Classroom Management

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by NewKindy1, Sep 20, 2015.

  1. NewKindy1

    NewKindy1 Rookie

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    Sep 20, 2015

    I made a post about this a while ago in the Kindergarten sub-forum. I am having major classroom management problems and I am at a loss. My principal talked to me this past week and gave me a copy of what she wrote during her visits to my classroom. Long story short, IT WAS BAD. She even gave me my copy of my informal observation earlier than the other teachers. I could face termination at the end of the year if I don't turn this ship around:(. My contract is only for one year, but to be completely honest I wouldn't really want to go back to that school again.

    But the stress is just killing me and I can't catch a break. At work, all I'm hearing is "you should do this" "you're not doing this". I know it's early, but I'm starting to think teaching is just not the right profession for me. I'm stressed out all the time, my kids won't listen to me AT ALL but they listen to my para. The minute she leaves the room, they go haywire and act as if I'm not in the room. I'll end up quitting early if I don't get this under control.

    My class is probably the worst in the whole school. The other teachers in my grade group are helpful, and give a lot of good advice, but at times it seems like too much advice and I don't know how to use it all. Everyone says use incentives, but does that mean I have to give them something like a sticker EVERY day? My para will give them a piece of candy, if they do something good; I don't really want to do that, but I don't see anything else working.

    Also, what do I do about consistently disruptive students who don't care if they get a treat or not? I even tried to go over my routines and rules again. When I was going over how they come into the classroom I asked "how do we come into the classroom?" they said "quiet", but one student yelled "talking!" and the other students started laughing and I couldn't bring them back to focus after that. This problem is obviously affecting my teaching performance. My principal wrote that the students weren't engaged in the lesson, and I certainly don't want them to be bored, but does that mean I have to put on a song and dance for every lesson?

    What should I do? I think it may be that I look too young. What can I do to get them to respect me as an adult and not just my para? How can I keep them engaged and not bored while learning? What do I do about disruptive students? I wanted to try ClassDojo, but because of privacy issues, I don't think I can use that. So what can I do? I want to be an effective teacher. I don't want the music teacher or the librarian to dread my class coming to them. I don't want the 1st grade teachers to say "I don't want Ms. NewKindy1's students in my class, they're dumber than bricks and they don't know how to act". And even though I don't really want to stay at my school after this year, I certainly don't want to be looking for a job and have my principal say "Ms. NewKindy1 was a horrible teacher and I wouldn't hire her":(.

    I'm just so stressed out with everything: classroom management, paperwork, parents, and my mom is constantly stressing me out, I just can't catch a break:(. The stress and anxiety is really getting to me and is affecting my health :help:. I feel like I'm barely keeping my head above water here.
     
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  3. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Sep 20, 2015

    Kindergarteners aren't affected by you looking young. They are affected by your not knowing how to manage them. Rather than suggesting a litany of management strategies (marble jars, flcking lights, etc) let's look at what you're doing. Tell us about your rules, consequences, philosophy of mgt, how you handle misbehaviors...tell us about your lesson design. K kids generally want to please, have fun while learning and need a lot of movement....how are you incorporating these ideas into your teaching?
    Think about this a bit and let us help you in meaningful ways...
     
  4. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    Sep 20, 2015

    If they are listening to the para, but not you, then that's a starting point for you. Sit down for twenty minutes with your para, figure out what she's doing that you aren't. Watch her do her thing. I'm guessing she's more experienced than you, so she could be a valuable resource.
     
  5. Preschool0929

    Preschool0929 Cohort

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    Sep 20, 2015

    I too would like more info about what you are currently doing so that we can give some useful strategies. One thing that sticks out to me is your para using edibles to help with behavior. If this isn't something you are using as well or that you want as part of your classroom management, I would have her stop immediately. Consistency is so important in K, so I would start by making one plan for overall classroom management and handling misbehaviors that you are both using.
     
  6. LovetoteachPREK

    LovetoteachPREK Companion

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    Sep 20, 2015

    I wonder if some Power Teaching (Whole Brain Teaching) strategies could help you. Check out their website and YouTube videos. It is highly structured, and even if you didn't use everything, it might give you a start. I remember a YouTube video of a kindergarten teacher who used it and she had the students repeat things as they did them. For example, as they were lining up they said "line, line, line," etc.

    I don't use a lot of WBT, because I think it can be a little too authoritarian. But, if you are really struggling, it might be a good place to start, or at least check out their website. Class-Yes can be fun for little ones and it is an easy start.

