first year teacher, kids already out of control!!

Discussion in 'Secondary Education Archives' started by newteacher11, Jan 12, 2007.

  1. newteacher11

    newteacher11 Rookie

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2007
    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jan 12, 2007

    This is my first year teaching, actually I just finished my 7th day. The kids are getting worse and worse, they talk over me, get up without asking, throw things in class, take out make-up and pictures. I have consistently told them that these things are unacceptable but they continue to do it. I can tell they don't respect me, but i can't really write someone up for continuously talking to other classmates or getting out of their seat right? I have told them that I don't want to have to call your parents or I don't want to have to write a referral. I just want a pleasant classroom, I don't want to be a dictator!! Why don't they listen to me?? What can I do?? Do I have a chance now to gain respect since I'm already having problems the 7th day, I wonder if teaching is not for me and I'm thinking about looking for other jobs. I'm stressed after work and on weekends about my classes. Please help!! :(
     
  2.  
  3. Docere

    Docere Rookie

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2006
    Messages:
    60
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jan 13, 2007

    They must feel like they don't have to listen to you. The first thing that comes to my mind to help your situation is for you to make sure you don't make empty threats. Follow through whatever you say. If you say you'll take someone's cell phone away if you see it out and then you see someone text-messaging, take it away. Don't let it slide. If you don't do this, your words will be of very little worth.

    Another thing you can do is try to make the lessons engaging and interesting. This can be hard to do, but try your best to pull the students into the lesson. You can call on students and ask a lot of questions.

    Try to connect with your students. It'll take time, but it's worth it.

    Another thing you should do is make sure you at least appear to have confidence in yourself. A teacher who seems unsure of his/her capabilities is an invitation for students to walk over.

    As for all the other problems like throwing things and getting up without permission, that can only be resolved after you get them to listen to you. Focus on that for the time being.

    Good luck, don't be too hard on yourself. The first year of teaching is the hardest. It's a skill, if you work on it, you'll get better. :)
     
  4. TeacherShelly

    TeacherShelly Aficionado

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2006
    Messages:
    3,565
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jan 13, 2007

    Have you read "The First Days of School" by Harry Wong? Check it out - it advises spending the first day establishing how things are done. The big mistake (says he) is trying to teach a lesson on the first day.

    I'm not a teacher yet, but I thought I'd offer this for you to look into. Good luck!!
     
  5. usfmeghi

    usfmeghi Companion

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2004
    Messages:
    210
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jan 13, 2007

    I had that problem- Call home; Give detentions; etc.

    You have to be consistent and follow through with all consequences. Make eveything relevant to their lives.

    Rick Smick also has a book, which is a great read.

    Teaching isn't for everyone. I decided I didnt enjoy high school, so i'm moving to elementary. Just make sure you are happy doing what you are doing. However, don't let a tough class get in the way.
     
  6. newteacher11

    newteacher11 Rookie

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2007
    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jan 13, 2007

    Thanks for the advice..I do have to be more consistent with my threats, I just don't want to be yelling and punishing all the time but is that what I have to do to finally gain respect and a pleasant atmosphere?
     
  7. mhcooley

    mhcooley Companion

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2006
    Messages:
    159
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jan 13, 2007

    Behavior Management is tough. The next time you have class, I would start by going over your rules and explaining what will happen if they don't follow them. If you have a no talking rule and they talk then they are not following your rules. What are your consequences? Talking while you are teaching is keeping them and the others from learning. Anytime you have to stop and remind them about talking, cell phones, whatever it may be, that is taking away from instructional time. I would write them up for disturbing instructional time. Let them earn talk time at the end of class. Explain to them that they can have 5 minutes but each time you have to get on to someone for not following the rules, they lose minutes. If it becomes the same students then they lose talk time. Be consistent. If you keep giving chances then they will keep on misbehaving because they know you don't really mean what you say. If you need to call home then do it. I promise, once you get their behavior under control, you will enjoy teaching. Good Luck ;)
     
  8. TeacherShelly

    TeacherShelly Aficionado

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2006
    Messages:
    3,565
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jan 13, 2007

    No! It isn't what you have to do and it won't work. Yelling and punishing isn't respectful or pleasant, so it isn't going to produce a respectful and pleasant response from the kids, know what I mean?

    You've just come out of teacher prep, right? What were you taught to do regarding classroom management? I'm in a program now, and we're spending a whole unit on building our personal classroom management system. Here are five principles being addressed:

    1. Present and conduct yourself in a professional manner.
    2. Clarify how you want your students to behave, now and in the future.
    3. Establish and maintain classroom conditions that help students become the kinds of people you hope they will be.
    4. Do all you can to help students conduct themselves responsibly.
    5. Intervene helpfully when misbehavior occurs.

