First Day Done!

Discussion in 'New Teachers' started by Genmai, Sep 3, 2009.

  1. Genmai

    Genmai Companion

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    Sep 3, 2009

    First Day - Classroom Discipline

    I survived my first day! It wasn't a complete disaster but I dread the thought that I may have "lost" the class. With the kids telling me how other teachers are on the first day, I think that I have been way too soft. There is a lot of chatter in the class, and it takes me a lot of loud talking to get their attention. The veteran teachers at my school tell me the typical "Don't smile until May" advice. I read the stuff in various books like Wong, Thompson, Funk & Fay and find advice to connect with the students. My back spasms have returned and I'm positive that they are stress related! Plus, I think some of the kids took the student surveys which disappeared. Admittedly, I could have been much better organized - this is a really new development for me, and I really didn't have much time to prepare adequately. As long as I get through tomorrow, I will have the long weekend to prepare more thoroughly.

    Need your help!

    :help:
     
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  3. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Sep 3, 2009

    What's the first topic on your syllabus?

    Go in tomorrow, and teach, bell to bell. I mean it-- not a minute to spare. Let them know they can expect a quiz on Wednesday.

    I'm not a "don't smile till Christmas" kind of teacher, but I hit the ground running in September. Getting to know you stuff simply is not my style. They get to know me on that first day, then I can get to know them as time goes on.
     
  4. rachaelski

    rachaelski Habitué

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    Sep 3, 2009

    This is one of the few times I disagree with Alice! You need to lay out and have them PRACTICE your rules and expectations. If you want them to have their pencils down when you talk. Practice it. If you want them to come in and begin working on bell work right away. Practice it. If you want them...you get the picture.

    Also, allow the students to have a say in your rules. If your rule is "respect the teacher" have the students brainstorm in small groups or think/pair/share examples of what that means. If they OWN something like the rules, it is going to be much easier to get them to work in the classroom. I spent part of each of the first four days on my rules (respect the teacher, respect your teammate, respect your space, respect yourself).

    I am assuming you are working in the public schools here. All kids, but especially struggling kids, need to be invested in your classroom. They need to feel that they are a part of the living organism that is your class. Spend a week or two on rules and investment, it will save you much more time in the long run. Plus, you can couple the rules and motivation with diagnostic activities.
     
  5. lsho

    lsho Rookie

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    Sep 5, 2009

    Its totally ok! I felt the same way. My first day, though I did the best I could to prepare, was a totally new beast for me. So I had NO idea what was going on. I thought I had lost them and they'd walk all over me for the rest of the year. One class (I teach middle school and have 6 classes) TRIED. Keyword, tried. About 5 days into school they were AWFUL. I told them it was unacceptable and they silently worked on book work the entire rest of the hour. I felt like a mean teacher but it got their attention really quick. So far, no more problems.

    I agree with Rachaelski. Practice what you preach. I spent 4 days just about going over my rules, expectations, and procedures. I repeated myself a lot but for the most part, it seems to have worked. Kids are signing out materials and asking to do things and checking with a friend before myself for absent work. Hit it early and often and it will stick in their brain.

    AND CONGRATS!!!! We are all in this together so it is good to hear another person survived their first day. :)
     
  6. TeacherC

    TeacherC Connoisseur

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    Sep 5, 2009

    How did the second day go?? I think one of the most important things is that you are organized and prepared, so hopefully you will be ready to go back in Tuesday and take over. I also don't prescribe to the "don't smile 'till May" theory, but I think you need to start out very firm and fair. Practice your routines, and make sure that you over-plan; leaving them with "empty" time is like asking them to misbehave.
     
