Confidence is Leaving Me!

Discussion in 'New Teachers' started by txteach2b, Sep 6, 2013.

  1. txteach2b

    txteach2b Comrade

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    Sep 6, 2013

    Having a very rough day. My confidence is wavering. I'm having quite a bit of trouble with one of my classes, and I feel like the progress I've made with my other classes is being overlooked. All others can see is that one class. I've tried many things that have been suggested, and they're not working for me. Part of it is their background vs. mine (at risk vs middle class), and I don't know how to talk stern like they're asking. I don't know how to break down those barriers. It also doesn't help that I was gone Tuesday for a family emergency, and I've had them for 3 days this week, 8 total days.

    This afternoon, I rearranged desks for the third time to a Fred Jones type set up. I've changed seating in the middle of class, tried rewards, taking things away, talking stern, etc. Nothing is working. I had a meeting, and it was suggested my delivery wasn't the way they needed it to be. So, to keep that class active, I tried making notecards with steps of the scientific method. Name a step, define in your own words, and draw a picture. They were even confused on that, even after I made an example on both the chart paper and the Elmo. The single most biggest issue is the talking, and I've narrowed it down to a handful. They are separated, but they talk loud enough for them to be heard around the corner. I tried calling parents the other day, and most of the numbers didn't work. I'll be calling more this weekend.

    It's frustrating because I can see the looks on the faces of those who want to learn, and those few who are so disruptive are taking that away from them. I'll take any advice at this point, and point out my flaws (just be gentle, I'm fragile at the moment). I want to get this under control now, while it's still early.
     
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  3. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Sep 6, 2013

    It sounds as though you've tried an awful lot of stuff in 8 days... are you giving each change a chance to work?

    What do you do when they talk??

    What's the discipline structure in your school?? Can you give after school detention? How do other teachers handle similar disruptions?
     
  4. schoolteacher

    schoolteacher Habitué

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    Sep 6, 2013

    I'm sorry you are having a rough time with this class. I understand how discouraging it can be to feel as though you are not being successful and to feel as though you are letting down those who want to learn.

    What do you think is different about the way you deal with your other classes? You said you are making progress with them. Is it that there are more disruptive students in this one?
     
  5. willow129

    willow129 Comrade

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    Sep 7, 2013

    ARGH I just wrote this whole post and my internet glitched and I lost everything I had suggested...

    I agree with Alice. Maybe try sticking with one idea longer. I know that kids often act like they own the place, but the things you're doing with them are actually new to them. I teach music but I think the principles are the same so for ex: When I teach the kids a dance, I break the thing down into the smallest steps I can imagine to practice everything, and in bite size pieces. I gradually build up to the whole dance. Inevitably, when we put it all together for the first time, there is confusion, the kids don't get it, they act like they don't like it, they complain, and they feel awkward. I don't spend too long on it so the class doesn't get really negative, just show them how it's supposed to work, then sense when it's time to move on. I might follow that with a review activity for something else they definitely can do (if I'm super smart :p). I never spend the whole time on just the dance. Then, the next class, I'll come back to the dance. I don't say "we're trying that again" because they will complain. We just do some of those small steps to review, then build back up to the whole dance. It always goes better the second time, and you can build on that. Often, they end up LOVING it because they know they GOT it. That's when you smile!!

    So, this all might be completely different for your subject but:

    I think that note card thing is a good idea. Putting things into their own words is a good skill for them to have always (I don't know what age this is...) and you can come back to that and use it again in the year, so practice it. I know you probably want to just get to them knowing the scientific method right away because you're excited about it, but break that activity down. Maybe just start with the drawing on the card to represent something. Then do the sentence but create it as a class. Then gradually get them to do the thing on their own. Then, you can totally use that method of note taking for almost anything I imagine! Don't give up because they're confused the first time, they just need practice. Tell them, I'm not giving up on this!! I know you can do it! :)