    A fun game I tried when I had a very talkative active group of first graders is "Beat the Teacher." I would give a direction and a number I would count to and they would have to "beat" me. I would sing "Beat the Teacher...desks and pencils out in 15" then I would start counting. If they were all ready before I got to zero, they got a point. After a certain number of points, we did a free recess or video or something.

    For lining up, find some good songs or chants, or play Simon Says. They love "Simon Says stick out your tongue" and then they can't talk!

    I'm rambling, but really it's a matter of trying a million different strategies until you find what works for you. Keep trying!
     
  7. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Sep 20, 2015

    Remembering the OPs previous thread. Her aide uses a yardstick to maintain control thru fear and intimidation. Many many 'tips' were suggested in that thread. Clapping, light flicking, marbles, clip chart, dojo. The simple fact is that none of these will work until you realize you need to hit restart and get tough tomorrow. Not yardstick tough, but consequence, I'm the one in charge tough. Let your kids AND your aide know this through your demeanor, words and actions.
     
  8. mrsammieb

    mrsammieb Devotee

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    Sep 20, 2015

    Teaching is not easy. I believe all teachers are doubters. We only see what is NOT going right and bypass the good. I am sure there is some good things going on in your room. Take a breath! Just like the previous post you need to re-set your classroom. Go over procedures everyday. Think of what you want to fix the most and fix it. Find someone doing it right and PRAISE the livin daylights out of them. You can do this. Remember Rome was not built in a day! Fix one issue at a time.
     
  9. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

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    Sep 20, 2015

    Narrating has made a big difference in my classroom this year, rather than praise alone.

    "Jason is sitting quietly. Michael is starting on question 1. Julie is sitting criss cross applesauce. Jose's eyes are up front and mouth is quiet, so I know he's ready."

    Also, using modeling and the power of 1 has helped me...

    Let's say you want everyone to push in their chair quietly and line up. Instead of dismissing everyone at once, model it first. Ask what they noticed you did. You can also model how not to do it, and have a kid model how not to do it. Then ask a student to show how it is done just like you did it. Ask the class what they noticed that that student did. Ask another student to show how it is done. Ask for one group to show how it is done. Then dismiss groups or individual kids quietly.

    These two things changed my classroom and teaching in positive ways this year. Good luck! I am way better at what I'm doing this year than I was in my first year. You'll get better too. One day at a time, and don't beat yourself up when things don't go as planned. Just resolve to have a better day tomorrow.
     
  10. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Sep 20, 2015

    I and a few others asked this in your previous thread but we weren't given answers.

    What are your rules? What are your consequences for breaking these rules?

    Forget incentives, clip charts, praising the poop out of them for behaving like normal human beings (although that might be necessary for Kinder, I wouldn't know). If you don't have a foundation of rules and consequences, you're not going to be making any progress. What are they?
     
  11. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

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    Sep 21, 2015

    Seconding this. What are your rules?

    I underestimated the importance of rules when I started teaching. You have to reference them regularly (not just have up a poster). Also, I recommend specific ones like keep hands to yourself, rather than vague ones like be respectful.
     
  12. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    Sep 21, 2015

    Okay take a deep breath. The problem isn't complicated, and it sounds like you pretty much know it. Your students will not do what you ask them to do. You have a classroom management problem-no more--no less. Lots of teachers have this the first year. Your decisions in the next 4 weeks will make all of the difference in the world. The best teacher I have ever seen with classroom management (in over 20 years of teaching) looked like she was 16. I have never seen any teacher who came into teaching looking so young. I am good at classroom management, but she was the best. Your looking young has nothing to do with the problem.

    What you need to do is clearly decide what you want. Let's say you want the children to enter the room correctly. Then, what to do is model this. Show them how to do it correctly. Then ask for 2 volunteers. You'll get them. Have them show how to enter the classroom correctly. Then praise them and ask if anyone else would like to try coming into the classroom correctly. Now you have a half a dozen. Then practice, practice, and practice.

    Next day, guess what will happen? Yes, they will come in noisily (although probably a bit of improvement). Send them back out and have them come in quietly. They are still noisy. Have them try it again, again, and again until they get it correct. You don't have to ever allow students to enter the classroom incorrectly. Once they see that you will be more stubborn than they are (and I am sure that is saying something-because Kindergartners can be stubborn), they will eventually give in. You must decide what your procedures are and embrace them as if your life depended on it.

    Now there is nothing to say that you need to be upset or even overly serious about this. It is okay to make a game out of it and not say anything negative. If you send them out and half are noisy, just say wow, half of you came in correctly that is so much better. Now let's try again and see if we can get everyone. Now what if everyone is good but one. Let's call him "Billy". Now is when you can go with a consequence. Call Billy to the side and tell him the class will play a fun game and you want him to join them. He is not allowed to play until he comes in to class correctly. If he is still noisy, begin the game while your aide helps him with coming in classroom quietly. Once he cooperates, he can play.

