FRUSTRATED! - New Teacher here!

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by Efit1986, Apr 12, 2017.

  1. Efit1986

    Efit1986 Rookie

    Aug 24, 2016
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    Apr 12, 2017

    I have been so frustrated lately!

    I am 30 years old and started a teaching credential program in California. I just moved here from New York, so this is a career change.

    I teach 11th Grade English.

    My students have had a difficult time with teachers this year. There initial teacher was fired after two months and then these students went on 4 more months with a new sub every month. I got hired officially and started the end of February. There is just 2 more months of school but I'm so irritated!

    I have done powerpoints, kahoots, interactive games, tests, essay, anything I can think of to engage them but just a handful of students pay attention and the other half is loud and obnoxious. I have given warnings and referrals but the students state they don't care if any of that happens. They don't care if I call home. Most of the time, parents don't even call me make.
    Also, we are not allowed to confiscate phones. Students are ALWAYS on their phones. It is just so rude and they don't learn anything. Maybe they would if they actually paid attention.

    I've even give two options for a lesson and let the students pick, in order for them to be more invested in their learning... but they STILL do not pay attention.
    They have a state test coming up and I am gracious enough to go over some content in class bc they requested it. Well... I did that today in the form of interactive practice tests and Kahoot and by the time I was done only 3 students were working with me to solve the problems on the powerpoint slides.

    I have a daily rubric where they get participation points/behavior points per day. That totals to 20% of their grade.

    They just don't care. I am at a lose of words on how they just don't care.
    This is a public school. I never went to public school. IS THIS HOW IT IS?!?!?!?!
  3. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

    Aug 25, 2011
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    Apr 12, 2017

    Juniors at that age and stage in the year are going to be like that, especially when they've probably spent the whole year getting away with doing nothing because they had so many subs.

    I'm in a similar situation where no consequences really have any effect and the administration puts huge dampeners on your ability to uphold a consequence that actually means anything. I have a large number of students who simply don't care. They're not invested in their education because they don't believe they'll get anything out of it. Their lives have shown them that they're probably just going to work at the fast-food place or something else, and they're fine with that and know they won't need any education where they're going.

    If it were me, I would just give them the grades they deserved on the work that they do. Continue to plan good lessons for those 3 students who are working with you and still care about their grade. You aren't going to be able to compete with anything that they have on their phones, especially if admin won't let you confiscate them, so they have to be responsible on their own enough to want to listen. If they're being disruptive, kick them out, so those who want to learn can, otherwise, I would just completely ignore the ones doing nothing as long as they were doing nothing quietly. You can't force them to succeed.

    Not all schools are like that. Mostly rural and some urban schools are though. Or just schools with ineffective administration.
  4. GTB4GT

    GTB4GT Cohort

    Aug 28, 2011
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    Apr 12, 2017

    I continue to be amazed (shocked? dismayed? incredulous?) at how little administration is brought into the discussion when discussing school performance. This may be the ONLY profession where there is no accountability for management.

    In sports, if a team fails, the coach is fired, not the players. In industry, if a plant is underperforming,the manager is fired. In education? Blame seems to be placed at the feet of teachers??!!! This goes against everything I have ever seen in my career outside of education. It's really sad as the kids are the ones who ultimately suffer from poor school leadership. Teachers do as well.

    To the OP, sounds like you are in a school with no leadership. Get through the year as best you can then look elsewhere. Not all schools are as you described. But sadly, many are.
    ms.irene likes this.
  5. Committed2DaProfession

    Committed2DaProfession Rookie

    Mar 16, 2017
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    Apr 12, 2017

    That definitely sounds familiar. Starting late in the year only makes it worse, as you haven't had the opportunity to build relationships with the students. Parent phone calls/emails/messages are VERY effective. Also, try to get as involved as you can this late in the year. The students really appreciate it and will be less likely to give you a hard time if they know that you genuinely care.
  6. rpan

    rpan Cohort

    Mar 19, 2017
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    Apr 13, 2017

    I'm not saying that the students are correct in their actions, but thinking from their point of view, they are probably waiting for you to bail out on them, just like all the other teachers they have encountered this year. There's no motivation to work with you or for you because they aren't too interested in forming a relationship with you if they don't believe you are going to stay. They haven't had a routine for working or behaviour all year and it's difficult but not impossible to start so late. You need to reassure them you are here to stay and genuinely want to work with them. It may be too little too late this late in the year but unless you strongly believe the cause of this problem is lack of management support or poor school policy that isn't likely to change, don't quit just yet.
  7. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

    Feb 4, 2010
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    Apr 13, 2017

    Coming in late after a lot of subs is hard.
    I had the same situation when I started, it was April, right after spring break (with only 2 months left) and they either had daily subs, or 2 long term subs, who was not credentialed in the area, so didn't know the content but had great classroom management, and another one that was the opposite.

    You have a few things going against you, and you need to find a way to overcome them, some or most of them, either completely or somewhat.
    - you are their 20th or 30th teacher this year. They think you will leave just like all of them did so they have no interest in getting to know you and getting invested in you. My kids waited for me to quit. I told them I moved here from 6 hours away, I wasn't quitting. It didn't matter, anyone can say anything. When they saw me in summer school, some kids changed their minds about me, when I was there the next year in August, they saw that I meant it, and the year after, etc. So there isn't much you can do, time will tell.
    - end of year / spring craziness. Juniors usually care about their grades, so maybe you can talk some sense into them, that if they don't pass your class, they have to take it again and being only 1 year away from graduation, it can really mess it up. They might need to do summer school or graduate late.
    - general behavior. I think lessons can really dictate behavior, in most cases. I wouldn't try to make it fun or engaging for them. These things have always worked for me and kids were quite: reading (as a class), taking notes, worksheets, together as a class. You can have them work independently and listen to music on their phone while they work, as long as they are working.
    - phones. I think it's horrible that you can't confiscate phones. So you have to work around it. Build it into the lesson, like I said above, they can listen to music while they work or have them google definitions of words, google a famous person, etc. I don't know what content you teach, but I'm sure you can come up with something. I'd also talk to other teachers about phones and see how they handle it.

    It won't be easy, but it should get better. If they're not interested in learning or passing the class, at least they need to be quite for those who do want to learn. I think it is the teacher's job to ensure this.

    At this point it's about survival, take it one day at a time. But, at the same times, look for another job with better administration.

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