Having a hard time

Discussion in 'Behavior Management' started by lajoers3, Feb 6, 2007.

  1. lajoers3

    lajoers3 Comrade

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    Feb 6, 2007

    Well, it's been a full week now with the kids back at school and I am not really settling into my new class. I love my school, I love the staff and well, many of the kids are quite sweet too. The rest however, are just really trying my patience and I don't know what to do. I have tried being nice, i've tried being tough, i've tried explaining things to them and i've tried just telling them that i'm the teacher and they do things my way. I set up the rules on day one, immediately. I even tried to get them involved but they were all over the place. They were yelling and screaming at each other, kids crawling under desks. The girls are pretty good but they do get chatty but gosh it's sending me insane. I've just woken up with a headache and I know I need to find an answer for this class. What do I do though?
     
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  3. synapse

    synapse Comrade

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    What does your instruction look like? If we were students in your class, what would we be be experiencing?
     
  4. Lesley

    Lesley Habitué

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    Feb 6, 2007

    For my K class I finally settled on a chart on the bulletin board. It has 5 sections. Everyone starts in the smiling face section, labeled 'WOW Terrific Day!' (names are written on a small piece of laminated paper and I use the putty stuff to tack it on the board-I put BB paper on and then spread contact paper over it so the putty would hold better and come off easier-anyway, section 2 is 'Warning', section 3 is 'No Reward' section for is 'Note home' Section 5 is call home and note to principal.
    I give verbal warnings, depending on the infraction. I move names without making a scene or saying a word. They do have the option of having their name moved back sections if their behavior changes and they do not point it out to me that they are doing better. Those that stay in section 1 get a reward, sticker, candy, pencil etc... We start every morning in the smiling section. IT has been 3 weeks since I started and there is a great improvement in behavior. Sure I still have those that move to section 5 within an hour, but they too are now starting to get it together and are so proud when they turn their act around and their name moves backwards. Today I had a child who has moved to section 5 every day for 3 weeks, BUT today he stayed on the smiling wow face. He was so proud of himself and I made sure to write a note home saying his day was great.
    I have a standard note for students daily behavior where I circle the behavior or if they were on task. IT is divided in to sections, seatwork, group time, stations, etc... I make a copy before sending it home. So far I really like this system with this group of kids.
     
  5. runsw/scissors

    runsw/scissors Phenom

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    Feb 6, 2007

    Gosh, I can't say I have had to deal with kids screaming and running around the room. I would get ahold of the Essential 55 book and go to town. His ideas are simple and straight forward. Don't introduce more than, say, five or six skill to start with. Get those down pat and introduce some more. Frequently acknowledge or reward those who behave. This may need to be done privately or subtly if they embarrase easily. The others need attention too, so catch them doing a good job. Jim Fay's Love & Logic is great too. Again, don't try to do everything at once. Start with just a few things and go from there. Maybe listening skills, waiting patiently, following procedures they helped create would be good ones to start with.
     
  6. Maryhf

    Maryhf Connoisseur

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    I haven't tried the essential 55, but I love my rules. I have 2: Be appropriate and be prepared. The students defined the word appropriate on the first day and we discussed its meaning. Now, I just look at them and say, "Is that appropriate?" and we move on. I got this from a book but I can't remember its name.
     
  7. ThinkOutLoud

    ThinkOutLoud Rookie

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    Feb 6, 2007

  8. lajoers3

    lajoers3 Comrade

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    Feb 8, 2007

    Thanks everyone. Yesterday was not a good day. Not because it was a particularly bad day kid wise (it wasn't the best day but it was a bit better) but because I had a meeting with the Headmaster, Head of Junior School and stage coordinator regarding the issues i've had with the class. The headmaster brought up the fact that we have to immediately address these problems and if new strategies which I started to implement today didn't start to show marked improvement then he'd have to ask the hard question 'Are you (meaning me) able to do this?' So, I guess without really saying it he did say that my job was on the line and I could be without one real soon. Thankfully, he was down today and the kids were much better behaved. I had set out the rules again, and made it extremely clear that I would not tolerate anything from anyone. I had troubles with kids but I dealt with it and the headmaster was actually happy with it. He said to me at the end of the day 'this afternoon, went by quite smoothly didn't it?' and then he said 'and today as a whole has been a lot better hasn't it?'
    I am definitely NOT out of the woods by a long shot but I feel like I can do something with these kids.
     