    This is what works. I see teachers get walked on all the time by their students as they hand out candy to their students hoping for miracles. Incentives can come after you have some routines in place, not before.

    Until you have classroom management-especially preocedures, you won't be able to teach anything. Once you have it, you can teach anything!

    Good luck to you.
     
  13. Obadiah

    Obadiah Groupie

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    Sep 22, 2015

    I agree with the above posts. And it can and will get better. Young children are flexible; they don't become locked into certain behaviors for the rest of the year. The teacher can assist them in learning new behaviors. They start out needing to learn reading, math, etc., and if they can learn that, they can learn to follow classroom procedures.

    You are already on top of this, because you are reaching out to find ways to manage the situation. That proves that you ARE an effective teacher.

    Some stuff that helped me--be sure to get enough sleep, and arrive at school early, early enough to relax at your desk, view the room, imagine the students (behaving), and meditate for 5-15 minutes. Be sure you are breathing normally or taking deep breaths (without holding the breaths). Throughout the day, if you notice breathing in short breaths due to stress, take a couple of seconds to breath normally again. (When I'm stressed, my shoulders rise up in the air, and I need to relax them, otherwise, I end up with a headache)!

    I try to remember that I am not reacting to the students. I am in charge. I am not the boss, but I am the manager.

    (With respect to differences in the following philosophy, as I've seen effective management done otherwise,) I would avoid raising my voice. I can be consistent, with high expectations, with a quiet, pleasant, caring voice just as effectively, if not more, than a stern, angry, raised voice.

    I've almost finished reading a really, really good, new book on this, (I referred to this in an earlier post,) No Drama Discipline, by Daniel Siegel and Tina Bryson, 2014, Bantam, NY. (My only disagreement with the book, especially in the classroom setting, is that they seem to de-emphasize standard consequences). The main point of the book is on how parents (or in our case, teachers) react to situations of misbehavior or when students are expressing emotional responses. I highly recommend it as a resource.
     
  14. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    Sep 22, 2015

    Yes, let's take a look at your rules and consequences. I myself took down the clip chart this year and am loving it (funnily enough, there is a clip chart in my room... the Spanish teacher brought in for herself when she teaches... but it's only for Spanish). So you don't need any cutesy little behavior boondoggle. You're more than welcome to have one, but establish your rules and consequences first.

    Write the rules down and display them. Write the consequences down and display them.

    Now clear the better part of a week. All other subjects will be secondary until you get this down. If this means interrupting a lesson to fix classwide misbehavior or a badly performed procedure, well, consider the lesson stayed for later. You can't pass them onto first grade if they haven't the slightest ability to follow instructions and they will become "that group".

    So, make the lesson plans for a week secondary to consequences and procedures and rules and all of that. Repeat, repeat, repeat until they do it right. If they do it wrong later... repeat, repeat, repeat until they do it right. Math and stories and the alphabet be darned. They can learn all that when everyone is sitting quietly.

    Also, practice a good poker face. It doesn't have to be neutral or stony, but it can't be upset. This is crucial. No matter what those kiddos do, nothing gets to you. You are impossible to break.
     
  15. burgandy01

    burgandy01 Rookie

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    Sep 25, 2015

    Wow..excellent ideas, thx!
     
  16. olivecoffee

    olivecoffee Companion

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    Sep 25, 2015

    Focus on the positive. I know this is hard to do because it's easier to say "Stop talking when I'm talking" or "Sit down in your chair!!" What I say to my kiddos is "I like the way Tommy is standing quietly in line." "I like the way Jane is raising her hand to ask a question. What would you like to ask, Jane?"

    You have to connect with these kids. Yes, it is about authority. It is about follow through. It is about consistency. But it's also about connection. I work with 3-5 year olds with special needs, many of whom have behavioral issues. Take the time to CONNECT and get the kids loving and respecting you. You want to be a reinforcer - you want to intrinsically motivate these kids. My kids will do ANYTHING for praise. If I praise one student, I immediately find the rest of my students' getting their crap together so they can get praised, too.
     
  17. futureteacher13

    futureteacher13 Rookie

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    Sep 26, 2015

    Hi! I have been Paraprofessional for the past 6 years! I have learned a lot about teaching over the years and I must say I LOVE your post! It was such an inspiration for me, as I hope to have good classroom management when I become a teacher. I will say that as a Para, I have grown so much in the past 2 years with regards to classroom management and I want that to continue as I make the transition from Para to teacher one day! :) Thank you once again for your great post. It inspired me so.
     

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