Controlling the kids

Discussion in 'Behavior Management Archives' started by MrT, Nov 9, 2006.

  1. MrT

    MrT Rookie

    Nov 9, 2006
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    Nov 9, 2006

    I have been subbing recently contemplating if I would like to teach. I graduated with a degree in computer science a few years ago, but after I got the job I kept asking myself is this what I want to do? The pay in the IT industry I discovered is not as glamorous as college kids are duped into thinking, jobs were hard to get, and IT jobs were most prominent in big cities.

    I love subsitute teaching. Teaching is hard work, but I have always enjoyed working with kids.

    Controlling the kids is the hardest challenge I have! I have become a lot better through experience. The first couple times I taught I got a D+ for the day. Kids were out of control, the principal and other teachers were coming into my class to control the kids, a very embarrasing situation.

    I have taken 0 credit hours of teaching. I have never been a parent, I have no clue how to control kids, but I am learning the hard way through my own mistakes. I don't like to raise my voice, but I am finding out it really helps. I don't like to be mean, but coming on strong sets the tone of the class. I assign homework If the kids are too loud. I don't like doing it, but it really helps the next time I sub that class; they know what to expect if they are noisy. I make the kids stay after class a couple minutes if they are noisy. I felt awful taking away recess from one of the students, but it was the only way I was able to regain control of a 5th grade class.

    Elementary is by far the hardest for me to teach. I thought it would be the easiest. I fiqured at that level they are learning all easy stuff. I never thought controlling the kids could be a problem. They don't pay attention to me, in middle and high school I will raise my voice, but elementary students are too little for that; punishment has to be much more creative.

    Then there are the students who want to run the class for me. They sense I don't have much experience in teaching so they want to take over. They volunteer to hand out discipline or make suggestions. I had one girl run to the chalkboard and put a students name on the board. She told me thats what Mrs. Jones does when someone is talking. I felt like an idiot telling her thats my job, then mimicking exaclty what she told me to do. I told the misbehaving student to be quiet and made a bad list on the board and wrote that students name down. I learned a lot about how to discipline kids from kids! I have been taking my students advice and the classrooms I am able to control better each time. I am suppose to be the teacher and they are teaching me how to teach.

    I had problems with elementary kids wanting to go to the school nurse for every little bump that happened in the classroom. Elementary kids are so careless I learned if I didn't watch them like a hawk they could easily injure themselves. First graders can't line up in a single file line like adults, they push,shove, and kick each other to get to the front of the line. What a mistake I made when it was time for recess letting everyone go at once. I had five injuries happen all at once, what a nightmare! I don't want to know what that school nurse must of thought of me sending all those kids down to see her. I learned to confiscate everything that a child could use as a weapon. Pens, pencils, scissors, markers, staplers, glue sticks, classroom books. I taught first gade one day and by the end of class I found I had collected a trove of potential weapons from the kids to prevent anymore classroom injuries.

    My biggest mistake was to be too friendly with the kids. I was warned about this from my uncle who also subs. I have a people pleasing personality and I don't like to make enemies. Trying to act like one of the students and get the students to like me doesn't work. I learned the hard way "your the best sub we ever had" usually means I am doing a lousy job because the kids are not behaving the way they normally would when their teacher is present.

    Any suggestions? Would I benefit from taking education classes?
  3. dreamscometrue

    dreamscometrue New Member

    Oct 19, 2006
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    Nov 10, 2006

    I'm in my first phase on my teaching credential. I also come from a completely different background(I did finance for 20+ years), however I have the advantage of having children. Unfortunately, without you having any teaching courses, you have had to learn everything "by fire". I have been subbing also, and I can tell you that things I've learned in the classroom and from my cohorts have definitely helped in the classroom. I would highly suggest taking some courses at your local college. Not only will the instructors give you tons of academic knowledge but also first hand knowledge, as well as the folks you're attending school with. I've learned several attention getters, and other classroom management techniques such as "proximity", "the look" and so on. If you can't take a class, look for books on discipline. l have also used the web site for positive discipline-look up Marvin Marshall- it's a good site.

    FUNSUB Rookie

    Nov 5, 2006
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    Nov 10, 2006

    I have been subbing for about a year and have had those experiences - I have been told I am the best substitute ever also and it is because I am the best that they have had. (see my other thread under new). all of those can be remedied! just tell them you have the plans that the teacher left, you appreciate their help but you can handle it, as long as they are not bleeding all over they do not need to go to the clinic every 5 minutes!. when getting in line "I want to see the best 1st grade (or 2nd or whatever) class in the whole school. you look good I look good". all of these things work for me! I have a 4th & 5th grade EH (emotionally handicapped) today with a teacher assistant and I am worn out. Most subs won't go back to that class, but I treat them just like anybody else and we get along fine! whenever I go back to a school, students from other classes see me and wonder when I am coming back! they have told their teacher and their parents about me. so, don't sweat the small stuff and have fun!
    I have my own business from home, so I substitute because I have a blast around elementary students! My son goes to middle school next year so I may include 6th grade.
  5. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

    Sep 4, 2006
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    Nov 10, 2006

    Each class will be different. One important thing to remember is you have to have confidence or at least pretend you have confidence in yourself as a teacher. Otherwise kids will smell newbie all over you.

