Basically just a new teacher vent

Discussion in 'New Teachers' started by MissEducation, Oct 28, 2009.

  1. MissEducation

    MissEducation Companion

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    Oct 28, 2009

    Today I was in library dealing with a girl who was not outrageously disrespectful to me but was not respectful either. I talked to her very calmly and quietly because I feel like she's the kind of kid who's very reactionary and getting nasty with her does nothing but fuel the fire.

    As I was leaving, the librarian called her over and reamed her for being disrespectful to me. The librarian is a battle ax and has in the past yelled at my students in front of me while saying things like, "You may take advantage of MissEducation but you're not going to take advantage of me." I know it's totally out of line of her to say things like that because it undermines me, but it still makes me feel like a doormat. I know the kids are disrespectful but I don't have a magic formula to make them stop. I am trying the best I know how and at the moment it's not good enough. I don't ever feel like I have total control and it's so stressful.

    I am trying whole brain teaching but the troublesome students who make the class hellish are the same ones not responding to any new methods. I try to stand by my threats/promises but the problem is I feel like I never know when to make the threat! There are many steps my school has in place, and when I'm in the moment I can never determine how serious the behavior is and what type of punishment it warrants. Experienced teachers just seem to instinctively know when to give a detention or call a parent or send someone to the office.

    Is this a confidence issue? I have never felt less confident than since I became a teacher. I love my school and most days I love my job but I have never felt so inept, and I always considered myself to be a smart and successful person. When will I feel like a normal human being again??? :confused:
     
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  3. Peachyness

    Peachyness Virtuoso

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    Oct 28, 2009

    Is this your first year teaching? Teaching is so hard. I remember my first year and thinking the same things as you (I taught kinder, BTW). I felt lost at times, scared that I wasn't handling a situation correctly, was I being too mean, was I not being mean enough....? Well, flash forward to five years later. I have a much better grasp on how to handle situations. I'm called a mean teacher, but at the same time they all love me and hug me and draw pictures for me or bring me flowers. I'm "mean" but very consistent, fair, and I do a lot of fun activities. That's the kind of teacher I want to be, someone who is viewed as being fair, consistent, strict, but fun all at the same time. It's very tough to get to that point.

    It will just take time to get the hang of it. As situations arises, you will reflect upon them, think about how you handled it, what you would do differently, and then next time, you will be better equipped to handle the situation. It will just take time and experiences to get to where you will feel comfortable.
     
  4. UCLACareerChngr

    UCLACareerChngr Comrade

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    Oct 28, 2009

    okay, I saw your other post and am responding to this one as well...since you seem to have questions when to apply discipline, and you had a problem with the sub and them not respecting your classroom, I do think that you need to take some action...I think that they DO need to either get detention (talk with your administration if you think they will balk at a mass detention). You said you were worried about the seriousness of a detention but I think it's warranted...okay, done with thread hijack...but I didn't want to jump back..

    As to the issue of the librarian, I think you just need to let that wash off your back...maybe she thinks she's being helpful or maybe she's just a busybody...I have gotten very good about nodding my head, thanking the person for the input, and then walking away and deciding whether I want their feedback or not...sometimes I do and sometimes I ignore it. Just something you'll get over time.

    As for confidence...is this your first job? Fresh out of school? I think some of it just comes with time. Don't assume that you have to be nice in order for the kids to like you...I have found that if you are consistent and fair they may not like you but they are more likely to respect you. And, that will tend to help you relax...if you are consistent that over time it becomes easier to determine what to do and when to do it regarding punishment...

    It's NOT easy...it does take time. I do recommend that you try to find someone on campus that you can bounce ideas off of (not the librarian, obviously). People like her have found that always being mean 100% of the time work for them...I have found that doesn't work for me, but, if I need to get mad to get my point across, I can.

    As for confidence, subject matter mastery works wonders for your confidence...as you spend more time in teh classroom you'll just get more confident.

    Good luck, good resource here for you...
     
  5. Missy99

    Missy99 Connoisseur

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    Oct 28, 2009

    I noticed in your post that you used the word "threat."

    Big mistake. Never threaten. Tell them what their expected behavior is, what the punishment will be if your expectations are not met, and then follow through if they mess up.

    Do not threaten: "If you don't stop that, I will..." That NEVER works (and the kids know it).
     
  6. amochoa

    amochoa Rookie

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    Dec 19, 2009

    As a new teacher also, I can feel your pain. I teach preschool and K-5 pe. For my K-5, they come in with 4 points. The rules linclude:

    Respect others.
    Follow directions.
    Listen and be quiet when others are talking.
    Participate.

    I have a chart for each class that hangs in the gym. All of them start out at 4 points. When they break a rule I make them move their name down a point. They physically have to punish themselves by moving their name down. And it's visible for everyone to see they are getting in trouble. Once they get down to 0, they must go see the principal.

    Since you teach middle school, I would suggest three chances and your out. First time, give warning, second time give detention, and third send them to the principal.

