Advice??? I have been teaching 1.5 weeks and am in trouble aready

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by futureteach24, Aug 22, 2012.

  1. futureteach24

    futureteach24 Companion

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    Aug 22, 2012

    Advice??? I have been teaching 1.5 weeks and am in trouble already

    I'm a 1st year high school teacher of lower track students. A couple of my classes are giving me a hard time. I believe my lead teacher has been telling admin about it. In addition, kids got into a fight outside of my class but they weren't in my class. One of the teachers came down and was asking me about it. I told her I would check into it but the kids that just left my class were fine. I later on found out that one of the students was heading to my class.

    Well, one of the admin came and did a surprise visit and wants me to do a couple of things differently...such as he said he noticed students felt free to walk around the classroom and to speak aloud and he wants me to post policies and procedures. I went over my classroom expectations day 1. I am a "traveling teacher" however so did not post them in all of the teachers' rooms. I did that yesterday though after he told me to do so. I have done a constant review of what is expected but some of the students do not listen. In addition, do you think it would be worth it to talk to him about the expectations I set on day 1 or not? Thanks!
     
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  3. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    Aug 22, 2012

    You need to be firm and consistent during class.

    Did the fight occur during class time or during passing time? Who was to be on duty in the hall during that time?
     
  4. WLTeach

    WLTeach New Member

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    Aug 22, 2012

    I am in a similiar situation. I am a new teacher, three weeks into the year. Our Admin. notified us we would be evaluated multiple times. The Assistant Principal came in and said I see your rules and consequences are posted, now enforce them. He said you need to go in hard and then you can relax the rules a bit. The class is at the end of the day. I am following his direction. I just have to figure this out quickly.
     
  5. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    I would definitely spend a little time talking to him about what you set up on the first day. Then he can help you make any changes that might be needed or you may not have thought of.

    I would definitely be a little more firm. This is many first year teacher's mistake. Don't let the students get away with the little things (or they will quickly become big things).
     
  6. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Aficionado

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    I totally agree. What have you done to enforce your expectations? It's not enough to just say them on the first day. Your principal seems helpful. It's okay for admin to know things are a little rough - you are brand new! There's a steep learning curve and time to learn before June!
     
  7. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Aug 22, 2012

    I agree.

    And don't feel badly that the lead teacher said something. If a new teacher is struggling, it's important to get him or her help now. These things tend to get better, not worse, if they're not handled right away. That surprise observation was the first step in helping you to become the teacher you want to be.

    Simply telling the kids your expectations is a long way from enforcing them. What do YOU do when a kid stands up?? Why are kids walking around your class? The fact that they felt free to do so, even while you were being observed, means to me that help may have come right in the nick of time. Kids who "do not listen" in August are unlikely to improve their behavior without some serious changes.

    Thank your AP for his help, and ask for help from other teachers as well.
     
  8. McParadigm

    McParadigm Companion

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    Aug 22, 2012

    If you're a new teacher, they should be rushing to support you and work with you in as welcoming a way as possible. The first year is always hard...making a new teacher feel pressured, talked about, and intimidated is not helpful. Nobody wants to feel like their colleagues see them as a failure, and people are generally very open to help when they're down, so it's not hard to support a struggling first year teacher. It just takes time...daily, at first. And that's one thing most principals aren't prepared to commit.

    Show me a struggling first year teacher who hasn't made noticeable gains within the first six months, and I'll show you a principal who isn't doing their job.
     
  9. HistTchr

    HistTchr Habitué

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    Aug 22, 2012

    Your AP is probably just trying to help you by giving constructive feedback. I wouldn't see a surprise observation as you being in trouble. Teachers in my school have surprise observations all the time. First year teachers often find classroom management difficult because they don't know exactly where to set the limits. Students getting up and walking around the room and talking without permission definitely shouldn't be happening if you are teaching, so I would enforce some type of consequence if students did that. Just reviewing your expectations isn't enough, though. Take care of these behaviors while it is still early and you will have a smooth year! I often teach one or more lower level classes, too, and those students actually do like a structured environment (even though they might not make it seem that way).
     
  10. geoteacher

    geoteacher Devotee

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    Aug 22, 2012

    Agreed! Also, don't be afraid to ask for advice when you see something that isn't going the way that you want it to. That shows that you are actively working to improve your classroom climate!
     
  11. AlwaysAttend

    AlwaysAttend Fanatic

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    I just thought of a way to post rules and procedures as a traveling teacher. Free Car Magnet from Vista Print. Slap in on the board every period.
     
  12. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    I don't think you're in trouble.
    1. everyone knows a new teacher will not be near perfect, and will make mistakes.
    2. isn't it better to get assistance now before things get worse? Normally if things don't go well, they would get worse.
    3. this is your chance to let them know that you value constructive criticism and will take advice
    4. isn't better that now you have a visit / evaluation that's not the best, but all your visits / evals will be great, instead of not being observed for 4 months and then hear that you still have problems?

    It is always a good idea to seek out help / advice from other teachers. In my opinion there is a good way and a bad way to do this.
    When i was student teaching, I was fortunate enough to be eating lunch with several veteran teachers, who were great at what they did (although each had different styles), were happy doing their job and were eager to help me. My master teacher was one of them, and because he wasn't in the classroom with me, lunch was our discussion - session.
    the right way: - I always described the things I had difficulties with, what happened, what I did, what I planned on doing, and asked them what they thought, what I should do, etc. I was never complaining, I never made it sound like the kids were taking over me, or that I was ready to give up or that I hated my job.
    - the wrong way: there was a 1st year math teacher with us, she also looked for advice, but she would basically complain about the kids, describe what she did, and said 'I don't know what to do'. I don't know how bad things were in her classroom, but based on her description, she had absolutely no control and couldn't motivate the kids to do classwork, home work, etc. She sounded like she didn't like her job.

    I know that the teachers thought highly of me, they have said on several occasion that I was the best student teacher they ever had and went above and beyond to help me and mold me.
    They didn't really offer much help to this teacher, because she didn't really ask, she just complained. (although I think that was an outcry for help).

    There was a sad end of this story for the math teacher, but I don't want to go into that. She probably could have turned things around, but didn't go about it the right way.
     
  13. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    Aug 22, 2012

    Take in the advice that your AP is giving you and use it! They are there to help! I don't know how it is in your school, but we are required to be out in the hall during passing periods so students don't fight.
     
  14. FlavioSousa

    FlavioSousa Rookie

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    Aug 23, 2012

    Wise words!

    On my first year, I commited a capital sin: I sometimes smiled whenever some of my students said something stupid or inappropriate. By the end of the year, I had no control whatsoever over those kids, it was my worst class ever.

    So be fair and punish your students according to the gravity of their faults but do punish them.
     
  15. FlavioSousa

    FlavioSousa Rookie

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    Aug 23, 2012

    Well, a good start is essential and things didn't start too well in your case but maybe you're being too harsh on yourself.

    This is your first year, so it's perfectly normal to make mistakes. And being too permissive is usually the #1 mistake.

    If you're having trouble controlling your kids, try a more active, dynamic approach. Give them simple tasks that will keep them busy and allow you to control them more effectively.
     
  16. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Aug 23, 2012

    Good point.

    Take a look at your transitions. Is there ever a time when they're sitting there, waiting for you?? That's a huge mistake with new teachers.

    Transitions provide the perfect time for a chat. Work to minimize them, and to have the kids working through the ones that are necessary.

    So, for example, while you're setting up the projector, there should be something on the board for them to do.
     

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