A Bad Situation, That I Already Want Out Of

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

  1. Loomistrout

    Loomistrout Devotee

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    Sep 9, 2016

    Agree. Contacting parents works with the good kids who make a rare mistake. Parents of chronic behavior problems have already demonstrated their parenting skills by raising their child to this point. In addition, every time a bad note goes home it compounds the adversarial relationship between home and school. If you were the parent do you think you would jump up and down, "Hooray! Another notice telling me what a terrible child I have and, by association, what a terrible parent I am. I can't wait to support the teacher and the school!!"
     
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  2. Geologygirl

    Geologygirl Comrade

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    Sep 10, 2016

    Can you give them detention? One you run? Can you send a troublemaket to another room for a timeout? A 6th grafe room for 8th. I would keep them busy with seat work. I would also look to move to a new school next year. If a 9th grader told me to f off or callef me a b©tch. That would be an instant referrel at my school.
    There are better places to teach out there.
     
  3. ladybugteacher

    ladybugteacher Companion

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    Sep 10, 2016

    Unfortunately time outs and referrals do not work when the parents choose not to punish at home. I have one student who irreverently refers to Dhall as either his office hours or his "date with miss B".
     
  4. Nab

    Nab Companion

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    Sep 10, 2016

    I can only write them up. And, if the vice principal feels like it they may or may not get two days of lunch dentention (where they eat in a classroom and eat last) or a day of in-school detention. Very rarely will he do more than this, because a) he doesn't like dealing with discipline and b) their lawsuit scares them. (Though, I believe before the lawsuit things were still run this way.) I can send students to a "buddy teacher" - but ONLY if they have physically threatened me or another student. And, then it is only for ten minutes and I MUST write a State Referral. The VP and principal told us that they would prefer that we not do that, and just handle it internally.

    The 7th graders refer to the alternate school, that students are sent to, as "fun" - because, they just work on computers all day in a computer lab. They also don't see lunch detention as a huge deal - it's just eating in a room instead of the lunch room. In school detention is run by the VP and I've overheard students saying that he lets them do what they want; and they do their school work in groups for the first half of the day and than talk for the rest of the day.

    I do have a question -there is one 8th grade math teacher, one 8th grade science teacher, and one 8th grade social studies teacher - the students all adore these three ladies. The other 8th grade ELA teacher has been at the school for three years. She came out of retirement and had taught high school (mostly 11th and 12th grade) for several years before retiring. (I think she only ever taught middle school at the start of her career way back in the early 1970s) Anyway, I've overheard several students mention that her English classes are just as bad as mine - that the students are on instagram and snapchat in her room. That they are taking videos of her (without her knowledge) and posting them. Now, I know that this woman is just as annoyed by the way things are done as I am. I get the feeling that she is going to be leaving the school in a year or two, actually. But, I'm wondering - should I tell her that the students are using phones in her class to record her? Or should I leave it alone, as I have no real proof.
     
  5. justwanttoteach

    justwanttoteach Cohort

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    Sep 10, 2016

    Nab-
    It sounds like you are in tough spot! I thought about your current class situation a lot. I agree with much of what you have said already. I seriously hope I didn't upset or offend you when I said "People who invite teachers/admins to class unknowingly give...." It was so not my intention! On a Positive note- since you DIDN'T invite people..you are already ahead of the game! Looking back, I wish I had the foresight last year to not invite people into my room. I am confident that you will be a billion times stronger in classroom management after this year. My toughest class on this years caseload does not hold a candle to my sophomore class from ______ from last year. It truly sucks having "That class" This situation will teach you so much! You will learn when to not speak and when to lay into them.

    Something that I figured out last year with my toughest class: These kiddos had the reputation on campus as being the "bad/dumb" class. They knew how other teachers, students, and even parents viewed them. They were so used to being seen this way they began to act that way! It makes sense really. Some of the most powerful and successful lessons I taught my sophomore class from___ had nothing to do with content. Once I relaxed a little and allowed them some choice in how we would proceed things became more manageable. I truly believe that sometimes they were acting so ridiculous because they wanted to see if they could make me laugh/smile. I was so busy trying to be in charge and the firm dictator that I RARELY smiled in this class. I also noticed that if we made a deal at the start of class and I kept my end of the deal they would keep theirs. For example, when students walked into class I had a list of 3-4 things on the board. I explained to students that IF we finished these things they could listen to music, work on the Chromebooks, or talk for a bit during any remaining time.(Disclaimer-I always planned things that I KNEW would take the majority of the period..very rarely did we have more than 3-4 mins left for them. But it only worked because there were times that we had 7-8 mins for them.) If I couldnt get through those things they didnt get the time. . It was simple. But when they knew what was coming and what they had to do to get what they wanted...they did much better. I hope things are going better! Hugs!
     
