Discipline Issues - New Teacher Needs Help!

Discussion in 'Middle School / Junior High' started by SingBlueSilver, Sep 10, 2007.

  1. SingBlueSilver

    SingBlueSilver Companion

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    Sep 10, 2007

    Background Information:
    For the most part, my students I feel are okay...its just the fact that they have little classroom respect...many of them are always talking in class. Every second they can get, they'll talk to someone near them who ever it may be, be it a friend or not.
    I personally don't mind the talking during "down time" such as when I give time at the end of the period to do homework. I don't mind them talking so long as they are showing that they are working at the same time. However, when its time for business, I expect that they at least pretend they care and that they pay attention. No teacher likes that their students are talking over them.
    My administration has warned me of this issue. They have attributed their disrespectful behavior to the way that the students are brought up. Many of the students come from homes whose parents do not place much emphasis on education or on simple manners/respect. They even cited an incident where the school held an assembly for the parents to attend. When it was time to begin, an announcement was made over the mic to have the auditorium quiet down so they can begin, yet the parents ignored the announcement and continued on with their conversations...The president of the school board who was in attendance yelled into the mic for the parents to quiet down, and yet nothing.

    Please Help!
    I am very frustrated with the excessive talking in my classes. I've kept students after the bell almost everyday since school started and by now its having no effect. I've tried to explain the concept of respect to them as well as giving examples they would encounter in class (i.e. talking over fellow students and not only myself or teachers/giving your attention when you are being spoken to). This was something that admin and fellow teachers have suggested I do (to tell them how they need to behave). I'm tired of explaining simple manners to them. Holding them after the bell has no effect. What can I do!? :help:
     
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  3. wldywall

    wldywall Connoisseur

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    Sep 11, 2007

    Had the same problem last week. I used this technique yesterday and it works......

    Say in a low, EVEN tone voice, almost montonous, I will give instructions when every one is silent (it works best if you gave them something confusing to do for bell work/warmup/do no) if someone raises their hand and you haven't given instructions yet, or if you have there is still talking, say "i will answer questions only after I have finished giving instructions, and I will give instructions only after everyone is absolutly silent" Keep saying over and over and over. IF you have said it three or four times in a row, say "I am waiting"

    NEVER CHANGE THE INFLECTION OR TONE OF YOUR VOICE!

    If neccessary, and it will probably become neccessary, send to the office the kids who cannot handle your new way of speaking, you will know them by the rude insulting comments they make, again though if you have to send anyone out, tell them in the same EVEN tone, i am sorry you have choosen to leave.

    Then give them a pop quiz on your rules, what you covered the day before, whatever. IF anyone talks, tell them they get a zero....even after their test is done and collected, they will still get a zero, and STICK TO IT.

    Do it today, do not let them walk over you anymore, they see and easy target and if you have shown your frustration in class, they also smell blood and are coming in for the killl......so to speak
     
  4. SingBlueSilver

    SingBlueSilver Companion

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    Sep 11, 2007

    Unfortunately, I'm advised not to send students to the office for discipline issues...I'm told to only send students in 'severe' instances. I do however like the monotonous voice thing, and I think I can try it, though I know it'll take the class quite a bit of time before they actually quiet down to the point where no one says a word. I have shown frustration in the past so theres one of my mistakes (I'm sure I've also done other things). I don't know, I feel so helpless or hopeless. Usually I wake up in the morning if not feeling happy to go to work, I feel at least 'ready' to take on the day...Today however when I woke up, I felt depressed and reluctant to go with the thought in my head "just get through the day" and that depresses me even more bc I don't want to be a teacher who just "gets through the day". =(

    Thanks for the help wldywall! I will try your advice today.

    And PLEASE! ANYONE! ANY advice will be appreciated! I'm getting desperate!
     
  5. apple25

    apple25 Comrade

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    Sep 11, 2007

    This is pretty basic, and may not work for your class, but sometimes I will stand at the front of the class, and start thanking the students who are doing what they are suppose to be doing. The other ones will wonder what is going on and quiet down.

    I have just stood there and waited for them to be quiet, but only on the days that I have a lot of patience - the evil stare starts to loss its effectiveness after a while.

    It sounds like you have a tough class - I hope you'll find a solution!
     
  6. Reb0028

    Reb0028 Rookie

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    Sep 11, 2007

    I am also a first year middle school teacher...but I am inclusion (spec ed) so I don't have real first hand advice to give you except two of the male teachers classes that I push in to are very effective. One of them gives a verbal warning, waits, stares, than gives lunch detention. Be consistent!!
     
  7. SingBlueSilver

    SingBlueSilver Companion

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    Sep 12, 2007

    i tried the monotone voice and telling them that no instructions will be given till they're silent...and the concept worked, but it did take them really long to actually settle down. i think i've got "the look" down. the kids see me and they settle down for at least a little while. a lot of the teachers i talked to at my school tell me to just keep being hard on them yet at the same time show no frustration...

    today actually was the best "behavior" day i had since school started last week. i originally planned to do a powerpoint/note-taking for them, but i couldn't get an lcd projector so i had to rely on plan B which was book-work. i always thought that kids hated book-work and that they'd try to avoid it at all costs. some did, but that was expected, but most of them were doing the work successfully which surprised me.

    thanks for the replies everyone! if there are more suggestions out there, PLEASE share! i always need more back-up plans!
     
