Appropriate Punishments for an Entire Class

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by uteachme2, Sep 30, 2007.

  1. uteachme2

    uteachme2 Rookie

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    Sep 30, 2007

    I am having a major problem with nearly every student in two of my classes. One class is 7th grade, and the other class is 8th grade. I teach Language Arts. The students in these classes refuse to be quiet when I tell them to. They talk out of turn, and most of them will talk back. We don't have detention in our school so that wouldn't work. I have threatened them with pop quizzes, they have taken them and failed them, and the majority of them have expressed to me that they don't care at all. These are a tough group of kids, and it is hard to scare them. They don't care about grades, going to in school suspension, or getting suspended. They sit in class and refuse to do work because they say that they know they can go to summer school. I just know something can be done to get these students' attention. I really need help! Please help!
     
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  3. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Sep 30, 2007

    First of all, nearly every student is not every student. Don't PUNISH the ones who aren't causing the problem. Find ways to connect to the ones who are trying and are doing the right thing. Find ways to reward these kids.

    As for the others>>>>>They need consequences... Are these problematic kids causing problems in other classes? What are those teachers doing?
     
  4. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Sep 30, 2007

    I agree. I don't know that you need punishment so much as a change in approach.


    Speak to some of the other teachers in your school. What do they do? What do the administrators suggest?
     
  5. uteachme2

    uteachme2 Rookie

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    Sep 30, 2007

    Yes, some of these same kids are acting up in other classes. The admininstrators are thinking about taking away the summer school option. One other teacher who I talk to has been at the school for quite some time, and I can't deal with these kids in the way that she does. She has a reputation at the school and most of them listen to her automatically, but she has suggested calling parents. If you really want to know, the whole school is kind of out of control, and the climate is terrible. Even though this is true, I still wish there was something I could do inside of my own class to reach out to these students who apparently seem to not care and want to stop others from learning. I have come to the realization that if nothing is done school wide first, then I may not be able to have an effect at all.
     
  6. Mamacita

    Mamacita Aficionado

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    Sep 30, 2007

    Can you remove the few who are behaving properly to another room for ice cream, etc, keeping the others in your room for. . . a less entertaining venture? Then bring back the well-behaved students, still licking the last of their treat off their fingertips, say nothing, and carry on?

    I do love rewarding good kids in front of the naughty ones.

    And yes, it's wrong to use tangible rewards when knowledge for knowledge's sake should be enough, but with some kids, that's not enough. Some kids, like some donkeys, refuse to move forward unless there's a Jolly Rancher dangling in front of them.

    If all else fails, teach to the well-behaved kids and retain hope that something will sink in with the naughty ones. Sigh.

    But PLEASE do not aim everything at the lowest common denominator. That is so unfair to the kids who work hard, behave well, and try.
     
  7. ddb23

    ddb23 Companion

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    Sep 30, 2007

    Instead of focusing on creating punishments, why not create engaging activities for them to do? Think of different approaches and group activities that they can do. Make them responsible for learning the material through the activities.

    You're right about scaring them - most middle schoolers have "been there, done that."
     
  8. wunderwhy

    wunderwhy Comrade

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    Sep 30, 2007

    We all know how unrealistic teaching movies usually are, but I think that the way Michele Pfeiffer changes her class dynamic in Dangerous Minds rings true. At the beginning, they are totally rude and disrespectful. She finally gets through to them, and by the end, they are upset if she isn't cheerful or if she doesn't make them do their work.

    The veteran teacher you mention sounds like a good example. If you can show the kids that you care (which it sounds like you sincerely do, despite the less than ideal conditions in your school) AND YET will not tolerate disrespect or not doing their best . . . No, it won't be a Hollywood tear-jerker ending where your students turn to little angels overnight, but I think that their behavior will change.

    Your situation reminds me of my first year (teaching 7th grade English). It was a rough school -- the principal always sided with parents, we couldn't fail kids if the whole team didn't agree a month before school ended, and they were automatically passed in summer school. I had more failures than successes in terms of classroom management, and I definitely let them "get to me." If I could do it all over again, I'd probably teach the same lessons, but I'd interact with them differently. It's hard to put into words, but it mostly boils down to how you react when they try to act up. I wouldn't let them ruffle my feathers, but I also wouldn't back down.

    One success I did have came with a class that accused me of being prejudiced. (That hasn't happened to me since my second year of teaching. I basically think that's code for "I don't respect you and I thought I could get under your skin if I said this.") I gave them a very heart-felt speech about how much that had offended me and how they had to follow the rules, and if I reprimanded them for breaking a rule, it didn't matter if they were yellow, purple, or blue, and wasn't that in fact evidence that I wasn't prejudiced, that I applied the same standards to everyone? And I told them how much prejudice upsets me. This could have been a disaster where the class lashed out at me all the more, but instead they were contrite and I received several apologies. Sometimes you just have to put yourself out there -- I come here every day because I care about you, and all I want is for you to succeed, and I need you to work with me, and I will apply the same rules to you as everyone else because I care about all of us learning -- and the good kids who are inside them will hopefully come out.
     