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  6. ladybugteacher

    ladybugteacher Companion

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    Sep 10, 2016

    I would tell her. I would suggest do her one better and show her what smart phones these days can do. That poor woman may be completely unaware of what snap chat and instagram is.
     
  7. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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    This is what happens when we have an entitled generation raised on "What will you give me for?" and then are handed electronics to raise them. When they don't have to be responsible for anything or be held accountable for their actions, they couldn't care and are unmotivated. "Go ahead and suspend me, it's what I want anyway. I won't have to come to school." None of it REALLY works, motivates the students to change, addresses behavior and in fact, reinforces what THEY already want. "Hey if I x, I know y will happen." In Middle School, they're so aware of this and exploit it. It's even WORSE if they know consequences won't be enforced at home and/or if the parents will just side with the students, "Oh you don't have to listen to the teacher. It wasn't your fault," and blame YOU or "the other kids." It's ALWAYS the "other kids" that are the problem. I taught third grade and dealt with ALL of this last year. I had a mom who didn't like me and told me what I needed to do in my classroom to better suit her child's needs. LOL Nice try, lady. I later found out that she just bribed her kid to behave and do well in school. Great parenting. :roll::rofl:

    The only thing you can really do is try to make the lessons as engaging, motivating and inviting as possible. Find some ways to bring in the student's interests in culture, society, entertainment, technology, etc., as possible so that they don't even realize that they're learning. When students are having fun (whatever that means,) they don't care about anything else. I created a Quizizz, which I recommend, because it's a great way to assess students, reinforce material, and really engages students with the technology component. It's also interactive, and colorful, and has memes. It's all flashy and "stuff" which kids love. We really need to dangle those keys in front of the kids to keep them engaged. It's really hard in MS because they already have figured out how to work the system to get what they want and many have already solidified bad thoughts & habits, which are hard (impossible?) to break... this is why I'll NEVER teach above 6th grade. And I give mad props to you MS teachers, because you deal with a lot. Not to mention all the social /emotional and physical changes the kids are dealing with. ________ THAT NOISE! :!!::warning:
     
  8. Enem

    Enem Guest

    Sep 11, 2016

    Hi,
    I can't believe you guys have so many rules and regulations in the US. Here in Europe (France) you can do almost anything in terms of discipline and consequences as long as it is morally acceptable, and people generally trust teachers to stay within the limits of common sense. You can decide to give students detention, to expel them from your class or do some time out in the hall if they misbehave, to keep them at recess etc... without necessarily mentioning it to any authority. I was also amazed when I read about teachers giving candy to good students!
    Reading all the replies, I get the feelings that US teachers have their feet and hands tied and are being watched every step they take, is that right? It must be really difficult to manage classrooms in such conditions. I'm not saying we don't have our problems, of course we have the same issues with brain-washed teenagers and cell phones, disrespect, lack of motivation, etc... but at least we do have a sense of freedom in how we can deal with those difficulties.

    Best wishes with your difficult class. It sure is easier said than done, but try to keep calm, smile, and pretend you don't care.

    Best wishes,
     
  9. Loomistrout

    Loomistrout Devotee

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    Sep 11, 2016

    This may be true but what facts do you have? Have you discussed the VP's feelings-ideology with him? I ask because some teachers, looking for blame, often jump on administration or parents or both. There's a chance you may be right, however, I know principals who feel strongly about meaningful discipline and consequences that make a difference but have stated their hands are tied due to mandates and pressure from above. They would like to suspend students from school for a day, two or three and/or expel but that effects their ADA ($) so they have to yield to orders from district which directs them to keep students in school at all costs.

    Discipline is often a repetitive cycle of blame: teachers blame ad'; ad' blames teachers; everyone blames parents; parents blame the school. It's an adult game of "Tag, you're it!" Solutions are rarely inward or to stop and examine what I am doing. Tradition dictates "If the teacher/principal/parent (take your pick) would just do their job I could do mine." Then there is the gene pool rationalization. It goes something like, "How come Mrs. Soandso always gets the good kids? If I had students like that I could generate learning too." Interesting fact is effective teachers seem to get all the good kids every year. They probably hang out at hospital labs checking DNA samples.
     
