another one considering leaving..

Discussion in 'New Teachers' started by Mr. D, Jan 8, 2007.

  1. Mr. D

    Mr. D New Member

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    Jan 8, 2007

    Hello all,

    I am just looking for advice. I am a first year teach for america teacher and I am miserable. I am at a second year middle school and i teach 7th grade math. The rest of the 4 7th grade teachers are also first years and there are no veterans in the school (no one for me to observe).
    I feel like I have not grown at all as a teacher. Ever since November I have just been trying to take it day by day and week by week, but that has snowballed into no real learning for my students. I can't have fun on the weekends because I think about the job and there are times I can't sleep at night because I feel so guilty that my kids may be falling behind and it is because of me.
    I also have a really tough time with IMPACT, the math curriculum I have to use because TFA doesn't like it at all and it isn't really standards based.
    I am close with the staff at the school and would feel awful leaving. I probably will not but I just can't go on being this miserable.
    I have no control over one of my classes and not that much over the other. I feel like the kids do not take me seriously and just do as they please.

    HELP!
     
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  3. Joyride

    Joyride Comrade

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    Jan 8, 2007

    What are the main problems with their behaviors? What rules do you enforce for them? I don't know anything about IMPACT, sorry.
     
  4. claudine2000

    claudine2000 Rookie

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    Is there any way you can observe at another school? Is there any way you could connect with a mentor teacher at another school? Both of those things have helped me a lot the last year and a half.
    I hope it gets better.
     
  5. clarnet73

    clarnet73 Moderator

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    Jan 9, 2007

    No veteran teachers in the whole school!?!? YIPES!!! I've never heard of that... most new schools opening up around my area, they get some teachers that transfer from elsewhere in the district to mix with the newer ones... That MUST be a tough spot... even if they were at a different grade or subject level, it could still be helpful to observe them. Can you ask your principal about observing at another school... even if it's for part of a day... maybe you and another teacher could split the sub for the day, and each take half a day to observe elsewhere in the district?

    I don't know a whole lot about 7th grade math since I teach preschool, but if you let us know the areas you're struggling with, behavior or curriculum-wise, I bet we can throw some idea out. (Hey Alice... this one is right up your alley! :))
     
  6. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Jan 9, 2007

    I'll be happy to help. But we all need a little more to go on: can you give us some of the specifics? You mention that things have gone downhill since November; can you tell us what happened then to change things?

    I'm in my 21st year of teaching, and my first with 7th grade math. I'll be happy to forward you my syllabus, tests, etc if you think they'll help.
     
  7. Mr. D

    Mr. D New Member

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    Jan 9, 2007

    To be honest, it is my first job after college and I have felt very overwhelmed all the time. Since November I have been struggling to stay above water (planning night to night, sleeping very little, always thinking about the job) and it has snowballed.
    A big issue is discipline. One of my classes is all over the place, but both always talk when I talk. It is very hard for me to plan because I am always thinking that the plans won't work because of the discipline.
    I know I am inconsistent and wishy-washy, but with so much misbehavior in a room, it is hard to get everything. I think my attitude has changed a lot too. I have been down, stressed, anxious, and I believe this shows to the kids.
    Math-wise, I find it very hard to plan for 90 min blocks, especially when kids aren't listening. I have objectives, but I feel like by the time I get through material, I have lost the kids because they get so rowdy and talkative.
    Also, the book we are using is hard for my kids because many of them are very behind in their math.
    Just a lot a lot of stuff that is not going right.
     
  8. kidatheart

    kidatheart Habitué

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    Jan 9, 2007

    Alice, that's very generous of you.

    Mr. D - I wish you the best of luck with this.
     
  9. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Jan 9, 2007

    Well, I have no experience in 90 minute blocks; our periods are 38 minutes. And not much in 7th grade math is that complicated. So if I were suddenly in that situation, here's what I think I would do:break it down into 2 45 minute blocks:
    -- the kids enter, and find either a quiz on their desks or a "do now" on the board. They copy the homework from the board & do the work while you take attendance and check the homework.
    -- Go over any homework problems that the kids need. Don't accept "I couldn't get any of them" as an answer. Anyone who couldn't do any homework will see you that afternoon for much needed extra help.
    --Teach topic A. Explain the concept, do one example. Have the kids generate "process" notes. Assign a few more examples as seat work.

