A Rant from a Student Teacher

Discussion in 'New Teachers' started by Raye, Apr 18, 2009.

  1. Raye

    Raye Rookie

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2009
    Messages:
    25
    Likes Received:
    0

    Apr 18, 2009

    Just needed to vent here.

    My cooperating teacher thinks I am incapable of enforcing classroom management. Students are constantly pulling out their cell phones, eating, or talking with their neighbors at unacceptable volumes, and it's become a real hassle to constantly reprimand them. It's bad enough that students don't necessarily see me as the main authority figure because I am just a student teacher after all. I'm getting a bit fed up with this chaotic situation, and I believe most of it stems from my CT not doing much about it initially. I observed him for the entire third quarter and whenever students got loud or noisy, he pretty much let it slide. There was maybe two occassions in which he did something about the noise, but it didn't involve anything that changed students' behaviors the next time we saw them. This is coming from a guy who walks out of the classroom to talk on his cell phone during quizzes and types personal e-mails when students read out-loud and not follow along with the material. I find it hypocritical that he tells me that I should work on this aspect of teaching more when he didn't even do anything about it when he was in charge of the class. I understand very well that I am not the best enforcer of discipline in the world, but my CT did not set a very good example for me and I'm trying my best to keep control of things. In fact, I have no clue what his discipline system is because I don't think he even has one. For a guy who answers "I don't care" in response to students' questions and tells me "It doesn't really matter" about practically everything (i.e. checking students' work thoroughly and whether or not I should review material with them), it's really frustrating for me. I know that a lot of people endured nightmares being in the position of a student teacher, but I just have three weeks left to go and can't wait to have my own classroom where I can set up and enforce a system of discipline to maintain some kind of order.
     
  2.  
  3. Bumble

    Bumble Groupie

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2008
    Messages:
    1,225
    Likes Received:
    1

    Apr 18, 2009

    All I can say since you are a student teacher and it is not your room is agree with everything your CT says. I think it makes your life easier. Student teaching will be over fast and you'll have your own class. As for getting the students to take your seriously because you're young, I would be very firm and consistent. Take their cell phones when you see them and turn them into your CT. It is hard to take cellphones, but your have to be very fast. If they talk to you with disrespect remind them that you're an adult and that they were raised to respect all adults. In your own class if this doesn't work, then I would take things from them. Some of my classes are banned from using the crayons because they disrespect me and throw crayons. Now they do boring work, but the respect is growing. :)
     
  4. MissL

    MissL Rookie

    Joined:
    May 3, 2008
    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    0

    Apr 18, 2009

    Does the school have a discipline code in effect? If I were you I wouldn't let your CT bother you. Just reply "Yes, sir" with a nice big smile and say “I think you are right” and then ignore! I would also recommend reporting your CT to your supervisor at your program so no one else has this awful teacher as an example.

    See if you can get your hands on the school's discipline code, read it and use it. These students are in high school they are wise enough to know what appropriate behavior is. They probably do not act like this in other classes because it would not be tolerated. They are mirroring the behavior of their teacher- he didn’t care so why should they?

    What subject do you teach? Make sure that you do care and show genuine interest. They want to be respected and if they are they’ll return it.

    If none of that works… Next time a phone rings...try to answer it and say such and such is not here...he/she is in class! Then take the phone. It might embarrass them and they will learn to put their cell phone on silent.
    :D
     
  5. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2005
    Messages:
    4,395
    Likes Received:
    7

    Apr 18, 2009

    By the way, one method that works pretty well with cell phones is to put out a basket by the door, and let the kids know that all phones go in that basket as they walk in, and they can take them when they walk out. That way they know where they are the whole time (not crammed in the back of a teacher's desk), plus they know a specific amount of time they won't be able to use it. This method requires a lot of trust between you and the students, and you have to talk to them about why you need this to happen.
     
  6. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2006
    Messages:
    9,154
    Likes Received:
    1

    Apr 18, 2009

    KC, the first objection I would have is someone might pick up mine on the way out before I get to it. How would you answer that?

    Also, find out what the school policy is. Several years ago I got in trouble for temporarily taking away cell phones during breakfast time (when it was in the policy that they aren't supposed to use them). I gave them back at the end and I only took those who defied putting them away. It got their attention but another adult turned me in because she didn't think it was the right thing to do. Turns out the supervisor agreed. Fast forward to two years later...now it is common practice to do that. Go figure.
     
  7. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2005
    Messages:
    4,395
    Likes Received:
    7

    Apr 18, 2009

    Hm, well that's never come up here cut, but I can see how maybe in a bigger school it would be true. I do know of a guy who has one of those mailbox things where each student gets his own box to put it in, and another who used little kids' shoe boxes for each student.

