Back from the dead. How to thrive with difficult students?

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by Iris1001, Oct 5, 2021.

  1. Iris1001

    Iris1001 Rookie

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    Oct 5, 2021

    Good morning, all.

    I hope this message finds you all well and safe. I know I have some explaining to do. I kind of had a bit of a breakdown in the beginning of September, but I'm doing much better now. Here's what happened:

    I got a job that's close to my old, traumatic school. I was looking for problems everywhere, anticipating the worst. In my culture, there's a saying: "If you're afraid of ghosts, they will find you." I had one student talk back to me, and I immediately freaked out after school, crying and almost getting into a car accident because of my panic attacks.

    After the dust settled, I realized that I wasn't being fair, that I should give this district a try. After all, my last "perfect" district had its problems too. I guess every district has its issues.

    I didn't go on medical leave. I know I should have, but I'm actually taking an intensive therapy program at night after school. It's been doing wonders for me. I also got my medication back on track.

    I scored really high on my observation last week, and my supervisor loves my work. I even think the kids are starting to like me. We're currently reading some wonderful works of literature. My biggest challenge is that I'm trying to make it relatable to them.

    I guess I got spoiled, you guys. I went from an affluent district to one that's a bit more challenging. The students are a bit rougher around the edges, but I do love them. I want to help them and I want to make a difference. I just worry because many of my kids are at a lower level, and I want to help them, but I'm not sure if I'm doing well.

    My biggest questions are:

    1. How can you support students with lower reading levels in an ELA classroom?

    2. Was it wrong to want to stick it out till the end of the school year at least?


    Thank you so much for listening, everyone. I sincerely appreciate all your feedback. :)
     
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  3. CaliforniaRPCV

    CaliforniaRPCV Comrade

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    Oct 6, 2021

    1) I dunno.

    2) Didn't you already answer that question:

     
  4. txmomteacher2

    txmomteacher2 Enthusiast

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    Oct 8, 2021

    Does this kind of answer really help anyone. This forum used to be a place we would come to for advice and be supported. For me it's turned into the same crap I deal with daily at my school. Judgmental ugly spiteful. Sure I don't know this person who originally posted because I dont usually read secondary threads but still if we were less of those things we might find we like each other and can help each other.
     
    mrsf70 and Iris1001 like this.
  5. agdamity

    agdamity Fanatic

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    Oct 8, 2021

    Your support will vary based on your learning objectives and the levels of your students. I’m an elementary learning specialist, so I could give advice if your students were younger. Do you have a literacy coach or department head at your school who could help you?
     
    Iris1001 likes this.
  6. CaliforniaRPCV

    CaliforniaRPCV Comrade

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    Oct 9, 2021

    You cut off the important part of the comment and turned my positive reply into a negative one. The OP spent a good amount of time talking about the positive results of staying, then asked if she was wrong to have made the decision to stay. Well, I didn't really understand that. You may have some trepidation making a decision at the time, but it seems very strange to double think success once it's done.
     
    txmomteacher2 likes this.
  7. Migajita

    Migajita Rookie

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    Feb 26, 2022

    Let’s face facts. Teachers are emotionally weak individuals. We need constant affirmation that we’re doing a good job and making a difference.
     
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  8. creativemonster

    creativemonster Cohort

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    Feb 28, 2022

    OP: It sounds like things are heading in a great direction- Congrats on the positive observation! I have found that lower level (actually all!) students really do better when I go through the material more slowly, breaking down the work. For example - If I am giving them an article and asking them if they agree with the author's thesis, why/why not, (I teach english) I might start by asking them to work out what is the author's thesis? How do they know this? That's informational text, with fiction I might ask them questions that are plot or character based before we get into the figurative language. ...for every single chapter. And I teach HS.
    Also, some of my lower level readers might be a lot smarter than they test - if they have interest, they will suddenly get really charged about a debate, which I will then turn into a persuasive paper. Which they will need to learn how to research for their facts. and yeah, they have to research for the opposing claim. How else can they go on to stomp all over it?
    Not sure if this is what you might be looking for. I also will say sometimes students can show ways to show their knowledge that doesn't include writing - which might not be their strength. I have a couple of gifted kids that can't write worth beans, but can argue academically on a level that is astounding, as long as it remains verbal only.
     
  9. creativemonster

    creativemonster Cohort

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    Feb 28, 2022

    oh yeah, and go easy on you and harder on them - I love getting them talking to each other - working in pairs to answer questions and then checking their answers with another pair, then maybe combining to come up with the best possible answer that they can then share with the whole class. I this way, the lower level readers are getting a hand up in a safe environment and you are building a culture of classroom cooperation. And it is a whole lot easier on you the teacher if you have large classes, which happens - often.
     
  10. newtheblo2

    newtheblo2 New Member

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    Mar 7, 2022

    oh yeah, and go easy on you and harder on them - I love getting them talking to each other - working in pairs to answer questions and then checking their answers with another pair, then maybe combining to come up with the best possible answer that they can then share with the whole class. I this way, the lower level readers are getting a hand up in a safe environment and you are building a culture of classroom cooperation. And it is a whole lot easier on you the teacher if you have large classes, which happens - often.
     
  11. newtheblo2

    newtheblo2 New Member

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    Mar 7, 2022

    oh yeah, and go easy on you and harder on them - I love getting them talking to each other - working in pairs to answer questions and then checking their answers with another pair, then maybe combining to come up with the best possible answer that they can then share with the whole class. I this way, the lower level readers are getting a hand up in a safe environment and you are building a culture of classroom cooperation. And it is a whole lot easier on you the teacher if you have large classes, which happens - often.
     

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