    Are you in a crisis mode now, just trying to stop a trainwreck in progress? If so, you need help - a mentor, administrator, someone. I'm afraid if you continue down the path you're on of yelling and threatening, your days are numbered as a teacher. It just isn't in the best interest of you or your students.

    Good luck !!
     
  9. abby1966

    abby1966 Rookie

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2006
    Messages:
    79
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jan 13, 2007

    This is also my first year. I teach 5th grade. I have several students that are just out of control. One is ADHD, BED, Oppositional Defiant and on no meds. Then I have 3 others that are ADHD and on no meds. I've tried just about everything. I'm so frustrated. I'm sitting here right now on a Saturday stressed to the max about what to do next?
     
  10. Docere

    Docere Rookie

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2006
    Messages:
    60
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jan 14, 2007

    I agree with changeofcareer that it won't work. While a little punishment is necessary, it shouldn't be the driving force that keeps things together in your classroom. If it was, that would be a really stressful for you anyway. And you really shouldn't ever raise your voice, and if you ever do, do it very sparingly. Yelling is a sign that you've lost control and you're now fighting to be heard. If you have trouble getting your class quiet in the beginning of class before the class starts, stand in the center of the front of the classroom with a bored expression on your face and say absolutely nothing. They'll get quiet. And if you do it enough, they'll eventually get quiet right after you stand up and face the classroom.
     
  11. Poisontipped

    Poisontipped Rookie

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2006
    Messages:
    68
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jan 14, 2007

    Something that one of my teachers used to do (when he entered class and we were noisy) he used to go to the white board and draw up this... (without saying anything)

    Two boxes with EARLY AND LATE in them. And one mark represented one minute

    and by the time he had started drawing this simple diagram, everyone in the class had quietened down. The interesting thing is that he sometimes didn't even use this as a reward/punishment. It was to quieten us down.
     
  12. ozteach

    ozteach Comrade

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2006
    Messages:
    360
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jan 14, 2007

    I think the best advice I was ever given was to act like a teacher, even if I didn't feel like one!

    Honestly, find out what the school welfare/behaviour policy is and follow it to the letter. Be careful about confiscating any items - make sure that is part of the school policy.

    Go in next time and tell them that things are changing, you realise they can't handle too much freedom. Spell out your classroom rules (quiet listening, respect, staying in seats etc) and list consequences and rewards. Post this somewhere obvious in the room. Make sure you are fully prepared to follow through with consequences, you will probably spend a lot of free time following up behaviour issues for a while. Pick up every behaviour, immediately, without yelling. Just say "Billy, that behaviour is not okay in here, you know the rules." Then issue the consequence. It will take a while, but you should have things humming along.

    Most importantly, remember, you are not there to be their friend. Your job is to teach the curriculum, as engagingly as possible and maybe, eventually, reach them as an adult guide, not an equal. They will respect you more if you are firm and consistent.
     
  13. newteacher11

    newteacher11 Rookie

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2007
    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jan 14, 2007

    Thanks, I will try that, I'm going to write up a list of rules and consequences this weekend, I hope I can get control. What I want to do is teach not be fighting to stay above water.
     
  14. wig

    wig Devotee

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2005
    Messages:
    1,036
    Likes Received:
    1

    Jan 14, 2007

    From a 35 year veteran - 20 in middle school

    This weekend:

    Write out procedures for EVERYthing. If you can get Harry Wongs' "First Days of School" do so. If you can't, go to his site and read his columns: http://teachers.net/wong/ I suggest reading all of them, but start with Jan, Feb, Sept. and Oct. 2005, Dec. 2004, March 2003, Jul and August 2002, all of 2000. These articles will help you with procedures.

    On Day 1 announce that this is the first day of school and spend the period teaching procedures. The articles above will teach you how to do that. Have a copy of this for your students.

    On Day 2 quickly review the procedures. If they forget while you are teaching, stop and review again. Yopu may have to do this every day for a week.

    State your rules and consequences (I personally am not big on rewarding expected behaviors, but it works for some). I use Love and Logic so my consequences vary. However, I will not allow competition between my teaching and their behaviors.