  10. DobbyChatt

    DobbyChatt Rookie

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    Sep 11, 2016

    I sympathize with you, and take heart that hundreds if not thousands of other teachers go to work every day facing the same issues. Although my management has been good so far this year, apathy and answering for super-low test scores is making me desperately want a career change once my contract is up in two years.

    I'm sorry to re-state anything that may have already been said, but I would definitely meet with the assistant principal and lay everything out for him/her. Pick the worst few students and focus on them--hey, sometimes it isn't fair and you have to make examples out of those few at all costs. Anyone who has been in education should know that some classes definitely "work together" for what I like to call "full class revolts". I think you are fighting this.

    Finally, it seems ABSURD that you cannot give students after school detentions to be served in your room. Directly ask your VP to approve this for you. If not, you should at least be able to pull students from lunch any time that you feel necessary. If they won't support consequences such as these, leave the school next year, period.
     
  11. minnie

    minnie Habitué

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    Sep 11, 2016

    Everything I have read on this post is why teaching is no longer a desirable profession. Who wants to be subjected to this everyday without any support?! Unfortunately this is happening at a lot of schools. I am fearful that highly qualified and passionate teachers will be a thing of the past because they're going to leave. I'm extremely sorry, Nab for what you are going through.
     
  12. ladybugteacher

    ladybugteacher Companion

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    Sep 11, 2016

    This is exactly why some times I wish I stayed in Engineering
     
  13. Nab

    Nab Companion

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    Sep 11, 2016

    I've spoken to the VP, yes. He was actually at my interview. I remember the only thing he wanted to know was if I would handle issues in the classroom. He actually said he didn't want to be bothered with discipline. In a meeting, about two days before school started, he again stated that he doesn't want too many students in his office. He told us that if we write more than four students up (during a eight week period) he'd want to have a talk with us about our lack of classroom management.

    Having written up six students in three weeks, I did go and see him. He said many things: the children are poor and have seen horrible things; many are raising themselves. I have to understand that they act out for attention. He wants to be seen as a father-figure to these students, so he won't be harsh on them. I have to understand that. So, I need to deal with as much privately as I can - because he wants the students to trust and like him. And, they won't trust or like him, if he always has to discipline them for me.



    Finally, it seems ABSURD that you cannot give students after school detentions to be served in your room. Directly ask your VP to approve this for you. If not, you should at least be able to pull students from lunch any time that you feel necessary. If they won't support consequences such as these, leave the school next year, period.


    I have asked about after school detention or something else of a similar nature. I was flat out told no. About half of the students are bus riders and I was told we cannot kept them after, as they will miss their bus. Apparently, we cannot rely on parents to pick up bus riders, as most parents work late or nights. I cannot pull them from lunch, only ask that they eat last. Every child in the school has free breakfast and free lunch - we have to let them eat it and every student must eat both.

    I'm honestly seriously thinking about breaking my contract in December. I honestly don't know if I can do a whole year of this. I do know that, as of right now, I'm leaving at the end of May. I cannot do this another year. Next year I'll be doing 8th grade ELA again - I teach some 7th graders in a couple of keyboarding classes (which I never asked to teach. Actually, when I was hired, I was told I'd be teaching 6th grade ELA. They continued to tell me it would be 6th grade ELA for weeks. I showed upped two days before school and was told they had changed it to two 8th grade ELA classes and two 7th grade keyboarding classes, as another new teacher decided she really wanted 6th grade. And she is close childhood friends with the other 6th grade ELA teacher.) right now and they are WORSE than the 8th graders. I cannot take two years of horrible students who curse me out daily. Already I hate waking up in the morning.




    You know, I made posts about this district/situation since the summer. I just knew there was something off about everything. Believe me, they barely mentioned their district's issues during the interview. And, I was so worried about a job, I just took it. But. . .I always had a bad feeling about this school and district. It never felt right to me, and now I know why. I should have never taken the job. Eight months seems like an awful long time.
     
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2016
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  14. ladybugteacher

    ladybugteacher Companion

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    Sep 11, 2016

    I know your pain having unsupportive admin
     
  15. Nab

    Nab Companion

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    Sep 11, 2016

    Yes and thank you. The VP would rather be a friend to the students, which is fine - but, there are moments when you need to get tough. And the principal is off in la-la land - more worried about the school looking good than the students actually doing anything. And the office staff - more interested in gossip then helping people out with anything.

    Meanwhile, the district itself is all over the place: always late with paperwork, always late with emails, constantly coming up with "fresh" ways to make things easier - but they just make things harder on us teachers, never returning calls, and always shifting blame.
     
