Bad decision

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by Newkindermom, May 21, 2015.

  1. Newkindermom

    Newkindermom Rookie

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    May 21, 2015

    Hi all! I would love your feedback and advice...

    I am finishing my first year as a kindergarten teacher previously I was an inclusion co-teacher (mainly supporting classroom teachers). I am seriously regretting my decision to move to classroom teacher. This was something I dreamt about doing since I can remember, but ended up doing sped because there was a job available and I needed a job at the time.
    I have had a very hard year in terms of classroom management and behavior. This is clearly not my strong suit. I am soft spoken and truly love teaching and children...meaning I am not even a little scary. I work in an urban school setting and it has been a struggle for me, to the point where I am thinking of seeking other employment or returning to sped. I feel that I am a great teacher for academics but can not get the behavior management down.
    My questions:
    How much a difference would switching to a suburban school district make (if I could find a position)?
    Should I just go back to sped??
    If I am stuck in this position again next year..
    What on earth can I do to improve myself for next year??? I have tried just about every management plan, I give consequences, I give rewards, I am firm and try to be consistent, I use a clip chart, I involve parents... The students are just not respectful towards me and I KNOW it's something about me that's triggering this.
    Any help is so appreciated.. I am literally at my wit's end and there is still another month of school! Thank you!
     
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  3. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    May 21, 2015

    A transfer to a suburban school might not make a difference, but it also just might. If you still consider this your dream, try to find the place that is the right fit.

    Also, you very well could be the type that is meant to be the support.

    If you're stuck, I sympathize. I've learned classroom management is more about training yourself than the kids. Do you have a mentor?
     
  4. Newkindermom

    Newkindermom Rookie

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    May 21, 2015

    Thanks for your input Backroads. How do you mean train myself?

    And I have started to feel like maybe I should have just stayed a sped teacher because of my personality, but there were many things that were not my favorite in that job (testing and so many meetings!!) whereas I LOVE the majority of what I do as a classroom teacher... It's just the behavior that is out of control.
     
  5. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    May 21, 2015

    Train yourself: It sounds like you've already done it, trying to be fair and consistent. It's a trick to build up, but can be done!
     
  6. LovetoteachPREK

    LovetoteachPREK Companion

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    May 21, 2015

    This may not work for everyone, but I think that with younger children, the key to classroom management is empathy and entertainment.

    First, have you read Teaching With Love and Logic? There is a golden rule "make them fall in love with you." If you can get the kids to hang on your every word, they are more likely to comply with your requests.

    Which is where the entertainment comes in. With little ones, songs, tricks and fingerplays and can elicit absolute silence. It worked better for me in PreK than in first, but a fun song that ends in quiet is a great way to line up and a great fingerplay is great for an attention-getter.

    I also love the Class-Yes from Whole Brain Teaching. The sillier the better!

    Those tips won't solve all your problems, and believe me, there are days when I think I know nothing about classroom management, but if I were you, I would give it another year and really devote yourself to trying a few different things.

    Lastly, I don't use a clip chart for about a million reasons. I won't go into them in this post, but if you google it, you'll find why a lot of teachers are doing away with these.
     
  7. Newkindermom

    Newkindermom Rookie

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    May 23, 2015

    Lovetoteachprek, thanks so much for your feedback! I think your are right that I absolutely need to work on making lessons for interactive and engaging with more songs and movement for next year. And after using a clip chart this year I completely agree... NEVER again for me!! I felt like I needed something visual for behaviorally challenged students (which clearly I have quite a few!) but all it has done is alienate those students and embarrass them and has not fixed their behavior one bit. I am also going to check out the book you mentioned and thank you for suggesting I give it another year!
     
  8. FourSquare

    FourSquare Fanatic

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    May 24, 2015

    It could also be the grade level! I was a terrible Primary teacher, classroom management-wise. But things got a lot better when I went up. Are you maybe just not a K teacher?
     
  9. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    May 24, 2015

    I am very soft spoken but have one of the best managed classes in the district according to my P. I've read many management books and take the pieces of each to make my own style.
     
  10. *Schoolmarm*

    *Schoolmarm* Rookie

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    May 25, 2015

    Classroom Management

    I'm not a fan of rewards. But I do like to offer inspiration for kids to work for. I like to notice kids publicly for good things, not consequences.

    Right now I have a construction paper ice cream cone on the board. I cut out colored circles for ice cream scoops. The students earn scoops for the whole class by following procedures, showing respect, staying on task. I remind them each morning that 100% of the class on task is what earns a scoop. When there's enough for each student to have a scoop we'll have a party. I've done this with popcorn, movies, Legos, Shoes Off Party, etc. I make my parties academic most of the time by planning centers or activities. It's also good to send home a note to tell parents what they're working for or when they have succeeded in earning a party. Many parents will support you at home by checking in with their child daily.

    These sorts of things are great because you can make a hero out of your toughest kids and get them to work for you. The trick is to catch them the moment they begin to follow a procedure or get on task. The earlier in the day the better. Make a big public deal about how this student just earned a scoop for the class by doing ______. The class will cheer for him/her and you'll get some mileage out of it. (If you want to prevent an uproar of cheering, you can say "Two taps for Jonny and back to work!" Students tap on their desk.)

    You can also ask for a trusted mentor, colleague, or principal to observe you. They can give you ideas and point out areas that you can easily fix. You've probably got tricks up your sleeve that you just haven't discovered yet. Another set of eyes or a brainstorm session on a tough kid might be just what helps you solve it.

