classroom without being noticed they would understand what's going on.

    They could, actually. My room is attached to another room. This teacher has 1st hour off and is at lunch for part of my 3rd - two different blocks. They could go into her room and listen at the door. Or just hear from the room, as the students are that noisey. I've brought this up, but admin refuses to do it. They say it takes away student privately.

    1. My room is too small for an independent study table. It barely fits twenty-six desks.
    2. I cannot keep them at lunch. I wrote two students up, and they were given "lunch dentation" - they eat their lunch in a classroom with a duty teacher.
    3. I have now called home at least once for every student, sent a letter home, switched seats (twice), and had talks with several students. I don't want to be "that teacher", but it is honestly just getting worse and worse.

    1. Isolated quiet lunch--students sit alone at lunch time and may not talk.
    2. Miss of some of lunch recess.--Most schools won't let you take away all of lunch recess because students need to run around. Still taking away 5 or 10 minutes can be helpful.
    3. Call parents--I have never heard of a teacher ever get in trouble for communicating with parents.

    1. I cannot do that. They have lunch dentation, but I can't give it to them. I have to write them up and it is assigned to them.
    2. Lunch and recess (they only have one recess) are together and last 20 minutes. I can only make them go last in the line - not very serious.
    3. I have 65 students. I have called home for over 30 of them in the last three weeks. The parents that answered (most didn't answer, had disconnected phones, etc) said they would "talk to the child" and all of that jazz. Behaviors have not improved - just gotten worse.


    There are five 8th grade teachers in the whole school. We had a small meeting regarding Chromebooks and internet usage in our rooms. The principal asked how things were with the students - all the other teachers jumped in to say that this was the best group in years. So well mannered! So on task! I sat there, thinking: "Okay. . .they can do well in your classes, but not mine? I'm not looking for perfect angels, but they could stop insulting each other, insulting/ignoring me for five minutes and do a damn bellringer. They could follow my rules that I repeat to them daily. That would be nice."

    I secretly spoke to an 6th grade teacher. She told me that since I've sent a note home to all parents regarding behavior, called most of the parents, given "punish work", moved their seating around, and had talks with each class about behavior - I should just start writing them up. I think the words she used were: "Let some take a fall, and the rest will straighten out." I think she has a point. They are disrupting my class and making it very hard for me to teach the ones that are paying attention and are trying.

    Even if I write up the "good" students that all the teachers like, so be it. At this point, I only plan on being at this school a year. I am looking for something else starting in March. There are too many issues and problems in this school.

    Oh, the other ELA teacher told me something today: "Sometimes, you gotta close the door, get unprofessional, and tell them the truth - you are tired of their shit and they need to get themselves together. When I came here three years ago, this place was full of discipline issues. It still is in ELA classes. They want to push you and break you. Don't let them. You can go get a job anywhere after this. What will happen to them with Ds in middle school? Fs in high school and then nothing good. "
     
  30. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2016
    Messages:
    2,407
    Likes Received:
    1,180

    Sep 7, 2016

    I feel old, but are kids -- overall-- just getting worse & worse these days? My third graders last year were just so unmotivated, very egocentric and arrogant. They really didn't care either and would openly say so, "I'm bored." "I don't want to do this," "I don't like it here," etc. I worked my ass off to whip them into shape, had to be a hard ass and I didn't really enjoy going into work either. By October I was DONE! We got no help from our admin so it really just felt like I was surviving day to do day on an island with savage animals. I resigned mid- October, but ended up staying for the entire school year. I'm glad I did. I really whipped them into shape by the end of the day, but it was EXHAUSTING! Trying to get them to CARE about their learning and WANT to participate drew everything from me... If I let the leash go for one second, they would all kill each other. But sticking (roughing) it out made me a teacher. My third graders had MAJOR middle school/ teenage attitude and apathy. So I feel your pain. It also didn't help we were a K8 school so they SAW their teenage siblings all the time.
    My building was 2,3, 5 & 7. They all shared the same bathroom. Bloody hell!

    :mad:
     
  31. Nab

    Nab Companion

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2014
    Messages:
    208
    Likes Received:
    25

    Sep 7, 2016

    I truly believe a lot of children are - overall - getting worse. I have family and friends who have tutored and taught, but stopped for several different reasons. Most were in the classroom less than three years ago. And, when I tell them a bit about what is happening, they cannot believe it. It really shocks a lot of them with just how much these students can get away with. I have 8th graders telling me my lessons are "boring" and "dumb". I think I said it earlier, but I literally have students loudly telling other students ways they can guilt administration into changing their schedules, so they have the other ELA teacher. I'm trying so hard to get these students into shape, so we can really focus on the work. It's just so darn hard and exhausting.
     
  32. minnie

    minnie Habitué

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2007
    Messages:
    763
    Likes Received:
    53

    Sep 7, 2016

    Kids are so used to being constantly stimulated by technology that they look to us and expect a dog and pony show at all times. Video games, phones and iPads are all taking over their brains. I'm to the point of absolutely not caring if they say that something is boring. My job is to teach them the standards and prepare them for the next grade. Of course I try to make my lessons engaging and fun but there's always gonna be kids who would rather be at home playing video games. I've told a few students that it's ok to think something is boring. But they need to keep it to themselves because it's extremely rude and inconsiderate to say it out loud.
     
  33. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2010
    Messages:
    3,280
    Likes Received:
    768

    Sep 7, 2016

    These are the 2 most commonly used words for 8th graders. They will say this nomatter what you do.