  16. ladybugteacher

    ladybugteacher Companion

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    Sep 11, 2016

    If I may ask how old are you? Your situation reminds me of that Simpsons episode where Flanders is the principal and then the whole school completely loses discipline.
     
  17. Nab

    Nab Companion

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    Sep 12, 2016

    I am in my early 30s and look like someone who is in her mid-20s to late-20s.

    It really is so weird. Today during 5th hour - 7th grade keyboarding class - six of my students didn't show up. The other students told me that these six students (four of whom I wrote up on Friday) had decided that they were never coming back to my class. Apparently, they were found trying to get into my classroom (we do keyboarding in a lab - they have never gone to my room nor have I ever told them to go to my room.) and they told the principal that I had told them to meet in my classroom. They were clearly trying to a)skip class and b) break into my room. Will anything be done about it? I know NOTHING will be done about it.
     
  18. ladybugteacher

    ladybugteacher Companion

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    Sep 12, 2016

    I am seriously considering going back to dancing. Did it through college. Maybe we can do it together :tearsofjoy:
     
  19. Nab

    Nab Companion

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    Thanks, but I'm a terrible dancer. I wanted high school, but if I cannot get that, I am considering taking the PRAXIS for K-3. I think lower elementary might be better and more rewarding. I loved high school during the second part of my internship. I think K-3 or 10-12 is for me.
     
  20. Milsey

    Milsey Habitué

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    Sep 13, 2016

    I was in the same bind my first year. Same grade, too. It's obvious this class is going to deteriorate further - fights, students touching each other - unless you do something about it. You're obviously not a yeller, so I would try to make your classroom a fun place to be. It seems theyre dying of boredom. Who copies down definitions? That's just a waste of time. I'd rather they put the word in a sentence. Tap into students' interests - music/youtube videos - and try to incorporate them into your class. You could have them select a song, play for class, get them to reflect why they chose this song. Then get them up in front of the class for this. You could do a funny dance while the music plays. :) And it would tie in with express/reflect type writing.
     
  21. Nab

    Nab Companion

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    Sep 13, 2016

    Well, I have yelled. And, they are already touching one another and screaming at each other to "Stop" and "Shut Up". All they want to do is watch horror movies and listen to music on their phones. Last year (7th grade) they had a teacher who left in November. From December until May, they had an uncertified woman in the room with them. She taught them nothing - they watched horror movies and listened to music all day every day.

    They shouldn't be dying of boredom. I've tried to make my classroom fun. Fun activities, interactive lessons, youtube videos, music, relating things to sports or hunting (their favorite things). I even do reflective writing - they hate that. They seem to be having fun for five minutes - until they lose control and start talking loudly about off topic things or screaming for one another to SHUT UP.

    These are 8th graders and even the "smart" ones, who score "above level" on standardized tests, barely have a C in the class. And, truth be told, I've graded very easily during the first four weeks of school. These students cannot write papers (they complain if anything is longer than a three sentence paragraph), they have no idea what irony is, they are confused by the most basic of literacy concepts (plot, character traits). They are too lazy to read a one page short story, they all scored at a fourth or fifth grade level on a diagnostic test, they rush all their work. Most of these students don't even know what a pronoun is.

    I honestly think it is much too late to teach them what they'll need for next year. But, according to them, that is okay - they are going to be rich. How? Sports, marrying well, or going to college and getting a degree - because, college is super easy. (They have cousins who told them)


    Meanwhile, today we tried group work (an internet scavenger hunt on a new topic - they watched videos, played games, and read to find the answers. BTW: they had 80 minutes to answer 16 questions that were all in the video- none finished.) and it was at this time that the District Curriculum Coordinator came in. She left a huge packet of class management materials and a note: she didn't like my lesson, I need to gain control,she asked a student what they were doing and he couldn't tell her, they students are uncomfortable in my room, I need to dress less fancy - these children are from poverty and I really should rethink wearing such dressy clothes in the classroom. (My clothes are from Target and JcPenney. They were all on sale, too.) Oh, and could I send her my classroom rules and producers and send her my lesson plans from now on? Okay. Cool. She's only come to see me, but that's okay. I sent her my class producers (which I model every day and the students ignore. Oh, they can remember what to do for tissue, but not how to walk into the room.) and she emailed me back:

    "Great. Now, model these with ALL your classes. Put aside all other learning, and do these for the next two days - the whole two hours. You model, have students model, and do it again and again. I will be randomly popping into your rooms on Thursday and Friday to see how these have come along. I will be asking students to model for me. If there is little to no improvement, I will have to bring this issue up with HR. Thanks for all you do!"