    You have now reached the midpoint of your class.

    Start topic 2. Maybe begin this section with a review problem from earlier in the year. Or have them do a few times tables, or generate a list of the perfect squares or perfect cubes.
    -Teach topic 2, just as you did topic 1.

    I also think I would start giving them a LOT more quizzes just to help restore order. Not super-hard quizzes, just enough to let them know that they can't zone out or talk their way through your class.

    When they do get chatty, walk over to where the homework is posted and add a few problems. Let them know that, since they're losing classtime to chattiness, they'll have to make up the time at night. You don't have to add much to make the point.

    Would it help if I emailed you my outlines for trimester I and II? The book we use is the Sadlier "New Progress in Mathematics"-- maybe my breakdown would help you a bit?

    And the "wishy-washy, inconsistent" thing needs to end-- tomorrow. You certainly don't have to be mean, but they need to know that you're the adult and they're the kids.

    Does that help at all?
    Alice
     
  10. Mr. D

    Mr. D New Member

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    Jan 9, 2007

    That certainly does help, but how do I assert my authority in a way that is not mean but that indicates that I am the adult. I have felt for awhile that the kids do not take me seriously. They hardly follow my directions and when I tell them to go do something they almost always refuse.
     
  11. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Jan 9, 2007

    I don't give them the chance to refuse. The quiz is on the board, and it is over in 3 minutes. Set a stopwatch and go. When the stopwatch goes off, the quiz is over and there are notes on the board-- they stay up until I say they come down. (translation: until a moment after the good kid up front is done.)

    I wouldn't worry about "mean"-- you would recognize it if you saw it. "Mean" is belittling, or unfair, or rude. Denying them what they want isn't mean, it's the real world.


    How are the parents? If you say that any grade under 70 needs to be signed, will it help at all?
     
  12. Science Chick

    Science Chick New Member

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    Jan 9, 2007

    Mr. D -
    First, THANK YOU. Thank you for being brave enough to teach somewhere where the students need you desperately. Being a new teacher is hard enough, but the first year at a TFA school is even more of a challenge. I was a new teacher in South Dallas when my daughter was a new teacher in urban NOLA. Nothing I experienced came close to the day-to-day anguish that she felt.

    YOU ARE NOT ALONE. First, contact your district. See if they have a mentoring program. Get one. ASAP. If not, ask them to tell you about the top 3 schools for 7th grade Math scores. Contact each of those teachers. Ask for a meeting, at their convenience. Explain that you're new and you need a hand. TFA or no TFA, there is not a lot of mentoring going on in schools. If your own district can't help you, as frequently is the case at a TFA school, google area districts. Find a school with a good reputation (greatschools.net is a good one) and contact staff there.
    Second, google prof dev for math in your state. Get involved and get guidance on your curriculum. You can do internet searches to get better lessons, ideas, etc but yowsa. That's a never-ending battle for a 2 year stint.
    Finally, start over with your kids. It's NEVER too late to start over. Make it drastic- go in with an entirely new physical appearance and attitude. Spend one whole class period going over rules and expectations. Have a poster at the front of the room with that info (keep it simple - no more than 5 rules, but make sure it's the big ones that drive you nuts). Then talk about daily routine. Put that on a big poster too: First, write in your planner. Second, do the practice problem on the board. ETC.

    f you have a big state test (ARG. TEXAS is righteous about that), then talk about goals. TELL them it's a new day, and this is how it's going to go. Be firm. You might have to really be hard on them at first, but it really does work. You get what you expect.

    So you know, I was flabbergasted at the behavior of my kids in S.Dal. Seriously. I couldn't believe that they had parents. I was exhausted from writing curriculum, reteaching concepts that they should have learned years ago, and dealing with general craziness when I failed a kid. I'm in my 4th year now, and every year it has gotten better and better. I can actually say that I enjoy teaching.
    SO hang in there. All teaching is not like this experience.
     
  13. awaxler

    awaxler Comrade

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    Jan 9, 2007

    Hi Mr D.

    Aliceacc had give you some great advice here...as usual.

    As for block scheduling I have quite a bit of experience and can tell you that I teach a block the same way I teach a traditional class period and the same way I teach 3-4 hour teaching workshops...I break everything up into mini-lessons. At the 7th garde level you can break things up into roughly 15 minute mini-lessons with each mini lesson meeting a particular objective.

