Classroom Management?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by ryhoyarbie, Sep 29, 2009.

  1. ryhoyarbie

    ryhoyarbie Comrade

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    Sep 29, 2009

    So I'm student teaching this semester for free! and I thought after subbing in two school districts last year that I would be better with the classroom management stuff. But it seems like things aren't going so well, at least in my opinion.

    Take today for example. I had a worksheet for the students to do about some of the things we've been going over in the 8th grade history class I'm student teaching. I told them I'd give them about 20 minutes to do the assignment and go over it with them and told them they need to work on the assignment and not talk. However, being 8th grade middle school students, they did talk and I had to address the problem around 5 times and even told them in a regular tone to stop talking and get their work done since most of the students were still working on the assignment.

    Then by the time I get to addressing the worksheet and going over what the students had, three of the students started to talk while I was explaining some of the answers. I was thinking "how freaking rude do you have to be to talk while I'm going over the worksheet with you". I talked to one of the three students but should have talked to all three.

    Anyway, as some of you have been teaching for x amount of years, what kind of advice do you have for me? I'm considering to be very strict tomorrow and let them know their behavior has not only been rude but also been unprofessional, especially for students who are 8th graders going into high school next year.
     
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  3. rachaelski

    rachaelski Habitué

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    Have a system in place. Verbal warning--lunch detention--call home. I teach middle school as well, I am more inclined to do group work with something like that. They can talk....then you can say, guys I let you talk THEN, now it is time for you to listen.
     
  4. Major

    Major Connoisseur

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    I don't have classroom management problems. Any rude or disrespectful kids are dealt with immediately. They are warned in such a way that they become sheeplike for the rest of the period....... or they are dismissed from the classroom (i.e. send to the "office"). My classes are fun and enjoyable ...... except for those who make poor choices.

    In the morning tell them right up front what you expect in the way of behavior........ then follow thru.....

    Good luck
    Major........:)
     
  5. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    I'll second what Major said. Small problems, nipped in the bud, seldom become larger problems.

    And I'm thinking that your 3 friends might just owe you a letter of apology. I've found that kids HATE writing them (my own kids in particular) but that's OK-- they owe you an apology for their rudeness.
     
  6. Canadian Gal

    Canadian Gal Habitué

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    I use a timer as well as pyramid of intervention system. My kids are generally great, and consistency has helped with that.
     
  7. ryhoyarbie

    ryhoyarbie Comrade

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    Thanks for the adivce. I think I just need to be a little more stern/strict, but not so much that it makes me sound like a jerk to them.
     
  8. Canadian Gal

    Canadian Gal Habitué

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    Actually you should start the year as a witch. Get nicer as the year goes on. Its easier to get nicer - its a lot harder to break bad habits and become stricter.
     
  9. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Not me.

    I start off the year the same way I end it; there's no dramatic change in my demeanor, my rules, or my enforcement of them.
     
  10. Major

    Major Connoisseur

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    I like that Alice......:)...
     
  11. Canadian Gal

    Canadian Gal Habitué

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    Much easier when you have been in the school and the position for awhile and have a reputation that is easily maintained. I am developing a reputation where I am now. However, this is still in process so to speak. So while I am consistent with discipline, fun activities and days are earned especially in the beginning.
     
  12. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Good point about the reputation. And it's hard being new. I returned to teaching in 2006 after spending 6 years home with my kids. As far as any students in the school knew, I was a "new" teacher. (They had no idea that I had taught there for 13 years prior, had been department chair, and had taught many of their teachers.) So, yes, it's hard, especiallly when you end up teaching upperclassmen, who assume that their years in the building without you mean that they know more than you.

    I'm not saying I don't have my moments, or that the kids don't have theirs. But I always hated the whole "don't smile 'till Christmas" thing. For starters, on top of everything else involved in teaching, it's another job-- inventing a false, meanie persona. But, more than that, I think it can be counterproductive. The kids behave only out of fear. That doesn't lead to the kind of "classroom community" I keep reading about. It means that, if you're having a rough day (and I had LOTS of them last year!!!) you can't count on any sort of support from the kids.

    I prefer to be me. I'm consistent, or at least I try to be. For better or worse, you need to be on time for my class all year long. You need to be in uniform, you need to be attentive. But if you, or I, do find something occasionally funny, that's OK-- we can share a quick laugh and then get back on task.

    I realize it doesn't work for everyone, but it works very well for me. My kids like my class, even if math isn't their favorite subject, because they're comfortable being there.
     
  13. Canadian Gal

    Canadian Gal Habitué

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    See I smile, but I am incredibly strict with my rules and procedures at the beginning of the year. As the kids show me they can be trusted, I give them more freedom. My older kids have far more freedom then my younger ones.

    Comfort is a big thing too... I teach a lot of Social Studies and I want kids to be comfortable sharing their opinions and ideas with me.
     
  14. runsw/scissors

    runsw/scissors Phenom

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    I start the year uber strict and lighten up as I see the rules and routines being followed without lots of reinforcement on my part. That's not to say I let them get away with more, I just don't need to constantly reinforce the rules or apply consequences because the kids do what is called for. The first month of school I can be seen as very tough and have even heard that a parent called me a dictator. As we fall into our routines and such I am able to have more fun with the kids, laugh and joke with them more.