    Do use your voice. This can be both positive and negative. Command authority with your voice, but also elicit help. Help comes in all shapes and sizes and cooperation is one of them. When appropriate you can also elicit a sing song voice to get them to copy your jovial tone. Each class is different. That is a key thing to remember!

    Use a clap or raise your hand to get them to be quiet. Clap-Clap Clap-Clap-Clap. Most kids know what this means and will copy it. Most of the time that will help quieten them down.

    Watch your transitions. Read your lessons for the day and think about this ahead of time so you can catch behavior pitfalls before they happen.

    Think about common rules. They are yours for the day. If the teacher hasn't told you her common rules, the kids will have to ask you and you will have to be consistent and not hesitant. (ex. pencil sharpening, bathroom, water, getting additional supplies, etc). These kinds of things kids will use honestly and manipulatively so you want to make sure you know what your policy is on these things before you get started.

    Use positive reinforcement when you can. It really does help. Thanks! Bobby, thanks for sitting quietly and waiting patiently for me to start. Class, I really appreciate you for following directions so neatly. That impressed me! Kids tend to fall over each other trying to do the next thing to be noticed.

    Ask them questions and engage them in the conversation. Make sure they feel connected to the lesson. You can even at times call on someone who isn't paying attention as well to draw them back into the lesson.

    Take an excercise break when you see them get too restless (10 min). Stay at your desk. Let's take a quick excercise break. Do 10 squats. (Do it with them).

    Use your body position. If a group of students is being disruptive, stand next to them and stare until they get the hint. Touch them lightly on the shoulder to remind them to stop talking. Sit next to a struggling student while talking to remind them to pay attention.

    Stop teaching. Stand there and look at them. They will usually get the message. You can give a cue such as "I am waiting for you to pay attention." Then don't say anything else until I do. You can't use this in all situations but it can be an effective ploy.

    Separate those who are repeat offenders, but you can do it gently at first. Bobby, I notice it's hard for you to focus on your work (ie, talking). Do you mind moving over hear for a bit. If you improve, I will let you move back. If it doesn't work, then get firmer. Praise them if they improve. Bobby, thanks for working hard. You can go back to your seat now.

    These are by far not ALL the management techniques you can employ. Honestly, each class will have a different set of responses from students but you can think ahead what you will do in certain situations so you know where you stand and what YOUR rules are. If you are lucky, the teacher will leave some of these rules for you so that you can be consistent.
  6. Heart2Heart

    Heart2Heart Rookie

    Oct 21, 2006
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    Nov 10, 2006

    Adding to DeafinlySmart's list,

    When you go to a class, if you don't have the rules for the class;give them your rules for the day. Rule #1- Raise your hand to speak, #2-Use inside voices, #3-Ask permission before leaving your desk, #4-Walk at all times. These rules are general and can be used all the time. I would put them on the chalkboard when I arrive or have them written nice and large on a poster and laminated to use for every assignment. Also, come up with your own quiet signal for the day. It can be: snapping your fingers, saying 123 all eyes on me, chanting a rhyme, or holding up a stop sign.

    When you go into a class always be prepared with your own little bags of tricks.

    1. I would always have a C.D. or tape with me to play when the class gets restless. Everyone loves to dance and move.

    2. Always bring a treat or reward for those who are following rules.
    It can be stickers, coloring books, an eraser, pencil, or something from the dollar store. As you see children obeying and listening randomly give out treats. This always gets everyone attention.

    3. Give them procedures for the day. We are only going to the bathroom at 10:00, 12:00, and 2:00.

    4. Always call on tables or rows to line up. Say, let me see what table is quiet and ready. Call that table to line up.

    5. Always prepare a fun introduction game to begin with to learn their names. They can sit in a cirlce, pass a ball around and give their name and one word to describe themselves that begin with the same letter of their name. Example: Hi, My name is Amanda and I am amazing. Continue until everyone has a turn and you take a turn too.

    6. Always bring a fun art activity to use as back up. When students are actively engaged in learning there is no time for misbehavior. Such as a color by number sheet or seek and find sheet. Also be prepared to play a learning fun team game at the end of the day to make the time go by fast. Break the class into two teams. Put adding or subtracting problems on the board. Each team has a member to do a problem on the board, if it is correct the teams get a point. The team with the most points win. You can also play wheel of fortune or some other team game.

    Good luck and I hope this helps. :)
  7. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

    Aug 2, 2002
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    Nov 11, 2006

    These are wonderful suggestions, Heart2Heart and DeafinlySmart. Keep in mind that the teacher doesn't control the children, per se. The children control their own behaviors (to one degree or another). The teacher controls the behavior management system and, to a large extent, the culture of the classroom. The behaviors are in response to the system and the culture of the classroom.

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