  9. lajoers3

    lajoers3 Comrade

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    Feb 8, 2007

    I have to say, I read those links and there is some wonderful ideas. I have printed pages off and hopefully tomorrow it will prove to be effective. Thanks ThinkOutLoud!
     
  10. synapse

    synapse Comrade

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    Feb 8, 2007

    Again, I have to ask about your instruction. Primarily because of my belief that excellent instruction is the basis of excellent classroom management. I wonder what you are teaching and how you are teaching it.
     
  11. lajoers3

    lajoers3 Comrade

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    Feb 9, 2007

    Synapse - just as an example.
    The topic they are learning about is Antartica so their literature studies and HSIE units are based around this as well as elements of other subjects. We have been for example making flags of Antarctica. First we talked about the Australian flag, what it is made up of, the colours, symbols and what it represents. We then went on to talk about the types of symbols and colours that could go into representing Antarctica in an Antarctican flag. This was actually a CAPA lesson but obviously incorporating the HSIE theme.
     
  12. synapse

    synapse Comrade

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    Feb 9, 2007

    Sorry, I don't know what HSIE and CAPA are, but my point is about making instruction meaningful, developmentally appropriate and engaging. Discussion is excellent, but then what? How can (or do) you get the students engaged in activity that is relevant and fun? Probably the biggest challenge at this developmental level, and older, is helping them understand lesson relevancy. Also, during and between lessons, reduce (with the goal of eliminating) down time. Keep them continuously engaged. That means planning and executing clear transitions between activities. No down time....no problems (well, many fewer problems).
     
  13. NewAustinTeach

    NewAustinTeach Rookie

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    Feb 9, 2007

    Lajoer,
    My heart goes out to you! I just started a new job teaching first grade and I know how you feel! I disagree that your instruction is the problem. Fun is next to impossible to do when you have kids that are out of control. My question would be what is your discipline plan? How many times are children redirected before you actually do something? Aside from positive reinforcement you also have to be prepared to show them that you are SERIOUS about what is acceptable in your classroom.
     
  14. synapse

    synapse Comrade

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    Feb 10, 2007

    Please, I did not say that instruction was the "problem," and you misunderstand if you think I implied that it is simply about fun. There are no simple fixes to classrooms where behavior has become the focus. However, good classroom management begins with solid instructional planning and excellent lesson delivery. Clearly, it is the primary reason for the teacher and students to be together. The more students are engaged in meaningful and appropriate instruction the less they are engaged in activities that you find counterproductive. Sure a good management plan is necessary, but it is meaningless without solid instructional practice.
     
  15. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Feb 10, 2007


    That's a really good point. Even a great class will tend to get chatty during transitions. See if you can come up with some routines to minimize the transitions. For example, homework goes into your "in" box as they enter the classroom, so you don't have to have them pass up the homework (and open the door for some chattiness.)

    Transitions are a killer. That's a concrete area that will probably give you improvement in class behavior.
     
  16. lajoers3

    lajoers3 Comrade

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    Feb 10, 2007

    HSIE = Human Society & It's Environment
    CAPA = Creative & Practical Arts
     
  17. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    To every educational environment, its own acronyms...
     
  18. lajoers3

    lajoers3 Comrade

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    Feb 12, 2007

    I lost my job :)
     
  19. Lesley

    Lesley Habitué

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    Feb 12, 2007

    I am so sorry!
     
  20. runsw/scissors

    runsw/scissors Phenom

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    Feb 13, 2007

    Oh no!
     
  21. mhcooley

    mhcooley Companion

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    Feb 13, 2007

    I just started reading this post. What happened?????
     
  22. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Feb 13, 2007

    I'm so sorry!!
     
  23. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    Oh, that is terrible. So sorry.
     