    It is easier to be a toughey at the start and lighten up as the year progresses rather than the other way around. If you start out easygoing and try to lay down the law later the kids won't respect the rules as much. You have already established what you will put up with, and they always remember that.
     
  15. SouthernBuckeye

    SouthernBuckeye Companion

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    I start the year off welcoming, but firm. I expect respect, and respect the students in return. I tell them that I am not there to be their friend, but I do want to do fun activities with them if they earn them. Usually I start with independent classwork and tell them they have to earn working with a partner next time by staying focused and quiet. It works well.
    Also I don't tell them anything about my personal life, etc. It's not necessary. Though I will throw out the occasional anecdote when a lesson ties into one.

    Now that we're well into the year, I'm starting to dole out detentions a little more, since I think we're past the point of still learning routines/procedures/expectations.

    This is the first year where I started the year feeling fully confident in my classroom management abilities. My first year teaching, I was in a horrible school and told the kids I was new my first day. Oops. My second year, I was in a new, different building, and was scared to death not knowing how admins handled discipline, etc. Now it's my third year, with this being my 2nd year in the same building and now that I knew the school culture it was so much easier to come in and get started.

    Some things come with experience too. Last year I was in a room with two doors out to the hallway. The kids used both doors and would be in and out til the bell rang. Chaos. So this year, the rule is there is only ONE door they may use to enter/exit, and when they come in the room, they are in--no going back out into the hall. It works well. I'm not in the same room again, but I did wind up in another room with 2 doors, lol.

    It also helps to have a warm up activity ready when they come in--a few problems, or a journal, or something. Then they immediately have a task to work on quietly while I take attendance, so that nips problems that might otherwise occur in the bud.

    Finally, I keep all my attendance and behavior logs in a binder, and I write down everything, no matter how trivial. Why? Because many times a kid will do something later in the year, and then I can hand over a pile of documentation over the the AP dealing with it. I print and put all emails about kids in it, and if I call a parent I write down the date of the call and what was discussed. If I issue a detention slip, I put my copy of it in there too. I will probably start noting when I compare notes with other teachers in it too about student behaviors and work habits. It's called CYA...Cover Your @$$ if you know what I mean! ;)

    Sorry for the long huge post lol. I have just learned so much in the past couple years, none of which they remembered to mention in my UG courses or student teaching of course. :)
     
  16. msmullenjr

    msmullenjr Devotee

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    :yeahthat:
     
  17. Hoot Owl

    Hoot Owl Aficionado

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    The time you're spending "free" student teaching is your contribution to the profession, gotta love it.

    Be firm and loving.

    Check out:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eBeWEgvGm2Y
    It's Whole Brain Teaching and will revolutionize your teaching. Sign up for their free newsletter.
     
  18. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    The student teaching for free comment made me smile. Yep, and you'll be working many hours "off the clock" for several years and each time you have a new prep or change schools.

    Does your ct have a discipline plan? Or can you implement your own if there are not set consequences and expectations?
     
  19. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    I'm with Alice- no witches here.

    I build a classroom climate and community. Students feel capable, connected and contributing. I make a personal connection with each of my students and their families.
    This is a proactive approach which goes A LONG way in managing behaviors- my kids simply want to do the right thing for the good of the group and themselves. It's not about avoiding punishment- it's about good choices having good consequences.
     
  20. Bumble

    Bumble Groupie

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    Actually I'm new to teaching and I was told I have good classroom management. I am a witch and the parents thank me for it..haha I was told before I started that I have a tough group of kids. Most of them have very poor behavior grades from last year. I can say all of my kids are great. We practiced procedures until they were sick of it. I reinforce them constantly, which everyone likes...even we like reinforcement. I'm new to this school and my kids listen to me. I think all kids will listen to you if you establish procedures, consequences and follow through with them.
     
  21. ryhoyarbie

    ryhoyarbie Comrade

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    The mentor teacher's discipline is: first-warning, second-give them an isolated seat so they can calm down, three-detention and call parents.

    Yesterday during 5th period was crazy. I wasn't for sure if it was because it was friday, or the fact that the students have a 3 day weekend, but the students coming in kept on talking during the warmup. After I told them not to talk, they finished they're warmup still talking. They were supposed to do a poster over some of the concepts we've been studying, however, since they showed poor behavior skills (kept on talking), they did an assignment worksheet by themselves. Although some students continued to talk, I finally got them to not talk.

    I even told them they had better behavior skills than what I just saw and told them my expecations for them are no different than the other teachers they have. I told them that I wanted tuesday day to be a better day, reminded them about the three day weekend, and said have a good day. The class dismissed and left.

    What I should have done, which I didn't think about until after they left, was to have the students who continue to talk to go up to the class and just stand. Then after a few minutes, tell them if they're ready to stay on task and let them get back to work. I'll implement that strategy next time.

    I'm also dealing with 8th graders, if that makes any difference.
     