    What to do? First you have a whole lot more power than you think. You can make your lessons as fun and exciting or boring each day and there is nothing the students can do about it. Do a fun game for 10 minutes tomorrow. Yup they will say it is boring and dumb--do it anyway. Then, from now on those who don't get in trouble for talking play the game at the end of each class for 5 minutes, 7 minutes etc. Just make it what you teach them anyways and make them into jeopardy questions. No loss of instruction time just fun. The others do the same review work as worksheets. Even if this doesn't work, they will learn a bit more fairness in those who follow directions get rewarded others don't. You'll feel better too. It takes no $$ and little prep time. You got nothing to lose and lots to gain from it. Classrooms all over the country use it and it works.
     
  34. Nab

    Nab Companion

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2014
    Messages:
    208
    Likes Received:
    25

    Sep 8, 2016

    Easier said than done; at least for the moment. Currently my "smart board" is a glorified projector (it isn't actually hooked up to the computer),my computer is from 1997 and freezes at least once a hour, and currently most "game sites" are blocked by the school board. Plus, the students don't have technology in the classroom. The students get technology next week, but only on Mondays and Tuesdays.

    I try to make my lessons exciting and interesting. Yesterday,sixteen of my students left for a "Get to know you 4-H meeting" (yeah, half of them were just trying to get out of class.) I was left with six students, who all told me it was so much more fun without the others in class. One quiet boy even remarked that half of the sixteen who left were "rude" and "not nice". He also said: "Sorry if they make you sad. You're a good teacher. You're trying." We had such a great time, I ended the class with the short film "The Lottery" (they had read it last week). When the others came back, they were rude, noisy, and kept loudly remarking that the short film was "dumb".

    Most of the students causing issues are on sports teams. Last night, I called all their homes and left notes for their coaches. We'll see if that changes things.
     
  35. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2007
    Messages:
    14,606
    Likes Received:
    2,713

    Sep 8, 2016

    I don't necessarily think that kids are getting worse. I do, however, think that we've really emphasized feelings and a certain kind of egocentrism, especially in children, that has contributed to a change in behavior. Everyone feels entitled to say exactly how they feel at all times, even when it doesn't matter (sorry, not sorry, for being blunt). What's worse is that everyone seems to want their feelings acknowledged and that they use their feelings to justify their behaviors instead of just doing what needs to be done.
     
    PallasAthena likes this.
  36. otterpop

    otterpop Phenom

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2013
    Messages:
    4,194
    Likes Received:
    1,781

    Sep 8, 2016

    I totally agree with this. I think there's also a lack of respect for authority or adults, which used to be taught in other generations. A teacher can say something like "take out your notebooks" and it's met with a chorus of unhappy "ahhhh" and grunts. I work really hard to get them to knock that off, and am usually successful at that, but just that a child would complain about something they're being asked to do is a sign of the times I think.
     
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2016
  37. ladybugteacher

    ladybugteacher Companion

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2016
    Messages:
    190
    Likes Received:
    63

    Sep 8, 2016

    I really feel for you. It seems like you have a whole class of little terrors. I have one, I know exactly how you feel about bring not believed and having your hands tied.
     
  38. Nab

    Nab Companion

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2014
    Messages:
    208
    Likes Received:
    25

    Sep 9, 2016

    Thank you. And, for the past two weeks - my two other classes are also acting out. I have started writing people up. I don't even care anymore.
     
    ladybugteacher likes this.
  39. ladybugteacher

    ladybugteacher Companion

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2016
    Messages:
    190
    Likes Received:
    63

    Sep 9, 2016

    I know what you mean. Write ups do absolutely no good when the child knows his or her parents don't care. Is been 3 weeks of school and I have one student who is a constant trouble maker. The most I can do is give him a detention and or send a note home. This does not phase him at all. He always just brings back the signed note and NOTHING changes. Nothing he does warrants alternative school or any meaningful punishment so I am at a loss.
     
  40. Nab

    Nab Companion

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2014
    Messages:
    208
    Likes Received:
    25

    Sep 9, 2016

    I'm sorry you have a trouble maker in class. I know the feeling. I have a small class of 15 - and 8 of them cause nothing but trouble.

    Write Ups do nothing. Neither the students nor their parents seem to care about write ups. Several of the children (ages 12-14) have probation officers, have been to juvenile court several times, and often end their year in the alternative school in the district. (I think about 8 of the students in one of the classes I teach usually end up in the alternative school before Christmas. They come back by March, though.) And do they care? No. A lot of the other teachers give students their grades, for whatever reason. (We only have to give 9 grades a grading period and several teachers on campus make five of those grades "easy" and the actual tests are worth very little)

    I think the worse part is: I gave a diagnostic test to see where these students are. It was based on 6th and 7th grade standards. Even the students that administration tell me are "smart" and "advanced" scored low. Like, these 8th graders are on 5th grade level in ELA.. They cannot write an extended response to save their lives. It literally took me eight hours to grade thirty-six papers, because I had to keep stopping.

    I had it today. I told them to get it together and move on. I'm trying to teach them the skills they need for high school, but they are way below where they should be. So, they need to let me help them, teach them, and they need to ask questions. They need to listen, take notes, stop talking, adjust the attitudes, and stop doing other school work in my class. ELA is for ELA stuff only.

    These students are seriously not going to make it in high school. The high school teachers aren't going to baby them the way this school's teachers do.
     
    ladybugteacher likes this.
  41. ladybugteacher

    ladybugteacher Companion

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2016
    Messages:
    190
    Likes Received:
    63

    Sep 9, 2016

    Wow, that is scary. My trouble maker is the opposite. He is one of the best students academically but he causes no end to administrative problems (racist jokes, innuendos, and HIGHLY inappropriate political comnentary. Administration is very reluctant to do anything because of his academic performance and the real kicker is the children who fall under his influence do much better academically then they did before his influence, yet they get much more disrespectful and difficult for me to handle.
     

Share This Page

Members Online Now

  1. TeacherNY
Total: 347 (members: 2, guests: 320, robots: 25)
test