Do I Just Need to Loosen Up?! (Long)

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by Starista, Aug 25, 2010.

  1. Starista

    Starista Cohort

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    Aug 25, 2010

    Good Morning Friends,

    :hugs: Last Wednesday, one week ago, was my first day of school at a new school teaching a new grade. Just some quick background, I had been at a different school for about 6 years and decided it was time for a change. I had previously taught grades K, 1, and 2 and was excited to begin a new adventure in 3rd grade!

    On Wednesday (the first day last week) I had a pregnancy scare. All is fine with our baby and with me, however, I needed to be on bedrest for 48 hours... which means I missed the 2nd and 3rd days of school.

    Naturally this isn't an ideal situation because my class did not get the review of my rules and my expectations repeated to them on days 2 and 3.

    On Monday I was cleared to go to work.

    I have about 14 students, as opposed to the 30 I was used to at my old school. However... this school has a much more relaxed approach to education. It would appear that the children are encouraged to and allowed to speak outloud and freely. Every teacher has a habit from the kids that bothers them -- and for me it's calling out/shouting out. I have asked them to raise their hands countless times since being back on Monday but they are having a difficult time with the concept. And bless their little hearts if it's a new rule to them...

    Perhaps it's me? Perhaps I should just relax and let them call out if it's what was allowed? But again, it really isn't how I like to run a classroom.

    I need to realize that third graders are a year older than the second graders I'd taught for 3 years. Some of them display huge attitude with me (and the specials teachers) and looked surprised when I discipline them about talking back to a grown up, etc.

    I have usually had 0 issue with classroom management and am feeling very, very discouraged and down. :confused: I want to do a wonderful job at this new school but I am spending more time reminding them to raise their hand when they want to get out of their seats and not to shout out answers than I am teaching the material.

    Anyways... since I missed much of last week, today is really like just my 3rd day of school with the kids. Maybe I just need to give it more time. My husband reminded me last night that every year, even when I was a seasoned teacher at my previous school, I was exhausted the first few weeks -- and I shoule expect more tiredness due to baby.

    Thank you so, so much for reading. As I fell asleep last night I asked God to give me extra patience with these children, reminding myself that they are His children... and thinking to myself how I'l want my child's teacher to display so much patience with him or her.

    Alright time to shower, put on a smile and face the day. Wish me luck. :)
     
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  3. UVAgrl928

    UVAgrl928 Habitué

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    Aug 25, 2010

    I say give them (and you) a little more time to adjust. I'm sure everything will come together soon, and you guys will have a great year!
     
  4. greengables

    greengables Rookie

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    Aug 25, 2010

    Wishing you luck! :hugs: The first few weeks are exhausting and you have a lot of changes to deal with. Give yourself and them some time.
     
  5. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

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    Aug 25, 2010

    The students aren't going to get the rules down until towards the end of the year, but as long as you keep using repetition the students will see that you mean business.

    If you are unsure about how the school runs things (if they really do have the laid back type of atmosphere), then talk to some 1st or 2nd grade teachers to see how things are. You might even want to ask if you could observe some teachers as they're teaching to better understand what methods they use to keep the ruckus down.

    This will be my third year teaching and I hated the calling out and loudness, but I have a science class and the kids are going to get excited (and I should be happy about that). So I've tried really hard to just be patient with it and sometimes we'll have a "you need to raise your hand" conversation or sometimes we'll have a "let's respectfully share our ideas" conversation where they can call out. The latter happens towards the end of the year once they realize how to respectfully speak to one another :)
     
  6. Starista

    Starista Cohort

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    Aug 25, 2010

    Thank you all SO much for the tips! :)

    Today, thank God, was a MUCH better day for the kids and for me! They showed better listening skills, better self control and the hand raising improved.

    Slow and steady... ;)

    PS. Just came from the OB and we heard that little heartbeat again!!! :) :) :)
     
  7. Deeena

    Deeena Cohort

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    Aug 25, 2010

    Starista -

    It sounds like the kids are starting to see that you mean business. Maybe they were testing you since you're new to the school. In my class, I find that recognizing the positives and constantly pointing out students that are doing the right thing to work really well. It even helps to have students model what you expect. For example, you could have a group of students demonstrate to the class how to raise their hands to share an answer. I find that this helps. Also, try to ignore students that shout out. I'm sure that you have students that are raising their hands regularly, so try to constantly praise them for their help! Good luck!
     
  8. msmullenjr

    msmullenjr Devotee

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    Aug 25, 2010

    So glad to hear that the baby is doing well.

