help-classroom management

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by Miticageta21, Oct 26, 2012.

  1. Miticageta21

    Miticageta21 Rookie

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    Oct 26, 2012

    I am a relatively new teacher(second year of teaching). I have created a much more positive relationship(compared to last year) with 3 out of 5 of the classes that I teach this year. I have some younger students giving me a little bit of silly attitudes that I kind of ignored ir treated with calm so far.
    However, I have a class withmostly seniors and some juniors(all boys) that I simply don't enjoy so much as my other classes. They are extremly quiet..it is almost like I am teaching to the wall. I teach the same way I teach my other classes( mini lectures, allowing students to ask lots of questions, lots of group work). All my otehr students in other classes are cooperative and very engaged. This one class that I want to ask advise about is, as I said very quiet, I barely have one or two students who participate, ask questions, answer my questions. When I lecture, I do scafolding, which works woth everybody else, but these kids act like they don't want to be there at all. So, today I tried to explain to them that I need some feedback from them, I need them to talk and I ask them if they have a reason not to talk to me. They again didn't say absoltely anything. After a couple of moments, tehy started lokng at eachotehr and they started laughing. I asked them why they laugh and they would not talk...not say a word. Partcularly two of the students would keep making faces and laughing at each other after we started moving to some group work and I asked them to stay after class. I explained to them that making faces andlaughing behind me is something that I don't tolerate. I was very calm and nice when I explained this to them. I told them I don't want to see this hapenning again. they said they didn't mean to offend me, but even as they were saying this, tehy were laughing at each other. They left my room and I heard some real loud laughters(I don't know if coming from them or other students from teh same class that were probabily waiting oustide). Anyway, one of these students that I talked to, he was having this "arrogant smile before also". He said that he just likes to laugh a lot:). I am not sure how to react to all this. It affected me and I just didn't find it respectful. I am froma different country teaching in US and I was told at the beginning of this school year that when students roll their eyes and make faces s kind of normal in American culture. I ahve been nothing but very nice with my students, trying to gain their respect and most of them do respect me and I don't have big behavioral problems. But I really need advice to how to react to this situation with this class. In general I am not sure what is considered normal around here and what is not..
     
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  3. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Oct 26, 2012

    I'm not sure where you're from, but I do feel that students here are generally not as respectful as they are in Europe. Back in the day we would have to stand up when the teacher entered the classroom (as if he were a judge), and any time we addressed a teacher, we had to stand up. We would never even think about talking back.

    so here, they're kinda laidback and get away with a lot compared to what I was used to. But making faces and rolling eyes are not normal, that is disrespectful and shouldn't be tolerated.
     
  4. Accountable

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    Oct 27, 2012

    Do they participate in the group work?
     
  5. GTB4GT

    GTB4GT Cohort

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    Like you, I am in my second year and I have the same issue with one of my classes (out of 6). No effort, little participation, behavorial issues, etc.Furthermore, their grades are significantly lower than the other classes. Class is all juniors and 2/3 male students.

    I have tried having dialogue with them to improve the classroom environment with little or no effect.They see their class averages vs. the rest of the classes. I have come to the conclusion that there are unique dynamics in each class. This one class doesn't work for reasons I cannot figure and the students can't or won't articulate.

    If most or all of my classes were like this, I would question my abilities and strategies. However this class is the outlier and I have data (grades and observations) to back this up.

    One concrete suggestion: seek out a mentor. Last year I had a respected teacher who had retired from our school come in and observe my classes on a very frequent basis (he would observe for about 2 periods almost every week).That was a great way for me to get honest feedback. He was there frequently enough to have a real insight into the classroom and my teaching/management strengths and weaknesses.

    My P stops by occasionally as well in all the classes in our school, but she is in there for 5-10 minutes before leaving. Plus the kids tend to act a bit differently during her brief observations, especially the lower level students. Good luck. A class like this is not very much fun for either student or teacher.
     