    When they come in they do the bell work on the board or on their desk. On the board I have listed the objectives to be covered and it ALWAYS ends with the word "assignment". I always plan for enough time to get all if not most of the assignment done in class. However, if they talk, get out of their seats, etc. I immediately stop teaching until they are quiet and then resume. They know that what I do not finish in class becomes homework. If they do not do the homework they get the grade they earned. If we have had a VERY good day, I may eliminate the assignment (not always) and give them five minutes of visiting time. I do not tell them it is a possibility and I do not do it often. (I even suggest having an assignment based on your procedures, rules, and consequences. It will serve as a reinforcement.).

    No small group work until they can handle large group.

    Above all, BE CONSISTENT and never treaten. If you say you are going to do it - do it. And NEVER raise your voice unless there is a fire or other danger and you are afraid they will not hear your normal voice.

    Best of luck to you. Let us know what happens.
     
  15. wunderwhy

    wunderwhy Comrade

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2006
    Messages:
    323
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jan 14, 2007

    Hi, and welcome to the forum and profession.

    What you are experiencing is very normal, and although your first years will certainly be harder than your last, I think teaching is a great job and can be very rewarding once you get the hang of it.

    I agree that the problem is that the students know there will be no consequences to their actions.

    One piece of advice is to watch Super Nanny. Often there are parents on there who never follow through with their children. You'll be amazed how the children want limits and want their parents to enforce them. The same thing goes with your students.

    Here are some tips from my experience:

    When they won't stop talking: Say loudly and calmly, "Shhh. I am waiting for your attention." Then put your finger over your lips and look expectantly at them. Don't try to shout over them . . . they'll quiet down after about ten seconds (it will seem much longer than that, but just remain calm and confident). When a few of them test the waters (and believe me, they will) and try to call out and get you off track again, don't react -- don't look in their direction or answer their question. After a few seconds, if the student/s who didn't shape up already are still talking, calmly make them go outside of the room or change seats or go to the time out program if you have one. At this point, if the students argue with you instead of leaving/moving, it has become insubordination -- refusal to follow a teacher's reasonable directions -- and is no longer just being a little chatty in class. Not following your directions is something you can and should follow the school's discipline chain for.

    When they are out of their seats: Say, "You may not get out of your seats without my permission. You need to return to your seat right now." Then keep teaching. If you just stand there waiting for the students to get back in their seats, then the control is in their hands. If you keep teaching, then they haven't accomplished their goal -- getting you off track -- and you give them a few moments to get over the embarrassment of being called out by a teacher (some students will refuse to comply if you make it seem like a show-down but will comply once they've realized that it's not a big deal and you've asserted your control over the class). If they still won't sit down, again, you've got someone refusing to follow your classroom rules . . . send them outside, to the time out program, to the office, etc. You may feel like you are overreacting, but we have the expression "making an example of someone" for a reason. Once the kids know that you will really follow through (calmly, of course), then their behavior will improve.

    I've been in your shoes. I know that deep down my fear was that if I really took a stand and enforced my rules, they still wouldn't listen to me, so it's somehow better not to try. But just remember, they are behaving very predictably given your discomfort with discipline and will behave just as predictably when you follow through.

    The good news is . . . it's only been a few days! That's nothing in their memories. As soon as you've spent as many days enforcing the rules as you did letting things slide, they really won't remember the way it was before. Incidents of insubordination will become isolated events (usually because a student is having a bad day) and can be dealt with individually.
     
  16. teacher7

    teacher7 Rookie

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2007
    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    0

    Feb 5, 2007

    I am new to this website, and I hope you will still receive my reply, even though it has been nearly a month since you last wrote.

    I was drawn to your post because I have faced similar problems, and have had little success no matter what I've tried. I have one question for you: what size is your school? I teach in a very small school, with VERY relaxed discipline. It has been tremendously hard for me to work in this type of environment. I was just curious as to your type of school, and if the problems stem from a much larger source.

    During my first year, I agonized for months over my lack of discipline skills. I looked for advice from fellow teachers, but found little. I even had one veteran teacher tell me "it takes a b**ch to be a teacher." Appalled, I tried all kinds of tactics, carefully avoiding her novel suggestion.

    I finally realized that my discipline problems started with the school environment: lack of consistency, lack of support from the adminstration, lack of respect for other teachers, lack of deadlines and expectation of quality work...the list could go on.

    Bottom Line: the students at my school do not respect authority in general, be it teachers or administrators. Is your school the same?
     
  17. chodaboy07

    chodaboy07 New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2007
    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    0

    Feb 5, 2007

    Hey all,
    I have stepped into student teaching with a very well known co-op at the school. He is known to be well respected by the students, but that is due to his easy going attitude. I took over the 9th grade civics course first, with the 11-12th grade pysch courses later.

