Bored students/overwhelmed

Discussion in 'General Education' started by riverdance85, Oct 15, 2013.

  1. riverdance85

    riverdance85 Rookie

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    Oct 15, 2013

    One of my new worries as a beginning teacher is that students are bored and that I feel that there is nothing I can do to make them happy. I teach Spanish and about half of them are being forced to take my class as its the only foreign language offered at our rural school. I fear my activities are boring to them (and can be boring to me as well). My selection of activities are growing but still are limited. Is there anything wrong with using the same type of activities for every chapter? They are the same basic activities, but for certain topics I use unique activities. Am I going through something normal as a sophomore teacher? What should I do to calm my qualms?

    I also suffer from morning anxiety. My heart starts POUNDING when its time to wake up. I fear that anything bad might happen such as disrespect at me and throwing of pencils behind my back. I worry that students think my class is boring and that there might be a mutiny someday. Some students skip by faking a needed visit to the nurse's office. I've been so nice to them until about a week ago and now I've been having to take a more serious approach.

    Again, is this all normal for a second year teacher? I really like my job for the most part, but this constant stress is wearing me down.

    Thanks for listening to me and offering any pointers you might have.

    riverdance85
     
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  3. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Oct 15, 2013

    Anytime you can change things up, do it. Students love learning and doing new things, whether its a new activity (enacting a play in a foreign language, doing orals, writing stories in a foreign language, reading a book, learning about the foods of the culture, learning a new vocabulary game).

    I think it's also important that you don't feel that your activities are boring. If you think they're fun, that feeling will come off in your activities. If you're feeling anxiety each morning, take a few minutes each morning and get rid of that anxiety. Simply sit somewhere you feel comfortable, take a few deep breaths and let yourself know that today will be a good day, and that no matter what happens, you'll deal with it calmly and with dignity.
     
  4. fraudelong

    fraudelong Rookie

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    Oct 15, 2013

    I can really identify with how you feel, because the way my school is structured many of my students are forced into German. I try to combat this in a few ways:

    1) Give them a reason to move several times a week, if not every day. It could be a game, or a structured discussion...even if it's as simple as practicing weather or asking names, make them practice. For example, if you want them to find partners, you can assign them a famous person. (Batman) Then, they have to ask, "What is your name?" in Spanish to find their partner. (Robin) It mixes up who they're working with and makes them practice language.

    2) Make them say the word before they see it or write it down. That way they're not focused on writing, and not able to say the word, AND bored because they feel like it's all notes.

    3) THE COLOR GAME. This is a great opening game and a great way to kill 5 or 10 minutes (though it can be loud). All students stand. You tell out a color (VERDE) and they have to hurry and touch green somewhere in the room. I push this along by counting down (CINCO, QUATRO, TRES, DOS, UNO!) As you get less kids in the game, only count down from 4 or 3. Make them only use specific walls. They have a blast even in upper levels and they have to actively think about colors and numbers.

    Anyway, if you ever want to bounce an idea for an activity off of me, feel free. I had a wonderful CT that I stole dozens of ideas from, and I make up games often. Language needs to be FUN for it to be effective.

    OH! Another thing I really like is I ask the kids the same questions every day - How old are you, Where are you from, How is the weather today, What time is it, and What is the date. In earlier levels I ask things like What's your name and What color is this? After a couple weeks I have a student ask the questions and their peers answer in German. They do this every day and conduct a whole 5-10 minute conversation in German. They also correct each other's German. I really like it a lot.
     
  5. riverdance85

    riverdance85 Rookie

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    Oct 15, 2013

    Thanks!

    I appreciate your responses. I feel better now and am also feeling more confident. I have noticed that some mornings I am able shake it off with positive thoughts. A lot of these things are out of my control, and I need to remember that.


    Frau, thanks so much for the input. I will try your colors suggestion. I really like that idea! A perfect filler. I also like the idea where I will have the students say the new vocab words before I show them the word.

    Danke schoen! (I think I spelled that right!)
     
  6. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Oct 15, 2013

    Yup, you nailed it, at least if we can't use umlauts.
     
  7. fraudelong

    fraudelong Rookie

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    Oct 16, 2013

    I'm glad! I thought of one more thing after I posted this...

    Do as MUCH culture as possible, and show them as many reasons as you can why they should care. Cool things they didn't know happened in Spanish-speaking countries, products from there, songs, history, etc. Once the kids found out that Adidas and Puma were German and had a cool history, they were in. I also had to fight a lot of Nazi stereotypes. Make it as relevant as possible. :)
     
  8. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    Oct 16, 2013

    While this advice my seem a bit extreme, if I had my 1st year of teaching to do over again, I would make the first 6 weeks rules, procedures, and work, work, work. Yup it would be boring, but then it is just for 6 weeks and a work ethic would be created.

    Then I would slowly add in a few fun lessons and gradually add more as the year went on. If students get a lot of fun lessons too early, they get entitled to them and they can get lazy. Not always true, but I believe it is true most of the time.

    Therefore, if you are boring right now...it is okay. Get a good routine going and the fun can happen later.
     

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