    Another option would be for you the teacher to hand them out, but would take more time. I guess you would have to choose if you wanted to give up the minute or two to hand them out, or several minutes in class being disrupted.
     
  8. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2005
    Messages:
    4,395
    Likes Received:
    7

    Apr 18, 2009

    I must have posted while you were editing cut!

    I agree, it does require administration support, as well as parental understanding. And yes, there are parents who will insist that a student cannot possibly be away from a phone for 50 whole minutes-never mind the fact that you and I and they surely did not have a cell phone attached to our ear during high school! It's something you have to have all involved on board, but to me, if it's the policy, then students will abide by it. I think having the set time helps-you may not use it during history, but in between classes you can, or whatever.

    One thing that has helped our school-we used to try to ban cell phones for the entire day, including lunch. Boy, that was like :banghead:! We won't make that mistake again. Let them use it during specific times, and it will make your life easier.

    Sorry if we got away from the OP's rant a little!
     
  9. Raye

    Raye Rookie

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2009
    Messages:
    25
    Likes Received:
    0

    Apr 19, 2009

    Thanks for all your responses.

    Like I said, I just have three weeks left to endure this nonsense so I'm just roughing it out from here. I'm teaching English and when we read out-loud, it's common for students to think they can get away with things. I would give them like an interactive worksheet to fill out during the reading, but I feel my lessons are already a little rushed considering that we are trying to read Of Mice and Men in five weeks while having a very screwed up schedule due to state testing, holidays, and waiver days. (And get this, I asked my CT at week 3 of my student teaching, way before my soloing began, to find or buy copies of Of Mice and Men. I even asked our department head! I kept reminding my CT every week, and even every day before spring break, to get the books because I planned out an entire unit on it, which he approved. He told me he'd get them the day before break began. Two weeks later, I walk into class Monday morning and ask him if he got the books. His response was "What books?" ARGH! He had two and a half months and never did fulfill my request. It wasn't a matter of the school lacking funds; it was more like he was lazy and forgetful! As a result, he had to borrow a copy from the school library and make class copies of the entire thing -- 3,000+ pieces of paper wasted.)

    I usually get control of the class when I paraphrase a page a student has read. It's only within that time when one of their classmates is reading that things get out of hand. But as for the cell phone problem, my CT would take them away during class and play around with the ringtones in front of everyone. Though, I noticed he would only pick on the students he knew wouldn't get mad at him. From what I understand about the school's policy regarding phones and MP3 players, they can be confiscated and turned in to the office where a parent of the student would have to sign a paper to release it. Sadly, one of the students who I talk to often told me that none of the other teachers really enforce the rule, and it was true since I remember passing by a room on my way to the restroom only to see a bunch of students in the other building with their headphones on and cell phones in-hand. One of the teachers told me that another teacher was asked to leave the school because he took a student's phone and threw it across the room, so I guess there is a certain line that has to be drawn.
     
  10. palla

    palla Companion

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2008
    Messages:
    228
    Likes Received:
    0

    Apr 20, 2009

    Wow. The cell phone thing has me boggled. I was in a class as a sub last week, and a student was texting. I didn't think twice. I walked over, took the phone, and kept on with the class. The school policy is to send the phones to the office, but I just kept it at the desk until the end of class.

    Sorry your CT is so difficult. It makes you wonder how some people keep jobs.
     
  11. RainStorm

    RainStorm Phenom

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2005
    Messages:
    4,278
    Likes Received:
    694

    Apr 20, 2009

    Raye,
    I'm sorry to hear that things are rough for you. Please be aware that this is very typical in teaching. Right now it is your CT, but when you do get your first teaching job, be prepared. If it isn't your grade level chair or department head, it will be your AP or P. You'll start the beginning of the year and somehow the text books don't show up until the 2nd month of school! You don't have texts or anthologies, or whatever, so you figure you will just copy things -- only to find out the school is totally out of copy paper. You finally break down and buy a box of copy paper, only to find out that someone tried to put construction paper in only working copy machine, and now it is broken and has a one-week repair time. But don't worry -- you can make an overhead using the ancient overhead "burning" machine...but wait, your overhead bulb just burned out and nobody thought to order any extras, so you can't do that. Well, there is plenty of chalk so you can just write everything on the board -- but wait, you are a class-hopper, so you are in a different room every single class period -- and half of them are classes without chalkboards, only white boards, and while there is plenty of chalk, there are no more white board markers. Well maybe you can borrow some -- except from that one teacher who resents that you are in her room during her planning time, so she locks everything up and worse yet, she sits in the classroom at her desk while you are trying to teach! Oh yeah, and she gives you "tsk-tsk" looks all the time as if to say you are a complete failue as a teacher, and tells everyone who will listen what an inexperienced teacher you are, and how she would have done things...