    Here is my issue, with his long standing reputation as a lack but respected teacher, the students know exactly what they can get away with, and that includes multiple trips out of the room, using their cell phone in class!! and other issues. I want to do my best with the education part, but it sometimes seems his class is a study hall. Anyways, he is very knowledge filled when it comes to content and ideas, but im afraid his easy going attitude will greatly hinder my teaching. How to approach this??
     
  18. DarthAlan

    DarthAlan Rookie

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2005
    Messages:
    20
    Likes Received:
    0

    Feb 6, 2007

    Focus on procedures for the first 2 weeks of class. And review a procedure at least 3x/week after that. Tell them exactly what you want in every aspect of classroom activities. Students need to feel like they have boundries and a layed out set of behaviors that are acceptable.

    Also, you should watch www.thesecret.tv . It will change the way you look at everything in your classroom. I have even shared it with all of my students, because it is such an important lesson.
     
  19. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Virtuoso

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2005
    Messages:
    6,067
    Likes Received:
    1,535

    Feb 6, 2007

    Throw ALL of your focus into teaching them procedures and expectations for EVERYTHING you do in class . . . and I do mean every little thing. Practice it until they get it right. Yes, it does seem like it's a waste of time at the beginning, but you'll get more work out of them in the long run because you won't be fighting behavior as often later on.

    And don't forget to reteach as much as needed. For instance, I'll have to reteach next week. We've been out all week with snow, and if the weather continues like predicted, we'll be out all week. I'll need to reteach when we return.

    I love Randy Sprick's CHAMPs program. I've also read Harry Wong's The First Days of School, which is also good . . . better, in fact, for first year teachers. I read it about 10 years into my career and didn't get much from it that I didn't already know. I've used CHAMPs for several years.
     
  20. Mr. Windchill

    Mr. Windchill Rookie

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2007
    Messages:
    63
    Likes Received:
    0

    Feb 7, 2007

    Resembles what I experience at the high school I teach at.
     
  21. robin0103

    robin0103 Rookie

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2006
    Messages:
    28
    Likes Received:
    0

    Feb 7, 2007

    There is no need for threats. After giving clear expectations & consequences...Follow through!! You are not the 'bad guy' by giving consequences. You are giving them the stability that is needed. If they choose to break the rules & suffer consequences, it was their choice.
     
  22. b-radical

    b-radical Companion

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2007
    Messages:
    122
    Likes Received:
    0

    Feb 9, 2007

    I am sending you my whole heart. Classroom management is an ongoing learning curve, and I am certainly no expert. I'm also a first year teacher.

    One thing that I've learned is that I have to continue to "teach" the rules of behavior. I'm stunned that students can remember details of beer commercials but can't "remember" that they are not to get out of their seats without permission or raise their hands while I'm talking.

    I've also learned that making that parent phone call is essential. Don't threaten to do it... just do it.

    Don't know if it will help, but don't base your teaching gifts on your first week. I'm blissfully blank about my first two months. HANG IN THERE!!!!!
     
  23. Madrone

    Madrone Rookie

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2007
    Messages:
    35
    Likes Received:
    0

    Feb 10, 2007

    This is my first year, also, and I had a hard time until recently with tracking all the management issues in my classes. The thing I could never get past is, if ten of them are misbehaving, where do I start? I can't write them all up, can I? The answer, I've found, is to track it and just start. As soon as they see you mean business, the rest will fall into line.

    What I've done is put together two spreadsheets. The first lists every student, by class, with parents' names and contact numbers.

    The second is open space with fields for the student's name, behavior issue, date of verbal warning, date of time out, date of detention, date of referral and a space for the date I contacted a parent and notes about that conversation.

    I print out each spreadsheet and keep it in a teeny tiny binder with dividers for each class and a separate section for the blank sheet, and keep it with me at all times. I can see at a glance if I've already warned so-and-so about chewing gum this week. I don't even remind him or her, out he goes to a time out and I make a note to call a parent that afternoon. The next time - detention. It makes it less overwhelming to me, gives me a place to start and helps me be consistent. I'm not more or less strict with my mood.

    Also, if I need to, I can call a parent on the spot and ask them to talk to their child about why he or she insists on throwing spitballs or talking when I am trying to teach.

    You have to find your method, own it (to quote Mr. Wong), and like someone else suggested, look and act like a teacher even if you don't feel it that day.

    Things are slowly improving for me. Good luck!
     