    Um, I know I need improvement and I'm trying so damn hard. But, this is my first year, we are four weeks in, and I have a group whose other teachers all taught them in 6th or/and 7th grade. The email sounds a bit like they are threatening to fire me?
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2016
  22. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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    Sep 13, 2016

    A couple of problems you have:
    1. They already have programmed BAD behaviors and habits, which you WILL struggle to correct. Their teacher and situation last year didn't help. I was in the SAME BOAT! The kids' second grade teacher was out to lunch so these kids basically just go to do whatever and thought they'd pull that crap in my room. I wasn't having it.

    2. What you consider "fun," they don't. It's really frustrating when you take a page from the teacher's handbook and create what you consider "engaging" (that word) lessons and all of a sudden the kids just look at you awkwardly and say, "This is dumb," "This is boring," "I don't get it," or "I don't want to do this." It can shatter you if you take it personally. So don't. It's hard, but it's not really YOU. It's the group of kids and truthfully, this generation. It's the X-box/ Iphone generation. Even my third graders would much rather just play on their devices all day.. What we have to teach them just isn't enjoyable to them. TOO BAD! Try asking them what they WOULD like to do and how you could tie it into the curriculum. "Sorry watching horror movies isn't an option."

    And the reason they may get frustrated and lose interest if it's TOO HARD they'd probably rather just tune out and/or act up than admit that it's too hard & that they need help. They're at an age where it's just "cooler" to not try and give up, right? It's all about hormones, peer pressure and relationships. You remember middle school yourself? I do. UGH! I hated those days! It was really about flying under the radar and surviving...

    3. Laying down procedures, routines & practicing them may not be the worst idea in the world. Because the repetition may annoy them enough to where they just DO what you need them to do. My kids have to CONSTANTLY practice sitting down and lining up, etc., and it drives them crazy so they get to the point where they regulate themselves and just DO IT without all the fuss. I have my kids ALL DAY so it's easier for me, but you could as well. If they want to act like small children, treat them as such.

    4. Middle school is just hell anyway. Kudos for doing it, because there's no way I would. My kids last year were apathetic and had enough attitude for me.

    The group I have now, is still iffy, but is WAY BETTER!

    Just know you're not alone, it gets better, and keep pushing through one day at a time. We're here.

    :):thumbs::clapping:
     
  23. justwanttoteach

    justwanttoteach Cohort

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    Um, I know I need improvement and I'm trying so damn hard. But, this is my first year, we are four weeks in, and I have a group whose other teachers all taught them in 6th or/and 7th grade. The email sounds a bit like they are threatening to fire me?[/QUOTE]

    Are you a member of the Union? Talk to them! It sounds threatening...I would make sure you are in contact with them about it. Is the person who said it, your Evaluator? Doesnt seem write that they are saying things like that
     
  24. Nab

    Nab Companion

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    Sep 14, 2016

    Are you a member of the Union? Talk to them! It sounds threatening...I would make sure you are in contact with them about it. Is the person who said it, your Evaluator? Doesnt seem write that they are saying things like that[/QUOTE]


    I haven't contacted the Union, yet. I'm a bit nervous, actually. The woman is the Curriculum Coordinator of the District. She isn't my Evaluator.

    Laying down procedures, routines & practicing them may not be the worst idea in the world. Because the repetition may annoy them enough to where they just DO what you need them to do.

    Well, I gave them each a copy and went over the procedures for thirty minutes today. Nothing but eye rolls and nasty comments. One of my procedures is that if you see trash anywhere in the room, pick it up and throw it away - it is what responsible young adults do. One girl said: "I'll responsibility not throw it away." and there were several comments about how they will not pick up things that don't belong to them, because it isn't their problem. They were supposed to sign the procedure sheet and return it to me - eight of twenty-two students didn't sign and three of fourteen students didn't sign. So, I made a note of it and put that note in their grade folders.

    To be perfectly honest, I don't know what to do. I have gone over and over class procedures daily for the last four weeks. Barely any student follows them. One student even shouted out that they didn't do anything, because I'm "not strict." Okay, so I'll change that.

    I went to administration and asked for help. I have eleven (out of 22) in one class that are just not following rules and procedures. I have four (out of 14) in another class that think they rule the room. I have six (out of 15) in another class that think they are some kind of gang. And I have four (out of 15) in my last class that run around, like they own the place.

