Administrators are not pleased - need advice

Discussion in 'New Teachers' started by HArak24270, Sep 2, 2010.

  1. HArak24270

    HArak24270 Rookie

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    Sep 2, 2010

    Hi all,

    I have a very difficult 5th period Biology class. All students are English learners ranging from 9-12 grade. Some are repeating students older than 18.

    So far, my way of dealing with chronically disruptive students has been to kick them out of the class. They wander around campus a bit, get picked up by security, and are channeled into a holding tank/classroom for the remainder of the period.

    I realize that this is an unproductive/somewhat illegal strategy, but no one ever took the time to explain how, exactly, I should discipline this very unruly class, and what recourse I have when students get out of control.

    Amazingly, after a two-hour meeting today with administrators, I am still unclear as to how I should proceed tomorrow. The basic gist of the meeting was that I need to keep the kids inside the classroom, deal with the behavior firmly, and get the students engaged by modifiying/simplifying the class content. Easy, right?!

    Here's where I need your input. I am looking for specific strategies to deal with the following disruptive behaviors:

    - Continuing to talk after they have been asked to stop

    - Not starting bell work

    - Talking and laughing while I am talking

    - Leaving seat and wandering around the room

    - Calling out rude and sarcastic comments

    The advice of my administrators was somewhat amorphous - for example, using body language that projects confidence and non-nonsense discipline. Any idea what kind of specific gestures/body language might work?

    Thanks for your input. There are some very bright kids in this class, and I want very much to get things under control so that they can learn.
     
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  3. brejohnson88

    brejohnson88 Comrade

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    Sep 2, 2010

    I feel your pain. I am dealing with admins who are not supportive either and I have just been on my own. I am often worried that I am not doing something right or I am going to loose my job over something I dont do right.

    Here is my suggestions. Keep in mind, I am a Pre-K teacher and dont deal with any students over the age of 5...but this seems to work the times I had to work with older students.

    I would just stop talking in the middle of your lesson and just stare at them with an unpleasent look on your face. When they finally take the hint, I would sternly say, I dont let (I say preschoolers, but use whatever grade you think would be good) disrespect me, and neither will you. Now are you ready to pay attention and stop talking or do you need to leave my classroom? You need to use a serious tone to make sure this works. Usually, everyone will get quiet and I can continue.

    I would also establish class rules. Let the students know that this is what expected of you, and if you dont follow this, you will get a consequence. I would also make sure you are telling them their grades will suffer due to their behavior.

    As for you admins, they need to give you some support and if there is no getting a student to listen to you, then they need to step in. Can you write students up? Its unfortante that students will act like this, but its tough. Unfortantly you need to be tough and let them know you are not a person that can be stepped on. Your job is to teach the students, and its not only unfair to you, but its unfair to the other students who are trying to learn.
     
  4. KateL

    KateL Habitué

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    Sep 2, 2010

    You do need to keep the students inside your room and deal with them in a way that doesn't bring them to the attention of the administration, unless they do something dangerous. I've dealt with classes of 7th graders like this, and it's hard to get things back on track after beginning badly. You need to find some consequences that matter to them. Can you hold them after class? Give them detention after school? Call their parents? Give them a choice of activities for the next day and they only get the fun one if they behave today? Whatever the consequence is, apply it immediately and to everyone who steps out of line. I kept track of who was talking and held them after class for 1 minute every time they talked out of turn. (The class was at the end of the day, and I never had to hold anyone longer than 10 minutes.)

    You also need to find a way to engage them in the content. If they're interested, they'll sit still and listen for at least a little while. I teach middle school life science, and there are plenty of engaging topics - the genetics of skin color, the neurobiology of drugs and addiction, making slides and using the microscopes (they loved anything that required hands-on skills), and whale evolution (really!) have all been hits.

    Also, check out the book Teach Like a Champion by Doug Lemov. It's a great resource for teaching difficult classes, although there's no way I can implement all of his suggestions at once!
     
  5. KateL

    KateL Habitué

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    Sep 2, 2010

    Oh, and I forgot - can you have someone from the administration come in and teach a sample lesson for you? Sometimes it helps to see how other teachers handle your students. Also see if you can observe the teachers the administrators think are the best to "further your professional development" and to see how they want things done.
     
  6. newbie23

    newbie23 Comrade

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    Sep 2, 2010

    I suggest reading, Teach Like Your Hair's On Fire. This book gives practical and theoretical solutions for your problems. Essentially the message is that you need to create an environment of trust. Every student needs to start on a blank slate no matter what you've heard. Once they've lost your trust they must earn it back.

    By kicking them out of class, it appears you're giving up on them. Judging by your description of the class, it sounds as though this is something they're used to. You need to be the teacher that says, "I don't care how much you disrespect me, I will continue to respect you and care about your learning." Eventually, they will slowly begin to see that their misbehavior will not get them, "off the hook" and that you're still going to be their asking them to start their morning work.

    Think of logical consequences for misbehavior. In my class (3rd mind you) I have a worksheet to correspond with each experiment or hands on activity. IF a student shows me they are not ready to handle the hands-on, they will show me they have learned the skill on the worksheet. That's logical. They're still learning the information but in a way that they've chosen. Illogical would be sitting them in the corner of the room where they can't even see other's completing the activity and making them write sentences over and over.

    Best of luck.
     

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