    I know exactly how you feel. One of the 5th grade teachers allows her class to shout out and get up as they wish. I do not. Every year its a big transition, but I think you should absolutely train them to respond the way you want them to.
     
  9. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    Aug 25, 2010

    Well, at least things are improving. Just continue to be consistent, and they'll get it soon enough.
     
  10. Starista

    Starista Cohort

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    Aug 26, 2010

    :hugs:Thank you again!! We'll see how it today goes -- I have high hopes! :)
     
  11. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    Aug 26, 2010

    "Just because Timmy's mom lets him do X doesn't mean I will let you do X. If Timmy jumped off a building, would you do it too?"

    It's the old cliche', of course, but it does apply to school classrooms too. Just because the other teachers let them shout out doesn't mean YOU have to do it.

    During my ST, I had two rules I constantly tried enforcing in my classroom that the other middle school teachers did NOT enforce. Every day, I heard "But Mrs. J lets us do this in her class". My response was "This isn't Mrs. J's class. This is my class. If Mrs. J lets you do that in her class, that's fine, you can do it there, but you still aren't allowed to do it here."

    When I interviewed for my first job this summer, one of the key things the P told me was "I want someone who can work with the middle school team, but will still be their OWN teacher. I don't want someone that will just let the other teachers tell them what to do or how to teach their class."

    I agree with the others that, as long as you keep reminding them about the rules and remain firm but fair, they will realize you are serious and adjust their behavior to your expectations.
     
  12. SwOcean Gal

    SwOcean Gal Devotee

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    Aug 26, 2010

    I get the timely tips of the day e-mailed to me from the mailbox and when I saw this one today, it made me think of you...
    so I'm just going to pass on what I read....it kind of relates....

    What to Do When You Have a Blurter

    Some students just can't seem to wait for their turn to be called on, so they blurt out answers to your questions. Try these tips for converting a blurter to a hand-raiser.

    * Consistency is the key to discouraging a blurter. At the beginning of the year, explain that children are to raise their hands. From that moment on, don't look at, respond to, or acknowledge in any way the child who talks out of turn.
    * Ask the child to write her answer on paper as soon as it comes to mind. This may curb the need to shout out answers.
    * Some students respond well to verbal positive reinforcement. Say, "I'm going to call on someone who is sitting nicely and raising her hand."
    * Sometimes what children who blurt out answers really want is a chance to move around and be active. So instead of having students raise their hands, have them clap, stand up, raise a flag, or do some other interesting movement when they know an answer.
    * Take the child aside and assure him that you're delighted he knows the answers to questions-but that others need to have a chance to show they know the answers too. Promise to let the child have a turn to answer if he waits patiently for you to call on him.
    * Children love rubber stamps. So when you call on a child who has her hand raised, stamp the child's hand. This provides a great incentive!
     
  13. Starista

    Starista Cohort

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    Aug 28, 2010

    Thanks to everyone for the support and tips!

    Yesterday (Friday) was our best day yet!!

    The children were great listeners and we did all our Friday assessments (spelling & religion) and they really did show improvement with calling out and raising hands! :)

    It was also one of the kid's birthdays so the mom dropped off cupcakes in the morning and we had them right before dismissal. Nothing like sugaring them up and sending them home for the weekend! :lol:

    I was going to show a 15 minute video clip that was the story we read in our reading anthologies this week, but I couldn't get teh projector to connect to my laptop... and how cool is THIS: not one of my students complained about not being able to watch the movie... They really seem like they're going to be a flexible bunch. :)

    :hugs:
     
  14. Toast

    Toast Companion

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    Aug 28, 2010

    I strongly dislike blurting as well. Having kids raise their hand also teaches the skill of taking turns. If that's what you prefer than except nothing less than perfect handraising. :) When the teacher is happy, the year will run more smoothly.
     
  15. bonneb

    bonneb Fanatic

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    Aug 28, 2010

    You could try the Love and Logic approach - take time to explain to them why they can't just holler out - you can't hear them. A group has to have order so everyone can learn, etc. Finish the talk with "I call on people who raise their hands," or "I listen to people who raise their hands." Then move on down the road. Then the child will raise his hand and you can call on him. I say it a million times a year, "Who do I talk to?" "People who raise their hands."

    Something fun to do would be to print out a hand, or have them trace their hand on colored paper, and glue to a stick for them to keep at their desks. That could be their signal that they want to talk!

    I'm glad things are improving! And so wonderful to hear about your baby's heartbeat. The first time I heard that sound, I started crying and almost fell off the table! I was totally not expecting that! Beautiful.
     

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