Advice, Please- Losing Patience

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Moogeeg, Nov 3, 2015.

  1. Moogeeg

    Moogeeg Companion

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    Nov 3, 2015

    Hello, all!
    I am in my second year of teaching high school. Overall, things are going quite well. I get along well with the vast majority of my students and generally love what I do. I am also usually an extremely positive, energetic person/teacher. However, I definitely have days where things don't go so well in two of my classes and I find it difficult to maintain a positive attitude.

    I have occasionally found myself (unintentionally) being a bit short with students in the aforementioned classes. There is no yelling involved or anything, but my lack of patience in those situations definitely comes through. I am not proud of this and am actively trying to work on my responses. I feel absolutely awful afterwards.

    Do any of you have advice for dealing with this issue? How do you step back and make sure that you are approaching students with your best attitude?

    Thank you so much in advance for your advice.
     
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  3. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Nov 3, 2015

    I'm losing patience more now - it's October. According to my principal this is when students start getting tired of school, start acting up, getting disengaged, and in return teachers start getting burnt out.
    At my school we get expelled students from other school, and it usually starts in October. This is when all other schools start getting tired of the problem students, even at the admin. level, and they make the decision to expel them. We've got quite a few new kids just in the past few weeks.

    So just know that you're not the only one. We'll have some holidays coming up soon and you will feel better, you just have to make it through.

    Take a deep breath, talk to the kids as a class, let them know how we're all tired, but we just need to make it through the next 3 weeks then we'll have a week off. I like high school because you can talk to those kids in a more mature, common sense way.
    You also might want to change up your lessons. Maybe it's time for some projects or collaborative work. They're going to talk, so might as well allow them while they work.
    Or maybe you want to tighten things up and have more direct instruction, more note taking and summarizing, etc happening.
     
  4. Moogeeg

    Moogeeg Companion

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    Nov 3, 2015

    Thank you so, so much for your words. I am glad to know I am not the only one. In talking with some other teachers today, I think that the time of year is definitely part of the issue. The "newness" has worn off and the reality of day-to-day has sunk in.

    I like your idea about doing more collaborative work if that is the nature of the class right now. I think I need to stop setting myself up for failure and just go with it for now. I just don't want to be the teacher that has "mood swings".

    The light at the end of the tunnel is that we have a trimester system- I will have a new set of classes after Thanksgiving and will be able to set the tone a bit better. It will also help that there are several breaks that break up second trimester.
     
  5. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

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    Nov 3, 2015

    I've actually stopped and shared with students rather bluntly about my frustration level and asked them to think about where it might be coming from. I always try to find a way to connect it back to something they'd understand. Sometimes we'll even stop completely and just have a discussion about what's happening and how we can fix it (they buy in more since they get to have input in how to fix the problem). Other times, I'll reflect after the lesson/day and think about how I could've been more prepared, or how I can make sure that those frustrating moments won't come up again.

    What specifically is causing you to get short with those students? That might be a place to start - I'm sure everyone here could brainstorm together to help solve the problem!
     
  6. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    Nov 3, 2015

    How does a trimester schedule work? I'm fascinated by different ways of scheduling classes!
     
  7. Moogeeg

    Moogeeg Companion

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    Nov 4, 2015

    Thank you for responding. I like the idea of being frank with them. That way, they know that there is an issue and that I do not seem upset for no reason. I love the idea of having them work with me to solve the issue.
    Honestly, the shortness usually happens for dumb reasons- when I hear the same question for the tenth time in an hour, for example. However, there are times when I think my feelings come through when responding to innocent, simple questions, and I just respond in a sharper tone than intended. I am thinking that I need to just start talking one-on-one with kids more before a situation escalates, and reflecting on that without letting it ruin the rest of the hour (or my day).
     
  8. Moogeeg

    Moogeeg Companion

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    Nov 4, 2015

    Hi! The trimester system is comprised of three 12 week trimesters. There are 5 70 minute classes per day. Once per week, our hours are shortened by 10 minutes and we have an optional advisory period for the first hour of the morning that students use for meetings and extra help. It usually ends up being extra planning time. Therefore, a full time teaching load is four 70 minute periods per day.

