I've posted a little bit about the situation I'm dealing with in other threads, but I could use some more specific, overall advice for how to turn things around. I'm going to give you a lot of context here to explain what's going on before I ask any questions. If anyone has the patience to read this and offer advice, I'd appreciate it. I'm a first year, 9th grade English teacher at a rural school who groups classes by ability. I have two "Inclusion" classes, which are the lowest performing students in the school (about 1/3 actually have special needs--mostly ADHD or LD). My other class is a general class that contains the next lowest performing kids who couldn't get slotted into the Inclusion classes. Basically, I have the "Dumping Ground" classes. My kids mostly come from horrible family situations that struggle with poverty, drugs, neglect/abuse, bullying, etc. and it manifests itself in a lot of behavior problems, hatefulness, and very low self esteem. In my inclusion classes, I have a SPED teacher to "co-teach," but aside from teaching one day a week (on whatever topic he chooses without talking to me) he just sits there the rest of the time and does very little. He comes strolling in a few minutes after the bell, sits quietly, then leaves a few minutes before class ends. Sometimes he'll float around the room to help the kids with their work or deal with a misbehaving student, but that's it. We have planning together, but he's never interested in collaborating or offering any real advice, though I get the impression he quietly judges me every second he's in the room. Yet, he is really good at working with the kids and raising the test scores of the classes he teaches by himself. The kids have a lot more respect for him than they do me, and they actually pay attention and (mostly) behave for him when he teaches. They've told me this directly. My first semester has been a disaster. I started out trying to be compassionate, respectful and engaging to the kids, but all the activities I'd come up with fell flat and they took advantage of my attempts to build positive relationships and be patient and caring. The kids just shut down when I tried to do any kind of higher order thinking activity, refused to listen when I wasn't yelling, and when I put them in groups it's been a disaster because they flat out refuse to work with anyone who isn't their friend but then they won't work when they're put with a friend. Some kids just want to run around the room or flop around on the floor like kindergarteners. I spent my first 2 months scrambling for whatever materials I could put together until I got textbooks, then when the textbooks came the district Literacy Coach told me I should follow the book's Essential Course of Study exactly as written to ensure our students would be ready for their test this year and their Common Core stuff next year. My kids, who were already shutting down at open ended questions and writing prompts, completely balked at that point and I'm not sure how to get what little attention or motivation I had from them back. When I hand them an assignment, about 1/3 of them don't do it at all and there are a few in each class who'll just throw it on the ground and openly say they're refusing to do it. Just trying to get through a single class is hard. When I enforce consequences, like having them copy rules, move seats, go to the hall, stay after class, do jumping jacks, or get a failing grade on the assignment, they either refuse to comply or make an even bigger spectacle of themselves in the complying. Since I'm forbidden from writing them up (which did no good, anyway), I don't know what more I can do to prove I mean business. The SPED teacher has their respect and they do what he says, but when I try to model him, the kids lose respect for me. What I want is advice on: 1. Earning their respect, since expecting and demanding it has done me no good. 2. Coming up with lessons/assignments they'll actually pay attention to and participate in. 3. Coming up with classroom management policies and routines that work and build a calm, respectful environment. I had a bunch that I wanted to put in place, but they fell flat from the beginning and my attempts to adapt and find a solid routine have been unsuccessful. I've read a bunch of stuff, and I've tried to be consistent and professional in applying that, but none of that has worked with them, either. 4. Finding effective, efficient ways to help teach those basic skills (like reading comprehension) that they're so lacking in. 5. Help with teaching and motivating kids to do better on standardized tests, since our school's mission is to be a testing factory. In my subject, I have 88 testing standards they might see on a 65 question test, and most of my kids don't/can't even read the test properly in the first place. Sorry if this is so long winded, but I need a lot of help and most of the classroom management stuff I see is geared towards Elementary age kids and hasn't worked for me. When I try that with my students, they just get pi$$ed and act even worse. When I relax and try to pick my battles, a handful of students keep pushing and pushing it until I enforce consequences, then they blow up and I have horrible classroom meltdowns on my hands. I find myself bored by the low-level material I'm teaching and frustrated at fighting just to get students to behave respectfully and decently.