    For the calling out (so, classroom management is not my strength BUT) I stepped into the shoes of a teacher who was absolutely a legend. She was a commanding, talented, african american (I feel this SHOULDN'T matter but I think on some level it might?) woman, who was a goddess of the room: hilarious but also feared. She was also my mentor and had the same effect on me ha. Obviously I pale (oh, ha! pun..) by comparison. But a technique that the kids often talk about that she used to do (I wish I could use this but I don't want them to compare me to her) was "going to the clock". If they made a small misdemeanor (not like, throwing something or being unsafe) like calling out, she would say to the student "do you see the ITTY BITTY LITTLE red hand on the clock?" and they would say "yeah..." "I want you to watch that ITTY BITTY LITTLE red hand until it goes by the 5 two times, then you may return to your seat." and the kid would go there and stand sheepishly at the wall watching the clock. It's essentially a time out. But it's not "I'M SO DISAPPOINTED IN YOU" just, you broke a rule, here's the consequence, then come back and try again. She has gotten so she even uses this with high school students too, and they will ASK her how long she wants them at the clock for. But, the reason this is effective is it is also essentially a warning, and they know it's one BECAUSE if they've had their warning/consequence and they're still calling out, then they get sent to the office. You've made it clear that's not ok and they know it, they're not going to stop and they're disrupting student learning, so send them out at that point.

    I often give advice I'm still working on trying to follow, but these are my goals too. I'm so new to this, and have really similar problems. I totally came home yesterday and just busted into tears about my last class, it was miserable. So I'm also really looking forward to seeing what more skilled teachers suggest.
     
  6. willow129

    willow129 Comrade

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    Sep 7, 2013

    Good God. I'm sorry, I'm so wordy :( They called me the detail girl in 3rd grade
     
  7. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Sep 7, 2013

    Oh, I suffer from that too!!!

    Here's another idea: since you teach science, can you play with the curriculum a bit so you teach something guaranteed to catch their interest??

    So, for example, I see you're in Texas. If you're anywhere near the Gulf, I imagine your kids are well acquainted with hurricanes. If hurricanes are on your syllabus, can you talk about the great Galveston hurricane-- show historic clips, (the Weather Channel has some amazing footage)-- really get them into the topic. I bet it would grab a lot of those "border" kids, the ones who are deciding whether to "join in the fun" or be one of the good kids this year.

    Let them see what it is that drew you to science in the first place.
     
  8. Milsey

    Milsey Habitué

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    Sep 7, 2013

    Why not put the 4 or 5 disruptive children in other classes? That's what we did at my last school.
     
  9. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Sep 7, 2013

    Doesn't that just transfer the problem to another teacher, as opposed to solving the problem? Someone has to teach them.

    And who's to say that the other teacher doesn't have 4 or 5 even worse students she's dying to palm off on the OP?:eek:
     
  10. HistoryVA

    HistoryVA Devotee

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    Sep 7, 2013

    I know, right? I can already hear my colleagues bartering.
     
  11. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Sep 7, 2013

    You know the old saying: Beware answered prayers.
     
  12. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Sep 7, 2013

    (Willow, I like your style. Is that mentor around to take to coffee and brainstorm with, I hope?)
     
  13. willow129

    willow129 Comrade

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    Sep 7, 2013

    Hahaha!! :lol: aaah..

    Actually though, in really EXTREME cases we moved one or two kids last year. One case was because of bullying, the parents requested it, and the other was two kids were just a terrible combination and one or the other or both was always getting sent to the office. (two kids with anger management problems) I definitely don't think you could get away with switching 4 or 5 kids though! Hahahaha
     
  14. willow129

    willow129 Comrade

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    Sep 7, 2013

    Thanks TeacherGroupie!! Well so, I really should have talked to her more. I was so overwhelmed last year and also really intimidated that I was taking over her old school (she's at the high school now). There was one teacher who was there right after she moved up, who really didn't do well and then retired after one year, I was an aid in the school while that other teacher was there so when she retired I took over music. So I mean, over all the kids were happy that I was there because I was more organized and interesting but I definitely didn't compare to the teacher who had been there for YEARS. The kids will still bring her up when I take out certain instruments that remind them of her, which I mean, is great! They had an awesome teacher :) It's just hard for me, so I had a hard time asking her for advice. I think that she got that I was feeling stand offish too.

    But I'm wondering, I know she's not paid to be my mentor anymore, now that I feel a little more settled in there, if she would let me meet up with her for lunch or something to talk about things.

    That's actually another suggestion for OP, if there is a tried and true teacher at your school who could give you advice or observe you, that can be helpful. :)
     

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