  7. krysmorgsu

    krysmorgsu Cohort

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    Sep 5, 2009

    More important than practicing the rules (in my opinion) is enforcing them! Make sure the students know that if X time is silent time and they talk, there is a consequence. Stick to your guns! Later, you can be more flexible - right now you have to establish, as Cartman would say, your Authori-tay! If you give little Suzie a break now, than you can bet she'll walk all over you the rest of the year. Follow through with punishment now to ensure that the rest of the year goes smoothly. Also, if things didn't improve the second day, go in on Tuesday and say: "last week I was a little lenient because it was the first few days. Now it's time to get down to business. Make Tuesday an all business day,and be strict. you may feel mean, but it'll help you nip things in the bud. If they see nice Ms.X can mean too, they'll shape up quick.
     
  8. Genmai

    Genmai Companion

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    Sep 6, 2009

    Second day was better but I didn't mete out any punishments and the kids were still noisy. Because I *cough* didn't have any books, I conducted diagnostic tests (which incidentally weren't accurate since we didn't have calculators...) so the quality of the instruction probably was an aggravating factor in their misconduct. For the most part, I was very level and calm and gave the kids the silent treatment to quiet the class before I continued. This worked in stops and starts and our review took forever to complete. I wonder if I should've done something more punitive when one girl threw something and 2 boys cursed.... Now I feel like I gave out an open invitation.

    I have interesting "punishments" in mind but would like to hear what you good folks suggest for handling the typical 7th grade defiance.
     
  9. rachaelski

    rachaelski Habitué

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    Sep 6, 2009

    Use Love and Logic. When the kid does something they should not, if you have time, go and talk to them privately. Ask them what they think you are going to say, ask them what they think the consequence is going to be. The kids are typically much harder on themselves than you will be. Plus, the words are coming out of their mouth, so they are less likely to blame you! If you haven't the time to talk to them privately, simply say, "We'll discuss that later," and make sure to follow through at the end of class!
     
  10. Genmai

    Genmai Companion

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    Sep 12, 2009

    The week was worse in terms of classroom management, and there is a lot of fixing that I need to do next week. My principal assigned me my mentor who, thankfully, is also the math coach at my school. She observed my ineptitude one afternoon and has given me good suggestions for next week.

    Foremost, I need to review my classroom rules and enforce them consistently. Then, I need to iron out the procedures and use them consistently. Lastly, I will also need to revitalize the rewards system for good conduct and grades. In an ideal world, I would have had everything perfectly organized on the first day. But with all the confusion, I kept putting off the essentials and now have to battle my way up the hill.

    I hope that I'm not too late to restore order.
     
  11. Genmai

    Genmai Companion

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    Sep 12, 2009

    On Classroom Discipline:

    I've had to take my unruly kids to other classes. At their first meeting, the other experienced teachers barked orders at my kids and got my kids into line. In fact, it seems like EVERY experienced teacher was able to get my kids into line through intimidating sternness. That other teachers can get my kids to be quiet is demoralizing and, worse, undermines my authority. I'm at a loss about what to do.
     
  12. SingBlueSilver

    SingBlueSilver Companion

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    Sep 13, 2009

    BE CONFIDENT! The other teachers can do what they do with your kids because they've had more experience and they're confident!
    I'm pretty new at teaching myself and since my very first time in my own class I've always been SO SCARED. But I (try to) never show it...I pretend and act like and walk around like I own the place, like I've been teaching a million years. I try to act like an experienced teacher. I ALWAYS dread the first day because its SO boring for the students AND myself. I like to get all the rules/expectations out of the way and then hit the ground running much like Aliceacc...They get to know me (a bit) that first day and then I get to know them through out the year.
    Monday morning, get in there and BE CONFIDENT. Its a new day, and a new you.
     
  13. Catcherman22

    Catcherman22 Companion

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    Sep 13, 2009

    I would like to point out.. I am a second year teacher and had horrible results my first year with trying to do the whole have the class help in the rules and lay out and practice my procedures etc etc etc.. after listening to other teachers at my school, I came in the first day this year and hit the ground running as Alice has said and the turnaround has been remarkable. The kids expect to learn from when they get into class till when they leave simply because I did it the first day. Now I've tought my procedures with my curric. and its helped.

    I think it really depends on the teacher.. like Alice.. I'm not the get to know you type
     

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