    As for some of the classroom management issues...I teach a classroom management course at MCC (FL) and just last night told the class that if I could only have one teaching tool it would be my egg timer. (Funny I just posted about this here: http://teaching-tips-machine.com/forum/index.php?topic=19.0

    Also, make sure you teach everything. The bottom line is if you want your students to do something you have to teach it to them. It doesn't matter if it is how to walk down the hallway , how to enter the room, or how to sharpen a pencil...teach everything.

    This is part of what I call a proactive approach to classroom management. There are many more aspects such as keeping students actively involed in your lesson, increasing student motivation, limiting student confusion, increasing class particiaption (in a productive way), raising student self-esteem, and ending student procrastination.

    I put a free report together that gives a general overview of this proactive approach to classroom management. You can download it here: http://www.classroom-management-tips.com/ClassroomManagement.pdf

    Good luck, hang in there, and start applying the strategies and you will start to see results.

    --Adam
     
  14. claudine2000

    claudine2000 Rookie

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    Jan 10, 2007

    Aliceacc and awaxler have some really good advice.
    I've been told many times that your first year is often your hardest and that if you can make it through that, you can make it through any other year. As a second year teacher myself, this year is drastically better than last.
    Once you restructure your class (management wise). Maybe once or twice a month you could do a special lesson for part of the block, but only if they earn it... This could help them start to see why they are learning math. Things that show how math is used in everyday life are good. Here are some websites I found - http://www.pbs.org/teachersource/math.htm
    The PBS site has a bunch of lesson plans K-12. Just select age range and a standard.
    These two addresses would not post correctly, so you'll have to use this for the beginning of the address and then add the number string below after the back slash.
    http://www.mathsolutions.com/documents/

    0-941355-73-X_L.pdf
    0-590-94459-2_L.pdf

    The first one is an activity to help 6th-8th graders increase their ability to do mental math.
    The second one is a 'children's' book about area and perimeter with a lesson plan written for 5th-6th graders. Since many of your students are behind, this still may be appropriate.
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2007
  15. Joyride

    Joyride Comrade

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    Jan 10, 2007

    90 minutes for 7th graders? It's bad enough for college students. :crosseyed
     
  16. paperheart

    paperheart Groupie

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    Jan 10, 2007

    Hi Mr. D....

    I have been in your shoes...I was a 2002 TFA corps member and am still teaching. This is my first year teaching 7th grade math. before that I was teaching at the elementary level.

    I know that added pressure to get the 1.5 grade level improvement "signficant gains" can be intensely overwhelming especially when you are wondering if they are improving at all. DId you do any sort of beginning of the year assessment? If so, now might be a good time to do a mid-year assessment and see how they are improving. Even if you didn't do a beginning assessment, have the students do something now so, you can measure progress objectively at the end of the year. (and I can totally relate if you feel like getting them to be quiet and do the assessment without talking, cheating etc. would be a miracle..)

    One thing I'll mention now is this, working on the weekends, worrying about it, etc is just spinning your wheels and not being productive (again...been there, done that.) I constantly need to remind myself that they need to want to learn and they need to do the work...no matter how hard I work, they will not get to where they should be if they are not doing their half. In other words, I would work on getting the kids to meet you half way. (again...I know easier said than done.) One thing I had trouble with was having such a sense of urgency that I didn't want to stop and take care of non-teaching objective issues. Clearly, the students are not motivated and do not respect your authority. It is not too late to change this and, is worth "Wasting" days doing so. Talk to them about winning, life, where education takes them....try to do it in a way they'll understand. ask them if they have any younger brothers and sisters or cousins and if they've ever told them not to do something that was dangerous. Ask them why and wait for them to say because they don't know any better (or something to that effect) then explain that you are older than them and just like they know things little kids don't about life, you know things they don't know yet and one of them is the importance of school. ask them if they have ever heard of adults saying they are going back to school or are saving money so they can get a degree. then ask them why adults go back to school. keep asking them questions. mainly you just want to get their attention right now and to get them to THINK and reflect, even if it is not just about math. Set a new tone for your classroom. Don't be afraid to make drastic changes (MUST you use that curriculum you seem to dislike?) If students are not coming prepared for class explain to students the importance of coming prepared. Don't always be serious and stern--they'll revolt for sure. Mimick how they sound like when they are asking people for a pencil in the middle of a lesson or chewing their gum loudly, or entering the room loudly and energetically and let them see how silly their actions are. (this usually gets a laugh out of mine without them resisting me)

    There is a ton of advice I'd love to give...its getting late so I need to stop and go to bed, but I just wanted to introduce myself for now. feel free to PM me.

    p.s. are TFA leaders helpful at all? have you used the TFA website resources?
     