  22. monsieurteacher

    monsieurteacher Aficionado

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    I'm no expert in middle schoolers, but unless I am misunderstanding you, I can see this strategy backfiring on you. I suppose what I may be misunderstanding is when you say "go up to the class and just stand"... do you mean step out of the class? This may be more acceptable, assuming you trust them not to go anywhere. I'm picturing someone who has shown they are unable to behave coming up to the front of the class to stand, and then being even more disruptive at the front of the class.
     
  23. sue35

    sue35 Habitué

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    For those that have no problems with management how do you deal with those who are talking? My class is very chatty and I don't really know what to do when they are all being too loud. Telling them to be quiet doesn't work. Help!
     
  24. ryhoyarbie

    ryhoyarbie Comrade

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    I suppose if several get too disruptive I could have them go wait out in the hallway. However, they're still going to be talking out in the hallway before I get to them. This is something I'm still ironing the wrinkles.
     
  25. rachaelski

    rachaelski Habitué

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    Middle schoolers are all about respect and fairness. With kids this age you need to give clear expectations and MODEL them. Show them where you want their pencil when you are talking. Show them how you want them to come into the classroom and what you want them to do.

    I have found that having the attitude that says, I don't want to treat you like children, so don't act like children works wonders with this age group.

    I am not mean, I am fair but firm. I laugh with my kids. In fact, just yesterday my student said something inappropriate for school (but hilarious). Since I have built a sense of mutual respect with this student I told him, "That was funny, but inappropriate for school. Please dont do it again." Will it work, maybe not, but I know that he will think twice before doing it in my classroom...which is progress.
     
  26. Doug_HSTeach_07

    Doug_HSTeach_07 Comrade

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    I have found time on task to be absolutely essential to classroom management. If you give kids free time, watch out and do so at your own risk. To me that is the ultimate red DANGER sign and something I always try to avoid.
     
  27. schoolteacher

    schoolteacher Habitué

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    Don't address the problem 5 times. Address it once. Do it swiftly and with a consequence, and you will find that it will not surface often in your classes. By talking about the problem 5 times, you are letting students know that you are willing to focus on their off task behaviors and use up class time to do so. 8th graders love nothing better than to be off task and to hook the teacher into giving them lots of attention for it, wasting lots of class time. Stop them in their tracks by cutting right to the bone. Tell them once, show them you mean business by delivering a consequence, and you will experience much less disruption.
     
  28. dale.louise

    dale.louise New Member

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    Thanks for your advice !
     
  29. rachaelski

    rachaelski Habitué

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    When I need my kids quiet I count down backwards and say, "I need your attention in 3-2-1 and quiet." My 8th graders actually like it, and they are self-proclaimed chatty group.
     
  30. Canadian Gal

    Canadian Gal Habitué

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    Well I start off a lot more strict then I am at the end of the year, but I work with Middle School kids, so its also important to make deposits into the emotional bank so to speak. To go with my strict consequences, I have a reward system. I also work hard to develop relationships outside the classroom with kids who are my biggest "discipline" issues, because then you have some ways to connect with them in the classroom.

    Again, being new in a school, you have no reputation to go on, and if you're like me and look like you're 13 and playing dress up(in the words of one of my students), you don't get any of that immediate teacher respect, because kids are going to think you're a pushover. I show them pretty quickly that I'm not.

    This year, I'm finding, I don't have to be as strict (its my first second year at a school). My two classes of older students were quickly reminded of my expectations and its very easy to deal with small behaviour problems. My new group of younger kids have heard from their friends and siblings what to expect from me, and I'm even able to ease up on them in regards to behaviour a lot earlier than I was able to last year.

    Reputation has a lot to do with it. To tell a first year teacher or a student teacher that kids aren't going to try to walk all over them if they just make connections with kids and their families... well I don't think it works that way. Especially since in most of my first years, I didn't have time to make connections outside the classroom with many kids and families - I was too busy worrying about doing a good job inside of it!
     
  31. Canadian Gal

    Canadian Gal Habitué

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    I use a timer and keep them after class for the amount of time they wasted during my class. We only have a couple minutes between classes, so kids get lates for showing up late to their next class, and I refuse to write a note to excuse their lates if they were chatty, so they end up with late detentions. I do let those who were not talking or who were shushing their peers to go early.
     
  32. skittleroo

    skittleroo Connoisseur

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    I agree - we all have done it. And, for what it's worth rhyarborie, it is worth it in the end. You will have learn so much by the end. And be ready to be hired for real.

    Also, when you get a class like this next year, you will have this experience to reflect on and handle it even better.

    Good luck and just think of all the stuff you are learning........
     
  33. ryhoyarbie

    ryhoyarbie Comrade

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    I'm liking that idea right there. I think I'll use it and keep on using it for the rest of my tenure.
     
  34. runsw/scissors

    runsw/scissors Phenom

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    Get your hands on a copy of Teaching With Love & Logic as soon as possible. It is full of great ideas all of which are very practical. I have seen it work in every grade from k-8 (the entire range of grades in my school.)
     
  35. Bumble

    Bumble Groupie

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    I say "my time 5-4-3-2-1....Who looks like a million dollars?" and acknowledge the kids who are doing the right thing.
     

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