Feeling discouraged

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by AZMrs.S, Oct 4, 2012.

  1. AZMrs.S

    AZMrs.S Cohort

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    Oct 4, 2012

    I just need to vent... I'm feeling really discouraged with my class lately. I have a very rough group this year. They are a class that has a lot of behavior issues and over half my class is severely below grade level. So they of course have many challenges. I just feel like nothing that I try works. I've tried so many behavior plans, incentives, etc. it doesn't seem to matter what I try their behavior keeps getting worse. They might respond well to one method for a day or so, but then they are right back to it again. I just feel like its October and it shouldn't be this hard anymore! It seems like they have gotten worse. In really at a loss of what to do anymore... :help:
     
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  3. CindyBlue

    CindyBlue Cohort

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    Oct 4, 2012

    I'm so sorry...I wish I could offer some concrete help. I've had classes like that - I was ready to tear my hair out!
    Do you know the story of the starfish and the little boy walking along the beach? He saw a bunch of starfish washed ashore, and he started throwing them back, one by one, into the safety of the water. Someone saw him doing this, and said, "What difference does it make? There are thousands of starfish here on the beach...you won't make any difference." The boy picked up a starfish, threw it into the water, and said "It will make a difference to that one."
    There might be only one student you will be able to help, but to that one student, you will make a difference. Keep trying...
    And meanwhile, schedule time for you to get away from the stress - maybe a special weekend, or a day off to relax and think and get the pressure off...
     
  4. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

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    Oct 4, 2012

    I had a class like that last year, and it really really sucked. :( It was my worst year ever, and I often considered quitting teaching. I had tons of behavior problems, and the kids were SO low.

    I was pulling my hair out until about February. The major change? Three of my kids qualified for special ed, so I finally had help. Here are some things I did to get my sanity back:
    -Model, model, model, model until they are completely annoyed. I would model how to do EVERYTHING, because they repeatedly showed me that they couldn't handle anything. "Let's talk about how to use a pencil the right way" was a common discussion, for example.
    -Document everything, both behavior and academic.
    -Call parents frequently to discuss academic and behavior concerns.

    This is probably stuff you already know and do, but this is how I got my class under control. Also, I would check out Michael Linsin's website: http://www.smartclassroommanagement.com/
     
  5. AZMrs.S

    AZMrs.S Cohort

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    Oct 4, 2012

    Thanks for the tips so far. I'm just so tired of it. I'm feeling like its my fault, but I know that it's just this group. I just hate having to discipline, take things away and yell all day. And I really hate yelling, but these kids bring it out :(
     
  6. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Oct 5, 2012

    Talk to your principal and see if you can get an extra set of hands, even if he stops by for 30 minutes a few times a week. Anything extra would be great!
     
  7. AZMrs.S

    AZMrs.S Cohort

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    Oct 5, 2012

    My P is very aware of the situation. I'm actually supposed to have a full time aide, but that's been a whole other issue because we have not been able to hire anyone. I have an aide who comes in to help for an hour in the mornings. But their behaviors are just really wearing me down. We have a long weekend so ill have some time to regroup. :)
     
  8. FourSquare

    FourSquare Fanatic

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    Oct 5, 2012

    Do you have a smartboard or a projector? Try Class Dojo. My kids were insane last year and they loved it!
     
  9. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Aficionado

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    Oct 5, 2012

    I am in a similar situation this year. I feel like things should be improving, but every day is difficult. We have a school wide behavior game we play that works pretty well. I have to make sure I am being really consistent with it.

    FourSquare - can you explain "Class Dojo"? I'd like to know a little more before I register.
     
  10. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    Oct 5, 2012

    I am so sorry you are going through that. It sounds like you have a tough group this year. I have had that before, and I know the discipline can be difficult. I do know that the year that I had "that class" where I started singing to myself "Alleluia" when the year was over, I realized something. To this day, I have used more teaching ideas from that school year than any other. I had to use my imagination and learn so much from other teachers, that I ended up with a lot of teaching ideas that I still use many years later. Okay so that can help you next year, but what about this year? Here are some ideas:

    1. If I can say 1 thing to change is nomatter, nomatter, nomatter what--don't yell at them. The good students hate it, and the students who misbehave think it is great that they got you mad. When you feel like yelling, it is time to instead take a deep breath and probably give them the consequence they deserve. We as teachers are very nice and we like to warn, plead, beg, and finally yell so we don't give out the consequence they deserve. Best to just stay calm and give out the consequence. This will make you feel SO much better, and your students will also like it--even if they for awhile will have more consequences.