  6. Miticageta21

    Miticageta21 Rookie

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    the majority of them participate in group work.But when I introduce new material, I want them to answer my questions like "Are with me so far?" "Does this make sense?" "Did you understand this example?" or simple questions related to the material I am teaching ,they simply do not say a word...it is very unusual. For this class, I feel like I am teaching and they don't want to be there. Their class average is a little lower than the other classes. I can see some confusion on some of their faces.."I am so confused" kind of face...and I repeat the explanations everytime I see them confused. I don't know if they got t the second or the third time, because they don
    't say a word. Then when I see them working n group or individually, they do well...they seem like they got it, but I am sure they don't get absoultely everything...since they never ask a single question. It feels very weird. It feels like they don't like me and they want to show me this through their body language. If I write them up, tehy will probably tell teh disciplinarian the same thing they told me(when I asked those two students yesterady after school) "we just like to laugh a lot, it is not offensive...we don't know what you mean..I don't reall being offensive." that was their answer...if the disciplinarian comes in my room, I am sure they will not do this to me.or they will probabily say " we jst don't understand her teaching, or her accent." becausethis is their favorite excuse. I have to tell you that my English is not bad at all for a second language. I studied English since I was 6. I have a very slight accent.
     
  7. Miticageta21

    Miticageta21 Rookie

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    The disciplinarian and the principal used to stop more often last year, my mentor is teaching at the same time I teach that class. The principal stopped one time this year and it seemed like he wanted to embarass me. I was lucky that was my honors class and I ahve a good relatioship with them. They were great before and after the principal tried to make me look bad, for some weird reason. Later I talked to him and he apologized. Anyway, that's a diferent story. My most reliable person is the head of the department. She knows her material very well, she is a little laidback as far as classroom management goes, but she is taeching all honors...and that's different
     
  8. Miticageta21

    Miticageta21 Rookie

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    Oct 27, 2012

    I am sure the chair of the departmnet would observe me if I really wanted her to, but the kids will definately begahev diferently when she is there. They know how to manipulate the system very well...I don't know how it is at other schools, but here they get away with many things, because they pay to be here and they and the parents think the are entitled to good gardes and special treatment. however, they usually don't misbehave..like I have never hear of a fight, drugs, anything like that...but they also cover up a lt of stories to make the school look good.the students do not usually talk back so much. that's the problem that I see with this class, thy rather show me a disrepsctful body language, they know that if they say something disrespecftul, I can write them up
     
  9. paperlabs

    paperlabs Rookie

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    Sounds like a social genius controlling things from behind the scenes. I would say that the kid that spoke up was trying to show allegiance. When one day the manipulator is absent, I think students will behave differently. Once you discover who it is, then you can work on a way to get his/her support.
     
  10. Miticageta21

    Miticageta21 Rookie

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    None of the students spoke up. I pulled two of them out to stay after class to tell them that I don't tolerate making facs and laughing behind me. I pulled those two kids because those two are the ones who do this more often and they seem to start all this. I am even thinking to move them away from each other and somewhre in the back, so I can focus on the others who at least don't laugh behind me. They are all quiet, but not all of them laugh and make faces. I don't know if moving them will help, because they will probabily do more now that they know I don't like this. Writing them up might not be the best solution either. ..still not sure what to do..
     
  11. Accountable

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    I agree with paperlabs. You have an informal leader who is sabotaging you. Take your top few suspects' schedules and talk with a couple of their other teachers. You will probably get some tips on how to handle them.
     