  8. wldywall

    wldywall Connoisseur

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    Sep 12, 2007

    I had to use it again today, and I had a sub yesterday who had pretty much given up by 6th hour (my 6th graders and 8th graders are not bad....they talk, but are easy to get to stop) Well I had to do it over and over again, as soon as they talked I stopped and said I can wait, I have to be here all day.....

    I finally heard, amounst all of the shhh's and shut ups, someone who said if you are not quiet she won't stop saying that! Seems it drives them nuts. Did I mention I like that it drives them nuts????? :toofunny:
     
  9. dolphinmn

    dolphinmn New Member

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    Sep 19, 2007

    Role Playing and Active Listening

    Have your tried role playing at all to figure out what the students' concepts of listening are? It might sound a bit juvenile, however a lot of middle school students have never been taught how to listen. As teachers we have expectations, but the students don't understand what it is to really "listen". Have some of the students play the obnoxious role while the others are trying to explain something to them. Have them each switch roles to really see how if feels to be overshadowed by other people talking at the same time.

    Also, in a class that I am taking we are learning about Active Listening and how to use listening as a positive communication tool. If the students are actively engaged in what you are saying then your communication with them should improve. If you show the students what you want or what listening should look like they are more likely to follow your lead. There are several great websites on active listening, most of which can be found by google searching active listening.
     
  10. RainbowsEnd

    RainbowsEnd Rookie

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    Sep 19, 2007

    I can relate to this so much it's scary! I got the point today that I almost cried after one of my classes left . . . because they talk nonstop. And I find that it's the upper-level students who talk the most. Since every seat in my classroom is filled a new seating arrangement doesn't solve anything, because I can't separate them from their friends.

    While I hope that you have gotten a hold on this, I have to say it's a bit of a comfort to know that I'm not alone in this struggle. And, there are some great suggestions here! Thanks to all. :up:
     
  11. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    Sep 19, 2007

    I'm a fan of teaching procedures and expectations . . . and having them practice until they get it right. And when they forget, you reteach.

    I teach voice levels, and procedures for every activity and transition. It seems to take awhile in the beginning, but it's well worth it in the long run because I don't spend my time waiting for them to quiet down.
     
  12. SingBlueSilver

    SingBlueSilver Companion

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    Sep 19, 2007

    i'm trying a new seating chart this week...a colleague of mine helped me...what i had the students do was write down a list of 3 names of students in the class who they would 'like to take to disneyland'...then i tallied up the points on the roster...kind of like taking and recording votes. after that, the students with 4 or more points get on the 'leaders' list...students with about 3 points get on the 'do-er's' list...students with 2 points are on the 'workers' list...and students with 1 or no points get on the 'solo-artist' list...then students are grouped...each group has a leader, a do-er, a worker, and a solo-artist...so far, the system is working out for the most part. so hopefully it will work better soon.
     
  13. LCFMOM

    LCFMOM Rookie

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    Sep 19, 2007

    Do you use the "If you can hear my voice, clap once" technique for getting the room quiet? And then there is the raise your hand technique. (As each student sees that your hand is up, s/he is to stop talking and put her/his hand up.) I use a variation of that one because there are typically the same kids talking and I believe it is because they don't know they are talking. So I pick out the kids who are talking the most: Jimmy, John, Marie (etc.) put your hands in the air like this (and then I raise my left hand) Now, says I, take that hand and put it carefully over your mouth, like this ... and I demonstrate. I tell them: do not move that hand and now do your work...or whatever. Of course, if the kid is left handed, then he has to use the other hand. The hand over the mouth reminds them to not talk.

    When the room gets really loud and I can't get them to quiet down, I stick four fingers in my mouth and whistle REALLY LOUD. That gets their attention (but makes my fingers wet.) You could just use something else that makes noise. I have a teacher friend who has a bullhorn!

    One more thought: Kids these days are used to constant input, so playing music softly in the background helps them get what they unconsciously want without creating the noise themselves.

    I feel your pain. :D
     
  14. inlovewithwords

    inlovewithwords Companion

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    Sep 26, 2007

    Same thing! It is really scary how much this sounds like my situation. I am working with all struggling readers in ONE CLASS. I teach 6 classes and 4 have this problem. I almost quit my first week. And I cried every day for 2 weeks. But it DOES get better.
    As a matter a fact, today I started a competition between the classes. They all start off with 100 points and the class that has the most points after a month or so gets to watch a movie in class. The kids actually get mad at each other for disrupting and keep saying "shut up!." I hope it continues to work but we'll see.
    I also notice that by praising the students for what they do well, really motivates them a little bit. They are going to talk, that's just reality and the seating chart didn't work for me either, but just keep repeating yourself for the first months and dont loosen up. IT WILL GET BETTER!:2up:
     
  15. katrinkit

    katrinkit Comrade

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    Sep 30, 2007

    I teach 6th, 7th and 8th grade in a small private Catholic school, so my situation might be different, but my problems are not. I have 32-35 students per class, so it gets loud when they talk. I also have to do something different in each class (usually a variation of the same thing).