    2. mopar is right--get a principal or teacher to observe you. Just say "Hey I really value your opinion. My students have been rather challenging lately and I'd like to improve this situation. Would you do me a HUGE favor and watch me teach for 10 minutes today or tomorrow?

    3. You teach 2nd grade. The best teacher I have ever worked with taught 2nd grade. She taught me lots! I also spent more volunteer time in 2nd grade than any other grade. This is what I have noticed.

    **2nd graders are naturally curious. Because of this, this technique ALWAYS works with them to get their attention before a lesson. Place your lesson inside an envelope. The opening of the envelope will make everyone pay attention. Then read what is on the paper such as "This is a letter from another teacher warning me not to teach my students nouns. They are too young and need to wait until 3rd grade. Well, I say that you guys are so smart that if you are really, really good listeners I think you can all learn 3rd grade nouns now. Now, we have to be really, really, quiet so no one else finds out."

    4. Instead of teaching, get a free talking cat to do your lessons, and they will listen to every word in SILENCE. Get the app on android, IPAD, or iphone to get Talking Tom. You can get him to say whatever you want in a funny voice and record it. Record your few minute intro to a lesson and wow!--perfect behavior every time. Oh...and watch their test scores skyrocket. By the way, the app is free. Just Google Talking Tom.

    Good luck and have some fun with these too. You work hard as a teacher and you deserve to have some fun with the students.
     
  11. AZMrs.S

    AZMrs.S Cohort

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    Oct 5, 2012

    Thank you for all of the suggestions readingrules. I will definitely be trying some of these :)

    And foursquare, I've been thinking about trying Class Dojo. I don't have a projector, but I do have a tv that connects to my computer.
     
  12. FourSquare

    FourSquare Fanatic

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    Oct 5, 2012

  13. ShoelessGal

    ShoelessGal Rookie

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    Oct 6, 2012

    I know this might be something very obvious, but how are your desks set up? Last year, the kids in my classroom were set up in groups of 5 or 6. I know it's great for collaborating with other students and it's the popular choice for teachers nowadays, but sometimes it's not the best option. The class I had was so noisy, that it was getting to be ridiculous trying to get their attention. Because of this, I had to change the desk set up for awhile.

    I set the desk up in pairs with all of the desks facing the front of the room (a couple desks were put together in 3s). It was SO MUCH EASIER to get their attention and the noise level went down tremendously. Setting them up for group work was a little bit harder than the pods, but it was so worth it! I told them that if they could handle this setup, I would put them back in groups. They needed to earn it.
     
  14. AZMrs.S

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    Yeah we're in groups. I've been trying to figure out how to change that, but my classroom is so small! Maybe ill play with the pair idea though.
     
  15. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    :thumb::thumb:

    Shoeless Gal, I so much agree with you on this. Putting the desks in pairs facing the front seems to be the best when one is dealt with a talkative group of students. I have found that this is my favorite way to arrange the desks when a talkative group is the class I'm dealt with, and it makes it SO much easier to get their attention as you mentioned.
     
  16. Lotte

    Lotte Companion

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    Oct 9, 2012

    It could have been me who wrote this thread. Actually I was just about to when I came across yours ;)

    I too have an extremely challenging class. I cry in the evenings. Need to pull myself together. I seriously consider quitting, after almost 12 years of teaching.

    My aide is pregnant and partially on sick leave so random assistants show up instead of her untill January.
    I've got all 22 kids (1st grade) sitting one by one, facing front.
    I have no good advice but just feel like giving you a hug. :hugs:

    I will take all the good ideas here into consideration, just as I know you will. However, no matter how wild the kids are, what gets me most is my colleagues saying it's my fault, that according to assertive dicipline it's me who haven't built good enough relations to them. It's breaking me down. But maybe I can focus on "the one that I might make a difference to", like someone else replied here.

    Thank you for starting the thread and thanks to all whom have answered. :thanks:
     
  17. AZMrs.S

    AZMrs.S Cohort

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    Oct 9, 2012

    Thanks Lotte, I hope your class gets better too! I am hoping to try some of these strategies tomorrow and start turning some of it away.
     
  18. Lotte

    Lotte Companion

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    Oct 10, 2012

    Just rememered; A neighbour, also a teacher at another school, uses a candle in her classroom. She lits the candle when her class works completely silently and do as they are supposed to. If they don't behave, she blows out the light. When the candle has burnt down, she'll give them a treat; extra playtime, popcorn party, a movie or something else.
    I think I like the idea as I myself think of a candle as a symbol for relaxing, enjoyment, calmness. Maybe I'll try that ;-)
    All the best to you!
     

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