    Then there is the class that is 5 minutes away, but the passing period is only 3 minutes long and you are pushing a cart....

    Or the day you have a class that starts at 10:15, only the teacher who is using the room before you always runs over, which means you and the students are standing out on the hall, the students are getting bored and rowdy, so once you do get in, you are already 5 minutes behind, and everything is out-of-control to start with.

    Welcome to the world of teaching!!!
     
  12. Loomistrout

    Loomistrout Devotee

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2007
    Messages:
    1,148
    Likes Received:
    157

    Apr 20, 2009

    As I understand the reading aloud scenario (correct me if wrong) one student reads while rest are supposed to follow along? If this is the case, one student is actually engaged while the rest of the class lapses into comas. With little to do they fall off task and find other ways to amuse themselves. Consider: As student is reading aloud have him/her say "pause" at any time. The class chorals aloud the next word after hearing student say "pause" and then student continues reading, pausing, reading, pausing etc. until next student is assigned to read aloud and same scheme again. This technique helps with poor or timid readers since they can "assign" a difficult word to the class versus stumbling in front of peers.

    A spin-off is having students write next word on cards (paper) and "show" on reader's command.

    BTW - The CT you describe is actually a NT - Noncooperating Teacher.
     
  13. Raye

    Raye Rookie

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2009
    Messages:
    25
    Likes Received:
    0

    Apr 24, 2009

    Yeah, I've definitely taken this into consideration and will try to find something for the students who aren't reading aloud to do. I actually assigned a small task for them this week in which they were supposed to note down similes and metaphors they find throughout the chapter. That kept them busy for about a day.

    An idea suggested to me my one of my classmates in my seminar was to use a double-entry journal in which students write down an idea or quotation from the story in one column and provide further emphasis as to why they liked it or was confused by it in the other column. Either that or I'll just have to provide a reading log for them to answer questions as we progress through the story.

    It's kind of difficult adjusting to the whole reading aloud and keeping them busy thing. I'm not the best example of a voracious reader and admit that my attention span is relatively short like my students' so I can understand why their minds wander or they dislike reading in general. I grew up being assigned certain amount of pages to read for homework and then coming to class prepared to have discussion and really need to change my whole perspective on this aspect of teaching. I'm amused that some students want to read it on their own and even told me that they'd prefer to buy a copy of the book themselves. But, like I mentioned, I gave my CT notice many weeks prior to my unit plan and he didn't bother to do anything for me. Now that I think about it, I'll need a narrative recommendation from him in two weeks to submit to my seminar instructor when I wrap up my student teaching. I wonder how long it'll take him to give me that. :|
     
  14. Camel & Walrus

    Camel & Walrus Rookie

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2008
    Messages:
    35
    Likes Received:
    0

    Apr 24, 2009

    Your situation isn't rare I have many times observed teachers hold student-teachers to a higher standard than themselves, or to re-word, hypocritically chastise student teachers over things they themselves are not very good at.
     
  15. chebrutta

    chebrutta Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2008
    Messages:
    2,489
    Likes Received:
    1

    Apr 24, 2009

    First - Rain, I think you described my 1st year VERY accurately :)

    Second, for reading - try jump-in reading, round-robin reading, or Lit Circles. With jump-in or round robin, every one has to be paying attention and ready to go. With Lit. Circles, they work in small groups, read within that group, and work on the assignment for the day in their group before presenting to the class what they read/learned/found that day.
     
  16. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

    Joined:
    May 8, 2008
    Messages:
    8,414
    Likes Received:
    1,559

    Apr 24, 2009

    I'm a huge advocate of "popcorn" style reading, which is like jump-in. I pulled this from http://pubs.cde.ca.gov/TCSII/ch1/readingcurriculum.aspx:

    Popcorn reading keeps students focused since they do not know when their turn will "pop." In this strategy, one student reads part of a selection. Another "pops in" to continue until the next name is called. This strategy helps content area teachers cover text material in class but does not ensure that the student comprehends the material. It is still the teacher’s responsibility to develop metacognitive thinking and comprehension. Through pondering, discussion, and re-reading, students develop comprehension.​
     

Share This Page

Members Online Now

  1. RainStorm,
  2. vickilyn,
  3. MissCeliaB,
  4. MrsC
Total: 251 (members: 8, guests: 221, robots: 22)
test