  24. lajoers3

    lajoers3 Comrade

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    Feb 14, 2007

    I was 'let go' from my job because of my classroom management and the fact that not being able to control the children meant that solid consistent learning was not taking place within the classroom.
    I do not argue with the reasons behind my termination but I do wish that they had given me greater support and more opportunity to improve in the area of classroom management. The union said that it was completely inappropriate that so early in the school year (2 weeks in) I be reprimanded and that they should be supporting me with a class which was known to have had difficulties from the outset (some of these kids have been troublesome since year 3). Unfortunately though my contract allows for them or me to give just two weeks notice (or in their case they paid me 2weeks pay in lieu of notice) within the first 6months of my employment. I do have options with regards to filing a complaint with industrial relations and the union but I would not accept being reinstated at the school anyway. I mean, I wouldn't be able to return to the school with any sort of dignity because all the parents would know and all the other staff so I couldn't do it.
     
  25. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    My sympathy, lajoers3. This is a very hard place to be.
     
  26. worrywart

    worrywart Companion

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    Feb 14, 2007

    Well, it sure doesn't sound like they gave you any support or much of a chance. I'm sorry that you are having to deal with this.
     
  27. synapse

    synapse Comrade

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    Feb 14, 2007

    I know this won't be a popular perspective, given the responses so far, but maybe the classroom is just not the place for you. Clearly I know nothing about you or your situation. I raise this simply because this is a place for discussion and because I have not yet seen this perspective presented. I mean the OP no disrespect.

    I do know that over the years I've encountered many pre-service teachers who realize they are simply not meant to be classroom teachers. Furthermore, sympathizing is one thing, but I find it difficult to criticize an administration without knowing much of anything about the situation.
     
  28. lajoers3

    lajoers3 Comrade

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    Feb 14, 2007

    Synapse, that is a fair enough question although after two weeks I don't think anyone can say they are just not ever going to be a great teacher. And also, i'm not a preservice teacher. I've been working since 2000 but with only a year of fulltime teaching at an independent school. I believe I have the potential to be an awesome teacher and I feel that they completely overlooked that. I don't think that calling someone in and saying 'we need to fix this' and then giving them 3 teaching days to fix it is enough. Just a question though - why can't you criticise an administration but you've just made judgment on me. You obviously don't know much about me either???
     
  29. synapse

    synapse Comrade

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    Feb 14, 2007

    As I stated, no disrespect intended. We are on a discussion forum. My post was for that purpose. If you read my post carefully, you will see that I did not make a judgement about you. I raised a question and shared some of my experience. The intention was to provoke discussion and present an alternate perspective.

    Personally speaking, I do wish you the best.
     
  30. Madrone

    Madrone Rookie

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    Feb 14, 2007

    My sympathies!

    lajoers3 -

    This is my first year and I can totally relate to the management issues. As a career-changer without a degree in education, neither my management nor my lessons have been particularly stellar. I am totally surprised that your administration wasn't more supportive - obviously I wasn't there, but from what you've shared it seems your were cut loose with very little opportunity to correct things.

    Makes me wonder if they don't already have your replacement in mind.

    A note to synapse -

    Your attitude confuses me. My district heralds Harry Wong as something akin to the Second Coming and his main theory is that if you teach procedure and have management in place, you'll be able to have instruction whether it is solid or not. Of course is it always best to have students engaged and interested, but between 7th and 10th grade that's a little challenging.

    I would LOVE someone to tell me specifically what solid instructional practice is and how to engage 9th graders who have said they have no intention of doing anything but disrupting my class and can prove that point by telling me how many times they've been through the 9th grade. My state says that, because I have a master's in field, though not in education, that all I have to do is pass my subject test. But when I started in August I had not the first clue about how to teach Romeo and Juliet or main idea - I hadn't thought about either in 15 years or more.

    From my perspective I have to have management before I can develop my instruction. There are many, many theories about this chicken and the egg scenario, but I'm inclined to think management comes first. If not, how do new teachers ever become veteran teachers? How do we get past survival and into engagement?
     
  31. synapse

    synapse Comrade

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    Feb 14, 2007

    I firmly believe that good classroom management begins with solid instructional practice. I disagree that you can have good classroom management without it...or that you should somehow manage your class first and then develop into a good instructor later.