    My classes meet for 1 trimester and then conclude. I also find that if I have classes that are more difficult than others, it is really nice to switch things up quickly. It is around this time every trimester (week 9-ish) that things get super old. It is great to know that once Thanksgiving comes around, I can start anew. This also gives me a chance to examine procedures and practices more often and improve as a teacher- two more times this school year!I have only taught in schools (3 so far) that utilize the trimester system. Since I teach Foods classes, I love it. Students are able to work with more complicated recipes and have enough time to clean up.

    The part that is challenging is that a lot of core classes only meet for two trimesters. Therefore,a student might take the first half of geometry from September-November, have several months off, and not take the second half until the third trimester begins in March/April. A lot of students lose a lot of knowledge in those 9 months. While counselors try to avoid long gaps, they do sometimes happen. Also, teachers do not like that they feel as if they do not get to know students as well. They feel that just as they truly get to know the kids, they're gone.

    Pros
    -Longer class periods for lab classes
    -Lower student load at any one time
    -More classes- students are able to take 15 classes per year rather than 12 on a 6 period semester schedule, or 14 on a 7 period semester schedule. This keeps more teachers employed and allows room for lots of electives.

    Cons
    -Longer class periods are difficult for some students
    -Courses can be split up and aren't always consecutive
    -More costly- a lot of schools in our area are starting to explore other scheduling options once again
    -Some teachers wish to have students for a longer stretch in order to better serve them
     
  9. ms.irene

    ms.irene Connoisseur

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    Nov 4, 2015

    Oh, yeah....it's that time of year! The "honeymoon" is long since over, and in our district at least, we have this long stretch from Labor Day to Veteran's Day without a break, and we're all burnt out. I am actually doing better than I have in past years, but I do find myself getting short on patience, especially with my seniors who think they know everything. Just keep focused on the positives and keep taking deep breaths! Two and a half weeks to Thanksgiving break!
     
  10. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

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    Nov 4, 2015

    I completely empathize with what you are saying! Part of me realizes that some issues I just need to "let it go", while others, I need to just log in the back of my mind and have that one-on-one conversation with that student in private so I don't end up bringing it up in front of the whole class - as that affects both the student and I. An ongoing goal of mine, and probably of most teachers!
     
  11. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Nov 4, 2015

    I think we all lose patience from time to time.

    One thing that I do, and it sounds hokey, but it works for me, but each morning, I sit in my chair and calm down, and make a few promises:

    1. I promise not to lose my composure no matter how surprising or unexpected something is.
    2. I promise not to be annoyed by student behavior. After all, it's their responsibility to follow the rules and their choice to misbehave, I just have to hold them accountable to the rules and consequences of my classroom. Not my problem.
    3. I promise to protect the right to learn for everyone in my class by upholding the classroom management plan EVERY single time a rule is broken, even if it's a 'good' kid, or a 'not-so-good' kid who I've been building a relationship with (so you might not want to hold them accountable but you have to do it anyway).
    4. I promise to be calm, breathe, and move slowly.

    The more consistent I am with my classroom management plan the less the students engage in annoying behavior. Also the promise to myself really works wonders. (but sometimes later in the day I have to remind myself or repeat the promise/ceremony).

    Some days I add promises or make different promises based on what I want to work on.
     
  12. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Nov 4, 2015

    One thing that helps me, but I still need to get better at it: ignore when you can. I, too hear the same questions several times, and I just ignore them, or say "I'm not repeating myself"
    Sometimes students make the same comments / ask the same questions just to see if they can annoy the teacher. We have a lot of students with emotional baggage from home (actually almost all of them, it's alt. ed) and it's their way of getting attention. They don't know how to get positive attention, so they settle for negative attention, because they don't get anything at home. If I get upset or annoyed, they're happy, satisfied and it continues. Or it's just plain funny because they got the teacher annoyed.
    So ignoring them with a poker face can work wonders, but I still engage with them more than I should. I need to practice more self control myself.
     

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