From Para to Teacher

Discussion in 'New Teachers' started by MilitaryPara22, Feb 26, 2008.

  1. MilitaryPara22

    MilitaryPara22 Rookie

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    Feb 26, 2008

    Hi all!!

    I'm a para at a Title 1 school for 4th grade resource. Next year I will start my first year of teaching, but I'm concerned. My concern is this: my biggest problem is behavior management.Before I decided to get into teaching, I became a para to get a feel for teaching and I've gotten a lot of experience. My biggest observation of myself is that I can't control them.
    Do you think starting in a classroom of my own, without being someone's assistant will make a difference in behavior management? I would like think that the beginning of a school year can be a clean slate for me, or any other teacher for that matter, but am unsure if my actions and disciplines (or lack thereof) will follow me into my new classroom.
    I have been labeled the "nice teacher", and I know all too well how wrong that is; it's just my personality. Needless to say the kids don't listen to me at all. Hopefully, with my experience as a para, I'll be able to learn from this year and do things right next year. Is this attainable or am I being naive?
    I'm contemplating whether I can handle a classroom of my own... any encouragement or advice will be so helpful.
    Thank you from Louisiana!!
     
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  3. Noggin

    Noggin Rookie

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    Feb 26, 2008

    I think the fact that you're concerned about it is all the answer you need. You're already aware you have room for improvement and are looking for help- as long as you keep that attitude then you will get better at it everyday. I am still very new myself, needed lots of advice and still have tons to learn - but I also can see how far I've come this year alone. Every now and then, I'll handle a situation without thinking twice about it and afterwards think- I would have been at a total loss of what to do there five months ago!! Yay! I suck a lot less now! :lol: (Gotta celebrate every little victory!)

    It is a great feeling to know it is starting to become second nature and I wasn't sure it would happen either. I started out too nice like you're saying you are- and actually thought I was being tough! (I was clearly delusional!) As long as you're willing to listen to advice from anyone who has walked in your shoes before and been successful, then have faith that of course you can do this! And your experience as a para also gives you a major head start! Tons of experience there to start from.

    There is so much great advice and many really nice people to be found on this site for sure. My entire classroom management plan is an AtoZ advice combination creation where I've borrowed great idea after great idea from much more experienced teachers than I- and I finally have a classroom I love to work in - most days!! I must admit that I did not like Valentines Day. At all. It was horrific with the drama and tears and candy and break-ups. I can honestly say I've never been so happy to see the final bell come. No behavior management plan can defy teenage romance and mass amounts of chocolate in tiny bloodstreams. :lol:
     
  4. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    Feb 26, 2008

    Umm....It's a learning process. The only way it would be better if it is your classroom is if your current teacher doesn't give you (or allow) any role in classroom management. That doesn't appear to be the case here. My first year I didn't have anything to do with classroom management because there were two teachers for a small class. My second year it was just one teacher and myself and suddenly I became an active participant. It was sink or swim for a while until I learned what works and what doesn't. Now I'm much better at it than she is. (Even she will admit). I can critique her classroom mangement skills and tell you where I see weakness but those may not be the same as yours. Take a classroom managment class, read classroom management books and discussion posts, talk to your teacher, apply some techniques and be CONSISTENT.

    In my class I walk in the room and they automatically straighten up. If they are goofing off and I give them my teacher stare, the don't even try it again. I've gotten pretty good. She doesn't quite have that. She can keep them engaged and remind them of rules, etc but she doesn't have that "teacher look/command" quite the same way I do. In the beginning I knew NOTHING. It is attainable even if it is your weakness now.
     
  5. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    Feb 26, 2008

    I forgot to ask... Military...what branch? I'm currently attending an Army Family Action Plan Conference to work out issues from all year. It's fun!
     
  6. bright66

    bright66 New Member

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    Feb 26, 2008

    To MilitaryPara22:

    I've found that the How to be an Effective Teacher: the First Days of School by Harry Wong & Rosemary Wong is a wonderful resource for new and veteran teachers. Topics inc. classroom management, procedures and guidelines, objective writing, and other fabulous info. Hope this helps.
     