  17. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    Jan 11, 2007

    Very wise advice, paperheart!
     
  18. newteacher11

    newteacher11 Rookie

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    Jan 12, 2007

    I feel the same way!!

    I don't have control over my kids either, today was my 7th day teaching, and it seems like the behavior is getting worse and worse, they talk when i talk, continue to turn around in their seat, get up without asking and take there time getting back to their seat when I tell them to sit down. They throw things. I don't want to be a dictator but how do you discipline kids and be nice at the same time. I wonder if I chose the wrong profession.
     
  19. katerina03

    katerina03 Devotee

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    Jan 13, 2007

    I sent you a pm. Hope it helps.
     
  20. wunderwhy

    wunderwhy Comrade

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    Jan 14, 2007

    Hi and welcome!

    Since I don't think people are expected to do TFA more than two years, may I ask if teaching is your professional goal, or was it just something to try since you didn't know what else to do?

    If you want to be a teacher for a career, then I think that maybe this is just your "baptism by fire" -- the first year of teaching is never easy, especially in a school that needs to fill all of its positions with new teachers every year. They must be leaving for a reason, right? So that means that your school is unusually hard, and your students are unusually difficult.

    OK, that said, this doesn't mean that A) you can't do good in your school and enjoy your job or that B) teaching isn't the career for you.

    Here's my story, for whatever it's worth. I always wanted to be a secondary English teacher. I attended school in a district where everyone went to an Ivy League school and scored a 5 on the AP exam. Then right out of college, the only job I could find was a very economically depressed middle school with an unsupportive administration. And I wasn't tough enough to take it. I did it for one year, but I realized that my sanity depended upon finding a situation I could live with. So I finagled a transfer to a high school in the same district (not a rich school by any means -- lots of immigrants and apartment complexes and racial diveristy -- but also not as depressed as my last school).

    My first year of teaching high school (second year overall) was like another first year all over again. It wasn't until my third year that I was able to breathe a little easier and focus less on the bad and more on the good. Now I'm in my fifth year, and it's everything I thought it could be . . . my bad days are few and far between and really not that bad . . . I enjoy getting to know my kids and feel like I'm helping them . . . I'm teaching preps I've done before (finally after five years!) and don't have to spend extra time planning. Sure, I'm always a little behind on my grading, but I manage to teach gifted students, run the school newspaper, and prepare my low-level students for their standardized tests, and I take very little work home on the weekend or at night.

    It used to be that all the stories I told my husband about work were about some smart-aleck kid who ticked me off. Now my stories are about the compelling or funny things that happened.

    I'm not trying to brag . . . I'm just trying to help you figure out what you want. If you want to be a teacher for life, then I think maybe this job you have now is just too much to ask, even of a talented and kind person. So maybe you put in your two years and then find a position that suits you better, or maybe you go to grad school now. But if this was just supposed to be a two-year gig and was going to leave you searching for a new career at the end of it anyway, then maybe you just get a jump-start on that.

    If teaching is what you want to do, then stick with it. It will definitely get easier. If it's not, then you're not doing yourself or your students any favors by being somewhere you don't want to be. Only you can decide what the situation really is.
     
  21. Mr. D

    Mr. D New Member

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    Jan 14, 2007

    Thank you for all your posts.

    In response to the last one, to be honest, I did Teach for America because I had a passion for what they stood for and I did not know what else to do. Teaching is not my long-term professional goal, although I thought I would like it more since I taught a little SAT math in college.

    I know a change needs to come from within and only I can do it. I am just very bad at being consistent discipline-wise. My classroom is so chaotic that I just try to get through each day whole.

    The issue is that there are really no math teachers available, especially to teach in the South Bronx. If I leave, I am leaving knowing that I am leaving my colleagues and principal out to dry, as well as my kids who will probably get no math at all (even though they aren't getting very much of it now).

