Hello fellow teachers, this is my first post at this forum and already I'm asking you for help. I teach first year high-school and I'm not getting through to the students at all. They don't see me as someone who should be taken seriously. They talk during my lessons (even the ones that used to be quiet), sometimes they use mobile phones or cameras, they bring mp3 players to my classroom, they study for other subjects (especially if there's a test) or do homework for other subjects. We don't get anything done, because it's impossible to teach. There's no detention or sending the kid anywhere here, no taking away lunch or recess. I think I could call the principal only if something very serious happened. She's observed some of my lessons and said that I should make them more interesting. At the moment I just tell them what exercises to solve and then we check them. Not very interesting I know. I've observed one other teacher and when I modelled my lesson after hers the principal said it was ok. Regarding punishments - the only things that it seems I'm allowed to do are: check a student's knowledge and grade it (but everyone says they don't do that very often), write the student's name in their class book and demand a formal punishment, contact the parents (although it's mostly the class teachers who do that). I've told them that I will do this too many times, when I actually did it, it didn't have much effect any more. I haven't called the parents yet, but I saw a couple of them at the regular teacher-parent conferences. There have already been complaints about me and requests that I should be replaced. I was thinking about sending a note home for every little thing (not doing your work at school and not bringing homework). The principal told to give those who don't do their work extra assignments to complete. I have two students in the classroom who won't open a book if I don't stand right next to them and give them a speech about it and even then they put it away as soon as I'm gone. I have more than 30 students in the classroom and it's hard to control them all at once. I see that some of them would like to learn and are not happy with the situation, but it looks like some just don't care. It seems they like the extra break during my lessons. About making the lessons interesting - I've tried a few things but it worked for a few minutes only, then it's all back to where it was. A friend of mine suggested I should give the most talkative students an assignment (give them a week to learn a few passages from a play and present it in the class, write a few lines about the play and the author and read them beforehand). I feel like I don't know anything sometimes. I'm looking for help everywhere. I don't know what you must be thinking about me now that you've read this. I know first year teachers have problems but sometimes I think that no one ever was as bad as I am. I'm sorry the post is so long, but I just couldn't stop once I started writing.