  7. MilitaryPara22

    MilitaryPara22 Rookie

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    Feb 27, 2008

    Thank you for your inputs...I am amazed at how some teachers just have "the look" and it works wonders. Today, I had the class to myself and while it wasn't total chaos, I had moments of disorder and disruption. When the students found out the head teacher was absent, they got excited and said, " This is going to be a fun day!" Yeah, fun for them.
    I have my look of disapproval, which the students catch on and know they're out of line but it reoccurs. Many times I get desperate and just yell, "HUSH!" but that doesn't have a long term effect, nor is it a good disiplne tool. However, with these kids, yelling at them seems to be what works. It's how the head teacher deals with them. She raises her voice and threatens them with phonecalls to their parents. I can't match up to her, so I think when I try to discipline it just can't compete. Looking to her for classroom management is not wise in my eyes, I feel she's got the wrong idea.
    We don't have infractions, so the kids don't have any consequences...I'll make sure to have that in my classroom however it may be.
    I have heard of the Harry Wong book... many teacher's live by it at our school. I'll definitely pick it up.
    And cutNglue, I'm with the AirForce.
     
  8. Master Pre-K

    Master Pre-K Virtuoso

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    Feb 27, 2008

    ditto on the Harry Wong book...

    I think it is great you are making this move. And it is also good that you sense your weaknesses and want to address them now!

    Part of my issue with behavior management is that it all depends on the atmosphere and policy of the school. You almost have to be there a good week and a half to see what the paper policy is, and what the unwritten/acceptable policy is. Being in early childhood, I have to be so careful because most programs and parents are so passive and easy on kids. If I as much as make 'the look' I send kids running down the hall crying, and their parents will hate me forever. These are usually the kids who have been spoiled rotten...not a thought...a fact, and this is their first experience in the real world...and having an adult tell them "NO."

    that being said... I have seen teachers and programs that are so nice, it is disgusting..because nothing is accomplished. But I have also seen people treat kids very mean, yell, scream, grab them and give them a real 'look' and make threats all day, "Do you want me to call mom?" Or worse, they is always one mean teacher in the building, and she is known for coming in to straighten out everybody's kids. "Send them to me, I'll take care of 'em." and the whole room is quiet. Ok, what happens when that teacher isn't in? that's why I don't like to use threats like that! and what does it mean when you don't have control of your own class?

    You can't be too nice, and you can't be too mean. You need to find that line of respect and control, and never let them cross it. A nasty/adult joke, a playful tap, a mean/sarcastic tone...I just don't tolerate them. It happens once, and you laugh..and you are just a dead duck. They will not stop. And when you get mean and say that is enough, they will start crying or tell everyone how mean you are!

    Start by making some class rules. No more than 5, and let them make 5 more with you. Only rules you can enforce. "We will be friends to everyone" is pointless and can't be enforced! But, "We will not leave the classroom" makes sense.

    Have your behavior management system in place. Use it each and every time.

    Don't have favorites. The quiet, nice...well=dressed, smart...you know the types. They are used to being teacher's pets..and will start becoming your pal real quick. Another equally annoying group is the tattlers. They love to get people in trouble. It is a terrible illness I tell you! Ignore these people! Tell them, "I only want to hear about what John (that child) is doing."

    You will see we have a behavior management subforum. I find it is helpful to jump around many places. You can ask the same question, or post it under general education too.
     
  9. Green_eyed_gal

    Green_eyed_gal Comrade

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    Feb 28, 2008

    Another good book to read is Tools for Teaching, by Fred Jones... He covers all the bases.. Discipline, instruction and motivation. It's a no nonsense approach to classroom managment. One thing he discusses is using body language and learning to look like you mean business... It takes practice!!

    I don't have a classroom yet (I graduated in Dec.), but this will definitely be the classroom management system I use.
     
  10. MilitaryPara22

    MilitaryPara22 Rookie

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    MasterPreK- you're so wise in my eyes! Just how long will it take to get to your level of expertise??
    I've been poking my nose in a number of behavior management areas and am getting some good ideas. The main point I keep coming across is Procedure and Constency. If you don't set the rules and procedures on the first day and stick with them, you'll spend the whole year chasing after them. I've also read that if you don't have effect classroom management, the kids don't learn as well and as much....I'm going to make sure I've got all the rules posted, established and ensure the students understand and practice them.
    I'm so glad I became a Para first- I think I have been exposed to so much without having full responsibility. I'm hoping I'll have an edge as a first year teacher because of this year's trials and tribulations.
     
  11. Master Pre-K

    Master Pre-K Virtuoso

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    Thank you! I have experience of 10 years, or 100 jobs, give or take a few! I was an aide, sub and teacher...so I have book smarts and street smarts!

    Rules keep us sane and safe. If you walked into a party, a park or prison..:eek:, the first thing you better know is some ground rules. Any of these places could be disaster without them!