    -still miserable:eek:
     
  22. wunderwhy

    wunderwhy Comrade

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    Jan 14, 2007

    Hmmm, well, all I can say is this . . .

    I know that you care about your students and making the world a better place, and that compassion is probably all that's keeping you above water at this point.

    You said, "The issue is that there are really no math teachers available, especially to teach in the South Bronx." Let's be honest; it's not that there are no teachers . . . there are no teachers except recent college graduates with no life experience and no idea what they want to do for a living. There are people to step in and take those positions . . . people about as qualified and effective as you are. So your feeling of responsibility shouldn't be a deciding factor here. And a system that really cares about its students and its future wouldn't be intrusting all of that to inexperienced, untrained 22-year-olds, would it? I think that in many instances TFA allows 22 and 23 year-olds to exhaust their innocent idealism in their trenches. What we really need is a country that offers incentives for experienced and effective teachers to step into those trenches . . . not a system that takes advantages of the idealism of young people.

    If you need to leave, you need to leave. I don't mean to boss you around because I'm no one to speak. It's not like I have all the answers; I don't think teaching is for everyone. But I know enough people of my generation who were aimless and didn't know what to do with themselves and so fell into something that wasn't right (I just bought a house and have forfeited a friendship with someone who made no plans to do anything outside of college except put minimal effort into being a realtor -- she has a 9 to 5 job, but still expects her friends to throw their commissions her way -- we went iwth a full-time realtor, and now she has disowned us . . .). I know it can be scary to try to figure out what you are supposed to do with yourself, but that doesn't mean that you are holding the universe together for your students or that you are indispensible.

    It would be one thing to be miserable because, darnit, you're going to do this for a living. It's another thing to be miserable because of guilt and confusion about what else to do. The latter really isn't noble.

    I wish you the best as you figure all of this out and hope that, in the end, you're the opposite of miserable.
     
  23. Patriotsfan

    Patriotsfan New Member

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    Jan 17, 2007

    Mr D,
    I just wanted to drop you a little note. Being a first year teacher, fifth grade, in a class with huge behavior problems, I have been through a lot this year. Through all of my college years, I have learned a lot about lesson plans, individualized instruction, curriculum, etc....One thing that I was not prepared for was the behavior.
    One thing that I have learned, it's hard to do any teaching if the behavior is not under control. I would talk to your principal or vice about strict consequences. They need to be on your side. Unfortunately you'll have to use a few kids as examples but the other kids will learn from this.
    Second, I read that you do not want to come across as mean. My mentor has coached me on both being overly excited and constantly praising when the students do well (or what is expected), and when behavior is disruptive, coming down hard and quick. Those students are disrupting the learning of the students around them and that is unacceptable. You need to be firm, deal with it at the moment, then move on.
    I am not experienced, but so far, this is what's carrying me through my first year.
    I have spent a lot of time on behavior management and sometimes feel that the kids are not learning but I then think I'm being too critical of myself. I have to start listening to the people around me. I'm doing the best I can.
    Not sure if I make sense,
    Patsfan
     
  24. MissFrizzle

    MissFrizzle Virtuoso

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    Jan 20, 2007

    Great Advice Patriots fan
     
  25. Fiendish

    Fiendish Rookie

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    Jan 21, 2007

    Hi,
    I am a student teacher in my last year so I have not had to deal with behaviour issues to this extent, so far:eek: :eek: I'm sure I will once I start teaching full time.

    Although I don't understand your teaching system in America, I would say it is slightly different to ours in Australia, I think you are a good and kind person to hang in there. It is good to know there are some many helpful and understanding experienced teachers out there who do not judge inexperienced teachers. I'ts awesome the way you all have shared your past and present experiences both good and bad.
     
  26. msb

    msb Rookie

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    Feb 14, 2007

    Hi, Mr. D, I understand how you feel. I've had a difficult semester. I teach two block periods of remedial English. I have one Honors class that allows me to feel good about teaching. There are some good days and bad days. It seems like I have fewer bad days; well, I hope so at least. This is my first year, too. I have a difficult class. I also work in a lower socioeconomic areas, and 90% English learners. It's not the ideal situation in the least!

    In any case, I teach the two-period block, and I really hate it. I think two hours is a long time to be with the same group of kids every day. When I am out for training, it's easier to think of sub plans for a one period class, than it is for the block period.