    I know as a new teacher you want to be liked and not be mean. But I have found that you have to be mean about the rules, or they will walk all over you. Other teachers will notice to, as say the librarian in you case, and they will question your ability. And make sure you always follow through. If they break a rule, punish them. That is the only way they will learn.

    I hope this helps.


    ---------------------------
    “Learning is a treasure that will follow its owner everywhere.”
     
  7. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    Dec 24, 2009

    I've not gotten my first teaching job yet, but I went through some of the same experience during my internship. As Missy99 pointed out, "threatening" does not work. I learned that the hard way myself because I would make the threat, then feel bad and want to cut the kids some slack. In the end, I just undermined my own authority.

    It was difficult, at times, because I had some rules the other teachers did not; no backpacks in class (safety issue plus they clutter the floor) and no work done in pen were the two primary ones. I did my best to enforce the backpack rule, even though the other teachers didn't seemed concerned about it. However, I became absolutely adamant about not using a pen.

    One day, I just wrote on the board "If you do it in pen, you do it again". The kids laughed about it until I handed homework back to two girls with a "0", even though they got every problem correct. When they asked why they got a zero, I just pointed at the board and said "I don't accept work done in pen". They grumbled about it, but re-did the work in pencil.

    After that, the students knew I was serious and it became much less of an issue.

    Peachyness is right that students will respect you more if you are strict but fair. On the last day of my internship, I was very touched when the students gave me a bag full of hand-made cards they had written. As I read the cards, I couldn't help laughing out loud. Several of the students had made some comment about "If you do it in pen, you'll do it again". :lol:
     
  8. exiled_seagull

    exiled_seagull Rookie

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    Jan 5, 2010

    I notice when discussing class management you're focussing mostly on the troublemakers here. I'm only in my 3rd year so I've been there, and that's where I was in my 1st year too, so it's nothing new.

    With what I've learned in my short career so far, I now get better results and behaviour. One of the important areas to focus on is a good routine and structure to all classes that all students will follow. If students know an exact and consistent set of rules and exact consequences that are always carried out they know they can't push the boundaries, and that's helped my class lots.

    Also, collective responsibility can be remarkably persuasive ;) If there's some objective for the whole class with a points target, perhaps points go down if certain things happen and up if other things happen, it's in everyone's interests for things to go well. That said, that's a 1-term thing, to get them in good habits in the first place. Once the habit is formed, that crutch can be removed.

    Finally, a lot of bad behaviour stems from either not understanding the lesson and zoning out, or boredom. If the kids aren't engaged by the lesson they'll behave badly. In that regard, I learned to keep 'me-talking-bits' to a maximum of 7 minutes at a time, and get them doing stuff as much as possible during a lesson. Don't just tell them something, get them to perform experiments to find it themselves (very effective in maths and science), etc. That makes the world of difference to behaviour in my view.

    Finally, you won't win them all. Sometimes the kids home life is sufficiently bad that no amount of school correction can fix the mess the parents are making. Some kids at my school are horribly disrespectful (none of my students thankfully) because all they see at home is their parents drunk and abusive. Social services doesn't exist out here so it's a real problem. It's hard to fix that, and generally shouting at them and telling them off doesn't work, so you called that one right. Better to get them in a one-to-one conversation and just find out what's on their minds. You'd be surprised what you find. I've had some results that way but not won them all.

    Finally (and I mean it this time!) you're new to teaching, but you're also new to the kids. They're figuring you out. I've seen it at my school, whoever the teacher is they go through phases of first being nice, then testing the new teacher, and then the next step depends on the teacher's response.

    Hope this helps...
     
  9. exiled_seagull

    exiled_seagull Rookie

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    Jan 5, 2010

    That'll teach me not to read a whole thread. You said it better than me :)
     
  10. halpey1

    halpey1 Groupie

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    Jan 17, 2010

    It is a confidence issue and it's also totally normal. :)

    The first few years of teaching are all about getting your footing and feeling like you are capable. This is my fourth year teaching and I'm just starting to feel like I know what I'm doing and am doing a good job. Hang in there.
     
  11. ChristyF

    ChristyF Moderator

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    Jan 17, 2010

    I agree with the others, it is a new teacher feeling. As you get more comfortable with the kids and the school it will improve. If you can, talk to the librarian and let her know how much you appreciate her supporting you, but that you don't want the kids to get mixed messages. It may or may not help with her, but when the kids see you strong and standing up for yourself, they will know that you are in charge. Next year's group may be completely different than these. This is my 13th year teaching, and I still have classes that push my buttons. This year I have 26 kids, only 8 are girls. That means a classroom full of boys. I don't have any major behavior issues. It's talking. They literally can't stop talking. I work on staying consistent with my behavior management, and I try to make sure that those good kids don't get lost in the mix. They get extra benefits and privileges that the others don't. When I first came to this school I thought that I needed to be positive Sally all the time, now I know that while we push for positive, sometimes you have to be tough. Good luck! Things will get better!
     
  12. wrice

    wrice Habitué

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    Jan 17, 2010

    Hang in there!
    That librarian was out of line. She should never have said anything disparaging about you in front of your kids.
     

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