    I asked administration for help, because most of these students are the "good" ones and the "smart" ones - and all they can tell me is: "Read First Days of School." (did it, doing stuff from it - not working) or "Talk to each student causing issues one-on-one and maybe give them jobs in the room." (Did that, too - didn't change a thing.)

    I have a Secondary Degree and nothing prepared for this. Even the worst ninth graders in my internship (who had severe mental illnesses and violent streaks) were better behaved than this middle school's best eight grade students.
     
  25. otterpop

    otterpop Phenom

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    Sep 14, 2016

    Try not to resort to lecturing. It rarely helps. Instead, very briefly review the rules at the start of class each day. Not like, "okay, guys, you're not getting this, so let's go over it agaaaain..." but rather, "Class, before we start class today, we're going to review our rules. Repeat after me!" Keep it short, keep it positive. Also, I know you've probably mentioned this, but find some kind of system that you can follow through with. For example, warning, move your seat, phone call home and lunch detention. Whatever you can do, do it. The consequence isn't what matters so much as teaching them that you will follow through every. single. time. If they like movies, give them a talley every time they're doing what they're supposed to as a class, and when they get to __ talleys, they get to __. Also, write or send home notes for the students who are doing what they're supposed to be doing, to thank them for showing good character traits.
     
  26. Nab

    Nab Companion

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    Sep 14, 2016

    I already do that, and it hasn't helped any. I've done everything that has been suggested in this thread, and NOTHING has worked. To be totally honest, I've started to develop some theories about what may be going on.

    Well, there are two things: one - I don't feel I should reward students for doing the most basic of things. (i.e. seating in their seats, listening to directions, etc.) I feel rewards should be given out for going the extra mile (improving in work, helping classmates) or for doing something (winning a group review game). Two - the state has adopted its own curriculum for ELA. It is very "on task" based - we are required to do x number of things everyday and we HAVE to stay on the state's schedule. There really is no time for movie days or free days. And, if someone from the school board was to walk in on a Friday - when the entire district is required to give tests/quizzes - and saw my class watching a movie instead. . . I'd be in big trouble.


    My theories on why behavior has not improved, despite daily reminders:

    1. They only had a teacher for half the year last year. The second half of the year was with some random woman, who let them watch movies and listen to music. They want that back, so they are trying to get me out to get her back. (or someone like her.)

    2. They don't like the state curriculum that I have to teach (and I have to teach it the way they say - there is even a script I have to follow. I was told, in no uncertain terms, that I have to stick to the script and the lessons - no adding or subtracting materials.) and so they are acting out.

    3. I have a physical disability. There are no physically disabled students on campus - just mentally disabled students, who are nonverbal. Maybe my physically disability makes them uncomfortable, so they are trying to get me out.

    4. They don't understand the material, and instead of asking for help - they would rather make an issue, to get us off track. They do understand the material, but realize many others don't - not wanting to appear too smart - they are causing issues to get off track.
     
  27. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    It's true that students should not be rewarded for sitting in their chairs, following directions, and the like, but, if you are struggling to gain control of the classroom, it might be worth it to reward those behaviors until they are trained. Once you have control, you can take away the reward or change the stakes and make it harder to earn one. I would bet the lack of structure last year is 90% of the problem. A lot of kids these days would prefer goofing off to work. (You probably know some adults who prefer goofing off to work as well!) You have the daunting task of retraining them. Dangle a carrot. At this point, what could it hurt?
     
    Luv2TeachInTX and otterpop like this.
  28. greendream

    greendream Cohort

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    Sep 15, 2016

    Nab, you could very well be describing the school I worked at about 5 years ago. Seriously, it might be the same school (I hope not!).

    All we heard from admin was a relentless refrain of "handle discipline internally." And yet, every single punishment you could dream up was absolutely forbidden.

    Can't send them out of the room. They're missing valuable instruction.

    Can't talk to them one-on-one during class. That costs valuable instruction time.

    Can't move them to the corner or away from other students. That embarrasses them.

    Can't give writing as a punishment. Then they have a negative view of writing.

    Can't keep them after school. That would be an undue hardship on the poor parents.

    Can't give rewards unless we give it to the whole class. It would be unfair for some kids not to receive one.

    It very nearly drove me to a mental breakdown, and I'm not exaggerating. I will also be completely honest with you about this forum. A lot of the advice you're getting is from people who teach in much better schools than yours, even if they don't realize it. You might get a lot of techniques that would be helpful in your average classroom, but not in your own.