  24. WindyCityGal606

    WindyCityGal606 Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2006
    Messages:
    2,469
    Likes Received:
    12

    Feb 10, 2007

    After teaching for 8 years, I believe the key to good classroom management is to make sure you can manage yourself and all else should fall into place. If you are wishy-washy and lack confidence...the kids will see it and walk right over you. Even the toughest of the tough want and need a leader. They don't need another person who will crumble at the sight of them...they get enough of that among their peers. That's why they're the tough guys. The purpose of school is to work on their education. They need to be reminded of that often. Socializing has its time and place but not in my class.
    So sad...too bad!
    Being firm and consistentent and having high expectations works wonders and gets you the respect you need to do your job. I actually have a lot of fun each day teaching and engaging my students. There's nothing like the feeling you get when your hardest kid gets a good grade on a tough assignment!!! They know that's what makes me smile and they like it when I smile because I save it for smile-worthy occasions. When I am truly pleased with them, they know it! (And they, in turn, feel pretty good about themselves!)
    Keep in mind that they have families and friends to fulfill their emotional needs...we are there for their educational needs. Yes...even the ones with not-so-great families...in our opinion.
     
  25. CmsTigerGuy

    CmsTigerGuy Rookie

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2007
    Messages:
    59
    Likes Received:
    0

    Feb 10, 2007

    In addition to the books others have mentioned, Fred Jones' Tools for Teaching and Rick Smith's Conscious Classroom Management are both excellent tools. Also remember that most misbehavior occurs when students are either bored or confused.
     
  26. dawnsbrain

    dawnsbrain New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2007
    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    0

    Feb 10, 2007

    On the lack of consistency.

    This can be so frustrating. I know one teacher at my high school in particular who is the one who wants to be the students' "buddy." She lets them get away with breaking all kinds of rules in her classroom. I've witnessed this myself because for drama I use her classroom, and sometimes I'm a little early. Kids are listening to iPods, taking photos with their cellphones, eating snacks, swearing, sitting on tables, goofing off in general. How am I supposed to get kids whom she teaches to understand that that behavior is not acceptable in my art classroom?

    I have decent classroom managment, but every day 7th period comes in and leaves like a pack of wild animals.

    I don't want to stir s**t by going to the Principal about it, not until I have tenure (this is my first year too.)
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2007
  27. b-radical

    b-radical Companion

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2007
    Messages:
    122
    Likes Received:
    0

    Feb 10, 2007

    I think my biggest frustration re: discipline issues is the complete ineffectiveness of ISS/OSS. In all four of my classes, it's just a couple of kids who stir everything up. When they're removed, we have peace temporarily. But suspension (in or out of school) is a joke to these kids, and when they return, we're back to ground zero.

    AAARRRGGHHHH
     
  28. abby1966

    abby1966 Rookie

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2006
    Messages:
    79
    Likes Received:
    0

    Feb 10, 2007

    You are so right about hte ISS being a joke!!! My fifth graders do not fear ISS at all - they laugh at it. Ours begins every day at 12 noon so if you send a child they will only be there from 12 noon until 3 p.m. You're very right about when they return that its back to ground zero.
     
  29. b-radical

    b-radical Companion

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2007
    Messages:
    122
    Likes Received:
    0

    Feb 10, 2007

    Ours is supposed to begin first thing in the morning, but the ISS kids are somehow free to wander the halls to come to their classes in order to get "their work." What really pticks me off is that they come into my classroom demanding work for three or four days. They don't do their work in the first place.

    How does your administration handle these types of situations?
     
  30. abby1966

    abby1966 Rookie

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2006
    Messages:
    79
    Likes Received:
    0

    Feb 11, 2007

    Like I said. ours doesn't start until 12 noon everyday - so if you send a student then you have to stop in the middle of whatever you are doing and fill out the appropriate paperwork and make them pack up all of their books, write their homework down in their agendas, etc. and then walk them down to ISS and give the paperwork to the person who works in ISS. They also require that you have given the student enough work to keep them busy the entire time they are there. We can only send them to ISS for 1 day at time (12-3).
     
  31. Southern JC

    Southern JC Companion

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2007
    Messages:
    144
    Likes Received:
    3

    Mar 27, 2007

    Hi Newteacher 11,

    I am a preservice teacher and will be doing a presentation on the topic, The first days of school. I noticed that "The First Days of School" by Harry K. Wong was recommended by a couple of people.
    Did you read this book and if so did any of the information help.

    Thanks for your help.
     

Share This Page

Members Online Now

Total: 216 (members: 3, guests: 199, robots: 14)
test