    Respect is a huge issue. Don't think it's pointed at you though. I've only been a teacher for 3 years, but I have to remind myself of what I was like when I was a middle school student. So much is going on physically and socially. There are books being written as we speak that kids today are not being told "No" enough.

    Sorry - got off on a tangent...

    I raise my hand and count to five in my normal tone of voice. If students are talking when I get to 5, I write their names on the board. If I have to raise my hand again and they are continue to talk again - I put a check by their name. In 7th grade, because I have them 3 times a day, they have 3 strikes a day. In 6th and 8th, the students get 2 checks.

    In 8th grade this year, my students began to choose my class time to talk (they begin their day with their most stringent teachers - I am new and find myself being taken advantage of). I found myself yelling over them to quiet them down. I also found I was angry and my heart would be racing by the end of class. My solution was to put all of the students who pay attention and are being hurt most by the talkers in the middle of the room. All of the real talkers are around the edges of the room - this gives them only a few other "talkers" to talk to. I haven't been using this long. But it has worked. I also remind myself to stay calm. To use what I know works, and let it work. (In my school, we give conduct and effort checks, which can hinder a student getting into a good high school)

    I also started making sure I have our plans written down at the beginning of each class. This lets them know what they can expect and makes transitions easier.
     
  16. ebrillblaiddes

    ebrillblaiddes Companion

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    Oct 1, 2007

    I tried this today with my chattiest class. Every time it took several minutes of me saying "I'll tell you what to do when everyone is quiet" over and over, or even "I'll let you get back to working on tonight's homework when everyone is quiet"--and usually as soon as I stopped saying it, someone would say "finally" so I'd go back into repeating, and half the class would let out groans and cries of "oh god" and "shut up, {someone's name}."

    My throat hurts and we didn't actually get much done today--but I haven't gotten much done with that class for a few weeks now (they're really getting out of hand). I'm going to keep at it, since it obviously drives them crazy so maybe they'll get it. This isn't why I went into teaching, though.
     
  17. Cthdenver

    Cthdenver Rookie

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    Oct 1, 2007

    Listen I have 31 kids. Getting them to be quiet in my mind is a war on terrorism. I use that word because that is exactly what terrorism is - distrusting a civilized structure. When a classroom is civilized with a teacher teaching and a student disrupts its called terrorism. And as the President of this country made very clear "We will not tolerate it". In my classroom I have a policy - either you are the example or your going to be one. I may have 20 kids talking - so in a loud firm voice I come up with a very harsh punishment and pick a kid randomly to be my example. Kids get very nervous when they see a harsh punishment being issued for something they themselves are doing. And if the kid I pick on complains everyone else was talking - I quote IF YOU CAN NOT BE AN EXAMPLE I MAKE YOU ONE - and your my example for today. Obviously try to pick on different students if this happens often. As far as the punishment itself goes make it harsh. Also Sometimes you will have to make two or three examples at a time before the other kids will fell like "they are the next in line".
    But I have tested this method and it can work!
     
  18. LCFMOM

    LCFMOM Rookie

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    Oct 2, 2007

    I've been subbing for the past two days (subbing, not sobbing) and, of course, kids pick on a sub more than their regular teacher. I had 8th graders for American History (my love!). The first day I spent time shhhhhhhh-ing and time yelling "hush!" and some time waiting quietly for them to settle down. I spent some time at the end of each class saying very quietly "We're going to learn about this next Article (we're studying the 7 Articles of the Constitution) "and I don't care if we do it before or after the bell". Each of those efforts had varying degrees of effectiveness for each class. (No pattern)

    Today, however, I asked at the office what the Sub Rule Sheet meant by "referring a student". The front office woman (a very nice lady) said, "Oh we don't do that anymore. If you're having a problem, pick up the phone, dial zero, and someone will come up to your room and escort the problem to the VP's office." Ah HA!!! Problem solved.

    As each class started, I went to the three or four (or 5, 6, or 7) troublemakers, instigators, and talkers and said: "These are the instructions I got from the office this morning: As soon as the first student annoys me I should just pick up the phone and dial zero. That person will be made an example of. I really hope it's not you."

    Completely different classes after that. Completely.

    So, I suppose I'm just saying what Cthdenver advised but in a slightly different way.
     
  19. IowaLA

    IowaLA Rookie

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    Nov 12, 2007

    What kind of punishment do you use? I have a class where I have repeat offenders, and would like to try this.
     
  20. Terrence

    Terrence Comrade

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    Nov 12, 2007

    Have the warm-up on the board when they come in. As soon as somebody comes in talking, have that person walk right back out and tell them to come in the right way. If when the whole class starts talking, have them come back out of the room and line up until it's quiet. Make sure they know that whatever they miss in class today will become homework tonight. If a student is talking when you're talking, give them a warning, then simply move their desk to the wall. If they want to disrupt the class, they can fail quietly in the corner. Have them call their parents at the end of the period.
     

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