    Solid instructional practice means understanding the developmental and academic need of your students, understanding the curriculum and then developing engaging, relevant, interactive experiences that support students as they learn new material. It means having solid plans and clearly communicating those plans to your students. It means creating procedures to accomplish that instruction that attempts to eliminate down time, or time when students are not engaged. Furthermore, it means developing relationships with your students so that you can support them as they learn and grow in your classroom.

    Classroom management and instruction are not separate entities. It is not a chicken and egg argument. They are developed simultaneously.

    Novice teachers become veterans by coming back year after year. That doesn't mean they are good. Not all veteran teachers are good teachers. Outstanding teachers have a few things in common. One characteristic is that they are able to objectively reflect on the experiences they have and consistently make changes in the service of their students. Reflective practice is how you get past simply surviving.
     
  32. Madrone

    Madrone Rookie

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    Feb 15, 2007


    I would agree with this completely. It is a process that takes time, however, and a couple of weeks will not do the trick. From what I've been told by just about ever teacher I've asked, you should give teaching two, maybe three years to get a feel for whether you will stay. It takes that long to really reflect and assimilate and become what you need to be in order to be successful. And every time you change schools or grades or subjects, the process gets set back a few steps. It can take years to be great or good or even decent all the time.

    Which is why it seemed to me that the OP hadn't been given the time to really solve the problem. Obviously she couldn't post everything that happened, but from what she said her assignment was new, mid-year and an already-established chaos. In her situation I would have wanted a little more time to fix the problem.

    Thank you for clarifying what you meant. Maybe I have some hope of being outstanding after all.
     
  33. lajoers3

    lajoers3 Comrade

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    Feb 15, 2007

    Madrone - just wanted to add that whilst the kids in the class were already troublesome in previous years and I was new at the school, I did not take over mid year. The end of January is the start of the school year in Australia so we are only in week 3 at the moment (with week 1 having started for the kids midweek on week 1). I agree with you though, that I think it must take some time to get adjusted to teaching and to becoming a great teacher. I'm sure you have more than just some hope of being outstanding.
     
  34. lajoers3

    lajoers3 Comrade

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    I just sent an email to the corporation with a cc to the headmaster of my school. I outlined all the reasons why I felt that my dismissal was unfair including the fact that I had seen and my headmaster also commented on the improvements made in the classroom, only then to terminate my position. Not doing it because I expect my job back, nor would i want it I guess since everyone would know what happened, but I do want them to know that I don't see this as acceptable and because I do think that the corporation should be aware.
     
  35. Lesley

    Lesley Habitué

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    Have you talked with industrial relations and the union about what happened? I can understand not wanting to return to that building, I would not want to either, but is there another building you could be placed...I think, if you have not, at least talk with someone to see what options there are and go to them face to face, taking any papers from the principal stating why you were 'let go' and take notes. They might have some insight into what to do next.
     
  36. lajoers3

    lajoers3 Comrade

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    Yes, Lesley, I did and because of new laws I don't have anything to argue unfair dismissal because you can be dismissed for any or no reason within the first 6months. The only thing I can do is to put my case forward to the school and/or corporation. I'm not sure if the corporation could put me in another of their schools. If so that would be a possibility i'd consider. But still, there is no obligation for them to give me such an offer.
     
  37. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    lajoers3, what do you want to see happen now? I'm not asking what you think will happen; I'm asking what you want.
     
  38. Lesley

    Lesley Habitué

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    My district's administration has the option of 'termination at will' w/o blinking an eye, YET if a staff member wants to leave mid year/term the ramifications to their career are endless.
     
  39. lajoers3

    lajoers3 Comrade

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    Feb 15, 2007

    It would be nice if I could get a job at another school - whether within the same corporation or not. I'm concerned they have ruined my chances though. I mean, how bad does it look to say you lost your job after 9 days teaching.
     
  40. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    I suppose that depends on what you do to recover.
     
  41. MissFrizzle

    MissFrizzle Virtuoso

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    Feb 15, 2007

    I am so sorry for this unfortunate turn of events. I think you can recover, but, it's like falling off a bicycle..... if you don't get right back on, you may never do it. So, feel bad for awhile, but then put things in perspective..... I'm sure there are many first time teachers out there who have not had the best experiences, but are now teaching again.

    Feel better. Don't let this keep you from teaching. Try and try again.
     

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