    And, we know they must be consistent and have consequences. We will keep ripping the tags off of our throw pillows, because we don't believe there is any penalty of law (and don't know that doesn't count for consumers!) Nobody I know had police pull up to their house yet! We take pens and pencils, and reams of paper, until a memo comes out stating that office supplies will be monitored. Rules will be broken unless they are consistently monitored.

    When the store clerk lets one guy get in with 15 items at the 10 or less line, everyone will move over to her line!

    Just keep those things in mind. Imagine how you feel when rules are not there, or not followed, or enforced.
     
  12. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    The secret to the teacher look: It must have a consistent consequence that follows the look if they ignore it. After a while the need for the consequence will diminish because they know what that means. It doesn't have to be an overly harsh consequence for every action but it needs to be enough to effectively get the point across. As the year goes by I slowly wait before giving the consequence as quickly as I would in the beginning and may issue a verbal warning but if they blatantly ignore me then I do have to give consequences.

    The bottom line is the look is not believable after a while if nothing ever happens as a result of it. It takes a while but I promise you it works.
     
  13. Green_eyed_gal

    Green_eyed_gal Comrade

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    This is something we practiced at the Fred Jones workshop... We worked on our body language as a managment tool. We worked on turning toward students and relaxing our faces so that we have no expression when we give students "the look". You wouldn't think you would have to practicing turning toward a student, but you do. There's certain way that Dr. Jones teaches that really shows that you mean business!! :lol:
     
  14. Master Pre-K

    Master Pre-K Virtuoso

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    I can't hide any feelings in my face.

    I have the teacher look and mommy look, and the 'what the he** is wrong with you' look all in one! I hate it! I go to meetings, hear something dumb, and bam..there goes my face. And sure enough, somebody says, "What is wrong, you don't like this idea?"

    I can't hide it.

    I have learned to force a smile, all day. I work in preschool, and parents always want to see you looking happy! If I don't force myself to smile my face (age?) naturally falls to a frown/scowl..take your pick. I can smile naturally, but if I relax, I just look like I am upset most of the time.

    It annoys me when I am in a store, and some man will make a comment like, "Why don't you smile?" or "It can't be that bad!" It sends me a message that as a woman, I am supposed to be looking pleasing to him all the time! Sheesh!

    But I digress...

    I have seen older women on the bus, who had the same look. I guess it is true what teachers say. If you hold your face like that too long...it will stay that way. :(
     
  15. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    I have 2 deep lines between my eyebrows so when I use them (like in concentration), I just look mean. I can't make them go away. It's funny when parents worry because the kids know who I am and know when I am mad and aren't concerned about those deep line areas.
     
  16. Master Pre-K

    Master Pre-K Virtuoso

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    Mar 2, 2008

    two lines on my forehead...

    and parenthesis frame my mouth...

    age makes a man distinguished-

    just makes a woman old and wrinkled! :(
     
  17. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    I know. It's no fair. That's ageism.

    You must be up late like me Master Pre-K. It feels weird to call you Master. hehe.
     
  18. Master Pre-K

    Master Pre-K Virtuoso

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    I know...it's just my title...nothing more...

    Master State Pre-K Teacher

    as opposed to....

    Teacher
    Lead Teacher
    Special Education Pre-K Teacher
    Early Childhood Teacher
    Bilingual Special Education Pre-K

    you can call me Master P :p

    or MPK for short...


    only 10 pm here...

    and I have not mastered anything yet!

    I am a work in progress...
     
  19. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    You are so funny. I knew what it stood for. I just feel like I'm bowing down every time I write it. :lol:
     
  20. Master Pre-K

    Master Pre-K Virtuoso

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    why.... certainly I am bowing to you...Ms. Aficionado, and Super Aide..that you are!
     
  21. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    Every since I got a title I have watched my numbers. What drives me crazy is even though I do a whole lotta talking, it takes FOREVER to get through 100 posts much less the next level. There's no point in watching.

    Thanks for the compliment. I'm still worried about my placement for next year. I'm not the best fit for everyone.
     
  22. Master Pre-K

    Master Pre-K Virtuoso

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    well I can't say the same thing..still think being a fanatic sounds like I am borderline schizo or just weird...but hey, that's just me.

    but life is a mystery to be lived, and not a problem to be solved...

    it is the content of your responses, not the volume...

    some of the newbies have offered some outsanding wisdom!

    maybe next fall we will all start over at zero!

    or, perhaps you may move up to moderator! :D

    nighty nite..
     

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