    I have a difficult time being strict with my students, but I have to be hard on them because that's how they become focused. With my remedial classes, I have to have a warm-up or Daily Oral Language (DOL) that we do every day, just to get them in the classroom mode when the come in. I tell you, it can be chaos. I think that you have to be on them constantly. I know at times it feels like you are just doing behavior management, and you and I probably are doing that 90% of the time. However, this is the group of kids we have. This semester, they are really starting to settle down into the routine, so now we are starting to learn a little more--just enough to get them focused for 10 minutes at a time. It's still pretty difficult. I held them after class today because they were so talkative. I set the timer so that they would see how long they had to sit there. It was only for five minutes, but they were extremely quiet after I discussed how disappointed I was with their behavior. Some people might not agree with the hold-them-after-school method, but I don't have to do this very often. Most of the time, I give them three chances (strikes) and once they get to the third, I will start at five minutes. They usually earn their time back if they are quiet. This usually works with them, so they end up leaving on time. Unfortunately, there will be days when you need to follow-up with the consequence--like today! (I also have the administration to back us up if we do hold them after school.)


    By the way, I have a difficult time being the dictator because I like to be the nice person. I think it takes more energy being mean. However, I know that being nice doesn't get me anywhere with the kids who do misbehave, so most of the time I have to be strict with the kids and tell them I am their teacher and not their friend...I am there to teach them. I also add that I can be there to be their mentor, or someone who can help them.

    Anyway, please hang in there. I am in a similar situation as you, and if you feel that you should leave at the end of the school year, then I think you should. It doesn't do you any good if you are unhappy. There are other places out there where you can teach. Life is too short to be unhappy! :)

    MSB
     
  27. msb

    msb Rookie

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    Feb 14, 2007

    Hi, Patriotsfan, yes, you do make sense! I think doing the best you can is all you can expect from yourself, especially our first year. I lost sleep on things what I was doing wrong, and about this student, and why can't I get this student to learn because he's so behind. I think I beat up myself constantly about my teaching, and we really need to give ourselves SOME credit.

    Last year, I had some really great kids, but that was probably an ideal situation. I still keep in touch with one or two, and I've bumped into a few of my old students in the grocery store who were enjoyed our year together. It's those students that I look forward to--sometimes you don't know that you are doing any good until one of them sends you a letter, or you run into them later on. I guess what I've found to be helpful is to focus on those students who really appreciate your help and want to do well in your class. I probably have about ten to fifteen kids in my remedial classes that WANT to do well.

    I also agree that the behavior problems that I have is something that I had not anticpated. Well, at least at this level...even our veteran teachers feel that I have one of the most difficult classes because of the amount of students in my class with behavioral issues.

    Yup, trial-by-fire!!!!!:eek:

     
  28. Mrs_B

    Mrs_B Comrade

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    Feb 14, 2007

    I taught 7th grade for 8 years. Here is my advice:

    1. I found blocks were too long for them to sit taking notes, etc so I would mix it up. Do a regular lesson for half the time and them something more fun like a review game or group project. You will have less discipline issues if your students are actively engaged.

    2. If you find yourself to be wish-washy set yourself up with a system so you don't have to make that spur of the moment decision. I had a poster for each class that had library pockets labeled for each student. I had colored cards in each pocket, white, green, blue, bright pink. Everyone started on white every day. The first infraction, let's say being tardy, I would put their white to the back of the pocket so the blue would show. Many times I wouldn't even say anything, just walk over and do it. Talking, misbehavior, etc I might say "that's a card" and walk over and turn it. If they got to pink (I think one did in 8 years because they knew I meant business) they were sent to the principal. At the end of the day I would make a slash mark on the white card if they stayed on white that day. When they got to 20 slash marks (for some this took a long time) I would give them a free homework pass. They usually kept it to bail themselves out if they needed it. For the star student who never needed them I would let them turn them in at the end of the grading period for extra credit. I also used this system to help make my weekly participation grade. It gave me a clear record of how they behaved rather than relying on my memory.

    This is just one example of a behavior system, find one that fits your style. But the bottom line is you need to be more firm. Refusing to do something you ask is not acceptable. The reason they are giving you trouble is they know they can. Good Luck.
     

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