    Unfortunately, the only way I solved my particular problem was by moving to a better school. :sorry: I hope it does turn around for you. In any case, I advise you not to break your contract in December. Do what you have to do to finish it out, because you will be listing that school on your resume for years and years.
     
  29. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    Sep 15, 2016

    Wow! Talk about micromanagement...maybe the students are rebelling just like you!! No one likes their every move dictated to them.
    And some of your thoughts might not be far off the mark. Your students certainly want to run the classroom.
     
  30. Nab

    Nab Companion

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    Sep 15, 2016

    I had a long talk with the other 8th grade ELA teacher today. She isn't from the area, either. She just took the job - coming out of retirement three years ago - as a favor to a family member. She told me a lot of things:

    1 Yes, all the other teachers are friends with the student's parents or grew up with the parents. So, there is no separation between personal and private.
    2. The administration will always tell you "handle it internally" and "it's classroom management". So will the school board. They are totally no help - don't even ask. In fact, if a teacher has a lot of write ups or complains, they will gang up on the teacher and blame the teacher for poor student behavior.
    3. Our 8th graders drove out their ELA teacher last year. The administration, the school board, even the students and parents will say: "Ms. So-and-so left because she divorced and needed a fresh start in another state." In reality - she did divorce, but she could have stayed. She chose to leave because of the lack of discipline and the lack of support. I've actually found her on social media and contact her - she confirmed the story. The school was horrible, the students were horrible. She had taught for eight years and was only at this school for two - she nearly had a nervous breakdown and she actually thinks the issues with the students and lack of school support, played a role in her divorce.
    4. The school has six ELA positions - the school has gone through eight ELA teachers (in three positions) in five years.
    5. Aside from ELA, the students have "run" off at least five teachers in the last three years. A fact the students take pride in (they've bragged, in front of me, about how they made one teacher sob and leave the school in the middle of the day - never to return) and a fact that the school tries to hide.
    6. The students - even the "smart" ones - only pass standardized tests, because they drill it into them for two weeks before the test. In reality, the "A and B students are really C and D students - administration wants lots of 'give me' and 'group' points." Something the other 8th grade ELA teacher refuses to do. In reality, most of the school is about three to five levels below their grade level - and the district hides it anyway they can.


    The 8th graders went on a field trip today. My first hour came in - and even though I had gone over procedures yesterday - they all walked around, talked loudly, took out and passed out candy, ate in the room, and ran around the room. They aren't even supposed to have outside food on campus and they most certainly aren't supposed to eat in classrooms. I went to the office and asked for write up slips - to write up 14 of them for eating and having outside food - food I threw away in front of them. I was told: "They were excited about the field trip - let it go." Excuse me. . .they broke school and district rules. They ate in front of me with big old smiles on their faces. Whatever.

    I really don't want to be at the school. I'm thinking - in November or December - maybe I should ask to transfer schools midyear? Like, work out my year contract at a high school or another middle school (with better support.) I feel like I should talk to someone about this.

    Everyone has offered solid advice, but nothing works with these students. They do not care. They have run off multiple teachers and administration and the "local" teachers ignore that fact. As was stated above, this is a different breed of students. They are from a small area, they are entitled and lazy and stuck in this bubble - the world revolves around them.

    I spoke of her before - the other new ELA teacher, who teaches seventh grade - she wrote up a whole class. The two seventh grade enrichment classes, that I teach, always say they "can't stand her" and that they enjoy "clowning" in her class. Well, she has has been out for three days. Yesterday, she didn't attend a new teacher meeting at the school board. I emailed her and asked if she was okay - she responded that she was "thinking about somethings". I fear these students may have run off another teacher.
     
  31. Milsey

    Milsey Habitué

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    Sep 16, 2016

    Then don't teach! They are brats and b's, and don't deserve to be in any school. Tell them when they stop talking, you will begin. When someone acts inappropriately, just say "Get out!" in a forceful manner and call the office to tell them that Tamisha or Rodney is on the way. Talk to your admin about setting up a resource room for students who can't behave. They building sub or a daily sub could be put in there to watch them. Tell them they can return to your class when they can behave like young adults, not animals.
     
  32. Tulipteacher

    Tulipteacher Companion

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    Sep 16, 2016

    I have been reading this thread for awhile. I think you should quit now. Then you wouldn't even have to list it on your resume if you apply in another region of the country. If you plan on hanging in there all year, you may not get renewed, and that would make it harder to get another job.

    I seriously doubt the district will transfer you mid-year. I do not think that is a possibility.