    Be very careful about making next year's decision based on how you feel at the end of the year. ALL kids are tougher this time of year. And the teachers are tired.
     
  11. Newkindermom

    Newkindermom Rookie

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    May 25, 2015

    Teacherintexas, what do you suggest for someone that is soft spoken? What works best for you?
     
  12. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    I've read CHAMPs, Whole Brain Teaching, Love and Logic, the Fred Jones book, The First Days of School, and books by Lee Canter.

    Read anything that appeals to you and take the parts that you like.

    I'm the quietest one on my team but can get 100 kids quiet in seconds. Being loud doesn't automatically get the behavior you want. One of my teammates has a naturally loud voice, yells often, and has horrible classroom management.
     
  13. LovetoteachPREK

    LovetoteachPREK Companion

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    May 26, 2015

    I agree with this too! I don't love rewards, but when I use them, I try to do whole class rewards. We've done "Beat the Teacher" where they have to be ready and quiet before I count to a certain number. I've also done "Brownie Points" where they earn a paper brownie until they fill the pan, then I bring real brownies to eat. At Thanksgiving, they earn turkey feathers. Sometimes there isn't even a prize involved, just hey-let's see if we can fill this turkey full of feathers. I think another key is novelty. Things work for awhile and then it's time to try something else.

    Good luck!
     
  14. Newkindermom

    Newkindermom Rookie

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    May 27, 2015


    Thanks for the ideas! I am starting to like rewards less with every year I teach. I find that students begin to *expect* rewards for everything they do! When I was a child, I NEVER in a million years would have asked my teacher for so much as a sticker. But different times now..

    Next year I want to incorporate more "privileges" and whole class prizes rather than tangible rewards.. I just really don't like students constantly reminding me and asking me for stickers and pencils because they think they did a good job! Oh my goodness!

    I also think next year I have to be very clear about expectations right from the start.. Does anyone else have students that are just very disrespectful? (Talk while you are, you give a direction they purposely do the exact opposite...)

    I am just Very excited for summer vacation!
     
  15. Newkindermom

    Newkindermom Rookie

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    Jun 3, 2015

    I just wanted to give an update.. I had an evaluation with my principal and overall it was very good. I KNOW I am doing well with actual teaching.. So that was encouraging. However, he did say that I needed to have higher expectations for behavior from the start next year and I need to be more "black and white" about management rather than always in a gray area.. Which I think is a good way of putting it. However, that is my struggle with teaching K I feel like everything ends up being "gray" rather than yes or no or black or white? Does anyone understand what I mean? I feel that with little kids management is more individualized rather than blanket rules for everyone.. What do you all think??
     
  16. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    Jun 3, 2015

    I'm not sure that he is wanting you to have blanket rules for everyone. Could he mean that you need to follow through with acceptable consequences for individual transgressions?
     
  17. missrebecca

    missrebecca Comrade

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    Yes, rewards are tricky. This is my first year doing NO tangible rewards because my school doesn't allow them, and it has been nice to not have kids asking for them. One of the only privileges I like to give out is being on the "I Can Manage Myself" chart. This means that a student has earned the right to get out of their seat, get a tissue or drink from their water bottle, etc., without asking permission. This was great in my urban school setting last year. Not sure if this would work for your age group, however.

    Clear expectations are key. You will also have to reteach your expectations on a regular basis, no matter where or which age group you teach.

    Defiant kids just need more consistency and firmness. They will test your boundaries, so being consistent with everyone, every time, is important. It sounds like you are trying to do this, but in practice it doesn't seem to be working. I would take a hard look at how you are really handling behavior management situations, and maybe ask others who have observed you for honest feedback.

    You can certainly be soft-spoken and have excellent classroom management. In fact, I think it's better to speak softly so that students must be quiet in order to hear you. If you have to speak loudly just to be heard, that shows that some kind of background noise is going on, and your students are likely distracted/talking/playing. You can teach a quick classroom quiet signal that will eliminate noise and activity, enabling you to speak in your normal voice.

    I left a Title I urban school district for a suburban charter school, and it i definitely easier. However, it depends on the population of students and how well your school handles behavior management. If kids are well cared for, have food on the table, and have a stable home life, they will tend to be better behaved. But there will always be behavior problems, and you find different issues in wealthier areas such as helicopter parents and students with a big sense of entitlement.

    Behavior management is definitely learned, so don't be too hard on yourself. It is certainly different moving from small groups to large ones. Let us know what you decide to do! :)
     
  18. Newkindermom

    Newkindermom Rookie

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    Jun 3, 2015

    Thank you swan song and miss Rebecca for your thoughts.. I agree that there has to be a disconnect between what I think I'm saying to the students and how it comes across. I thoroughly went over rules, routines, and procedures with these kids and they STILL in June do not follow them. Even when I repeat and practice them, even when they miss fun activities for not following rules/routines. It does not seem to matter. I think it would be helpful to have someone watch me and get feedback.
    And I also agree that there are behavior problems wherever you go.. And I know that would be the case. But, I just have a feeling my personality would be much better suited for a different setting.. I grew up in a very nice school, with nice students who loved learning.. Working in my urban school is like being in the twilight zone sometimes... The behaviors are enough to make you crazy, never mind all the difficulties the students face in their lives.. Just a very different world. I do love helping the kids though.. It is very rewarding in that way.
     

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