  9. Malcolm

    Malcolm Enthusiast

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    Sep 30, 2007

    Call home. Sometimes that is all that is needed. And if nothing happens, you know that you are on your own.

    In school suspension won't work even if you have it. It is only useful to get rid of someone so learning can occur in the classroom. The tough kids would rather be there than your class. Home suspension is even less effective. That is just where they want to be.

    Lunch and after school detention in your classroom can be effective. They hate it when you eat into their personal time, even if by just a few minutes. Friday school (3 hours in my school) or Saturday school (5 or so hours in other schools) really gets their attentioin

    Making them sit quietly for a few minutes at the end of class seems to work sometimes. Don't teach anything. Just get on their case if they start talking.

    Letting them have a few minutes free time at the end of class if everything planned for the period has been completed is a nice way to reward them when they
     
  10. Malcolm

    Malcolm Enthusiast

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    Sep 30, 2007

    Call home. Sometimes that is all that is needed. And if nothing happens, you know that you are on your own.

    In school suspension won't work even if you have it. It is only useful to get rid of someone so learning can occur in the classroom. The tough kids would rather be there than your class. Home suspension is even less effective. That is just where they want to be.

    Lunch and after school detention in your classroom can be effective. They hate it when you eat into their personal time, even if by just a few minutes. Friday school (3 hours in my school) or Saturday school (5 or so hours in other schools) really gets their attentioin

    Making them sit quietly for a few minutes at the end of class seems to work sometimes. Don't teach anything. Just get on their case if they start talking.

    Letting them have a few minutes free time at the end of class if everything planned for the period has been completed is a nice way to reward them when they aren't disruptive.

    Of course, good classroom management begins with a good lesson plan.
     
  11. interart

    interart Rookie

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    Oct 7, 2007

    Good classroom management does not always begin with a good lesson plan. I'm an art teacher, I have a class where invariably about 3/4 of the kids run in, see the samples/examples/references, get all excited and want to work. The other 1/4 immediately starts throwing the supplies around the room, running around, and screaming over me so that the kids who want to hear instructions can't. The latter kids don't know what the lesson is. When I've asked what they want the answer is either "it's art, we wanna draw" meaning that they want to "draw" gang tags on the tables, or they just say they "ain't doin' nothing" and continue. Parents/guardians either are unavailable or say they can't control the kids either.

    Last class I just stayed in one place to watch them - as soon as I turned to answer a question things started flying. Suspension isn't allowed. If I bring in all those kids for lunch detention, they'd have a lovely time trashing the room even more. I can't have after school detention without notifying parents beforehand, and most parents have disconnected phones or don't answer.

    I understand what you're going through and wish some of the above advice would work. I've tried most options and those I haven't tried I'll certainly try in the future. Good luck and let us know if anything works!
     
  12. mstemple05

    mstemple05 Cohort

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    Oct 7, 2007

    I think good preparation with the lesson plan is where good classroom mgmt would begin. not so much that you have something for them to do, but that you walk around and make sure they get it done. always having something to fill the entire period.

    i can't speak for everyone and i know some places are worse than others. i don't have the best kids but i guess i don't have the WORST ones because charters kind of get to weed out the "bad apples" from the traditional schools. but i still have the underprivileged urban crowd..

    anyhoo, my point being is that I know my problem with classroom mgmt is unpreparedness. i agree with wunderwhy-you DO have to put yourself out there. SOMETIMES you have to joke around-not on their level or never be serious & work-but you have to let them know you're human. i find that MOST children while they want structure, they don't need ANOTHER yelling mom or dad. you have to be strict, but you have to be that other adult figure they think wants good for them. someone posted on here that kids do want to be liked by well-meaning adults. a lot of times they associate yelling & constantly riding them as "why you don't like me/what i do to you?!?!?!!!!?!?" they don't equate constantly picking @ them as "i KNOW you can do better, so i am on you because i'm waiting for YOU to realize it too."

    yea, kids are weird like that. :confused:

    all in all, the best advice i can give that was given to me my first year-it's all about the balance. you have to find the balance between STRICT & LAX. and then after that, you have to then convince your kids that just because you are human, doesn't mean they don't have to respect you as an adult. they & you have to know when to shut off and turn on that switch. there's a time to be human and care and be "soft" about it and then there's a time to still care but "i can't be nice about it right now."

    make sense? :unsure:
     

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