    I don't agree with everything you've done. For example, I don't think you should have made it a procedure to pick up trash even if it's not theirs. It's hard enough to get them to deal with their own trash. I also don't agree that a kid who is below grade level will be able to pass standardized tests just from being taught to the test for a few weeks.

    But I do think the poster who said that some of the ideas won't work because your school isn't a typical school.
     
    Linguist92021 likes this.
  33. Nab

    Nab Companion

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    Sep 16, 2016

    There is a large part of me that knows I should quit. But, I don't have another job nor enough money saved to move. I'd have to stay in the area and hope for something mid-year - which I doubt will happen. If I knew that I could possibly get something in November or December, I would quit tomorrow. But, I have to stay in the area.

    I have that, because every other teacher has it. It's a school rule - pick up trash around campus or in classrooms.

    I also don't agree that a student below level will be able to pass standardized tests by just drilling it into them over a few weeks. But, that is how the administration does it.
     
  34. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    Sep 16, 2016

    That sounds like such a tough situation. I'm going into teaching next year and that terrifies me. I'm not sure if I should still focus on urban education. Does the school offer any paid leave for health issues? If so, it might be possible to get paid health leave if you saw a psychiatrist and explained how the situation is giving you anxiety or depression? I'm not completely sure, but I struggled with anxiety a few years ago and my mom got 3 months off from her job.
     
  35. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    Sep 16, 2016

    If you leave and go to another school in November and December, it might be nearly as hard. Starting in the middle of a school year in a middle school is far harder than starting at the beginning of the year.

    As I read your posts, I don't think you are doing that much wrong. I do think that you are very unhappy and seem surprised that 8th graders are testing you so much. If they mess up, give them the consequence quickly and move on to teaching or the field trip etc. Expect challenges and when they happen-deal with it and then move on. Focus first on the good students who want to learn. By doing this it will motivate you. Then just teach and do the right thing.
     
  36. Nab

    Nab Companion

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    Sep 16, 2016

    My degree is actually in Secondary Education. I never wanted middle school and only took the job out of fear of finding nothing else. If I did leave, I would try for high school or private tutoring.
     
  37. Nab

    Nab Companion

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    Sep 17, 2016

    I'm sorry for not seeing this earlier. We are in a rural area. I'd actually much rather urban, as that is where I did my internship. I can handle urban students, but not students who are stuck in this bubble. We get insurance, though it doesn't start for new teachers until late October/early November.

    The district gives ten days off a year: two personal and eight sick days. You do not get paid sick leave or personal days. If you need longer time off for medical leave, they will pay 25% of your salary for five school/working days, and then stop paying - you are then considered to have abandoned your job and you are asked not to return. Now, I suppose you could add those days to the ten sick/personal days and have fifteen days off for medical leave (or maternity, because their maternity leave works the same way), but it doesn't give a lot of room for emergencies.

    Looking at the paperwork, the health care plan actually majorly sucks. As does their medical leave. And, my raw salary (before taxes) was supposed to be $41, 657 a year -but, because they hold the salary until the end of the month. . .I take home $2,560 a month, after taxes. :eek: Of course, all those information was told to us new teachers after we signed the contracts. And, when you look up this kind of information on the district, it is very hard to find.
     
  38. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    Sep 17, 2016

    ^
    I'm sorry to hear that. Is there any way for your financial situation that you can leave now and get a job in retail or something similar temporarily? Then you could look for long term subbing jobs or anything that opens up in the middle of the year. I've been in a similar situation at a summer program but not nearly as bad and it seems damaging for your mental health.
     
  39. justwanttoteach

    justwanttoteach Cohort

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    Sep 17, 2016

     
  40. Nab

    Nab Companion

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    Sep 17, 2016

    I don't think I could do something else temporarily. There aren't that many jobs around here and most jobs start at $8.50 a hour. The highest paying jobs (that aren't connected to the government, a hospital, oil, or a school district) only pay $10.00. And rarely do jobs offer insurance.

    I've had some long talks with a lot of people, and I'm going to take the two PRAXIS exams needed for PK-3. I've worked with children in the 3-7 age range before, and really enjoyed it. Just like I really enjoyed working with teenagers in the 15-18 year old range. It's just middle schoolers I cannot get on with. I'm also going to check government jobs, and see if maybe something comes up.

    Until then, I'll try and power through it. Apparently all the new teachers at the school are having issues - we were all sent an email tonight telling us that on Monday all new teachers at the school MUST attended a PLC on classroom management. The meeting will be from 3:15-5:30.
     

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