  12. Miticageta21

    Miticageta21 Rookie

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    Do you think that the students who are laughing are behind all this(the two that I pulled out)? From your experience, could it be someone else who stays quiet?

    either way, what do you guys think about "ignoring them" strategy? Maybe smile at them when I see they make faces. Do you think that would stop them in time, if they see it doesn't get to me. If I go in there and just focus on the students who seem to have a positive attitude, teach as I teach in my other classes. Maybe the lectures will be just leactures, with no questions during the explanations. Ask them if the have questions, and move on if they don't. Then allow them to work in groups or pairs. Meanwhile, I will talk to the chair of my department and see what she thinks. I am not sure if other teachers will help. Their help usually involves lecturing the student in question. That wasn't efefctive last year, when I asked some coaches to talk to some of my students who were kind of doing the same thing as these ones., execpt they were also talking back all the time. It was usually related to the material I am teaching. I know my material very well but they don't like to be pushed, to be challeneged. i don't allow them to do anything else but work in my class and I think that this class doesn't like this and yesterday they didn't wanna do anything especially because it was Friday last class..
     
  13. Accountable

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    I have no way of knowing for sure who the leader is. I'd assumed that you'd tried ignoring them and the result is frustrating you. When I suggested you talk to other teachers, it was to gain information on the boys, not enlist the other teachers to do anything (that often backfires & makes you look weak).

    You say you know your material. Do you like your material? Does it show? A teacher's enthusiasm for a subject can often override resistance.
     
  14. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    You could ignore it, but don't smile. Smiling can send mixed message if used the wrong way. They're doing something wrong (making faces, rolling their eyes) and you're smiling at them sends the message that you find it funny, you enjoy it, or at the least it's ok. If someone called you a name, you wouldn't smile. Making a face is also wrong and disrespectful, but it's much less severe.

    I would ignore it, so they see it doesn't get to me. But I would also keep note of who's doing it. So for example if you have a girl who's making faces, but is also disruptive, and does other things where you feel that you need to write her up, you can also include this behavior: "disrespectful to teacher, making faces and rolling eyes on several occasion"
    I've seen teachers making a big deal about making faces and it never went over well (it ended up being an argument). But when it was tacked onto the other offenses, it helped paint the picture of the intentions of the student.
     
  15. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    There is always at least one leader. The leader may be the one that is the loudest, it also may be a quiet one, who's behind the scenes, manipulates everyone else to act up, he's enjoying it (and his power over all the classroom disruption and the teacher's frustration), but he stays out of trouble.
     
  16. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    I highly suggest getting the book Tools For Teaching by Fred Jones. It shows the body language in the United States that is helpful to use with students, and just about anything you want to know to help with classroom management.

    I would say that it would be best not to act shocked by the student's misbehavior, but I would suggest not tolerating any of it. I don't allow students to roll their eyes at me. Just because lots of Americans do things, doesn't make it right. Many Americans curse and nearly all teachers ban that behavior in a classroom.

    I think it is good that you talked to the students about the behavior you didn't like. If they do it again, then you need to make sure there is a consequence--even if it is just contacting the parents.

    With calling on students, I call on them at random so that all will participate. There is a free program called "The Hat" that you can download which randomizes names for you. It is very simple to use. Otherwise put names on popsicle sticks and randomly choose them.

    Good luck to you.
     
  17. ciounoi

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    This.

    Also, I have had some success sitting students down and telling them that the behavior wasn't appropriate because I felt that they were being disrespectful and/or it seemed like they were trying to make fun of me. When they say "but we're just teasing" or "we don't really mean it!" or "it's not hurting anybody", I mention that although they don't think there's a problem, it does, indeed, hurt my feelings and seem disrespectful. Perception is everything! I would say that such faces/laughter count as disrespect towards the teacher from now on, and consequences will be given accordingly.

    I had a related issue with my MS emotional support class. I did ignore the issue for a while and sometimes even laughed at it (which looking back was a big no-no, but hey, I'm always laughing!). After a while, however, I did what I described above. The behavior didn't stop completely, but there was much less of it, and if it came back, I just gave them the pre-determined consequence and tried not to think too much more into it. :)
     
  18. TeacherTori

    TeacherTori Rookie

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    Since it looks like the biggest issue from the class is not participating in discussions I find creative ways to get participation. Maybe having the whole class give a thumbs up or down if they get it or need more help. Also calling on random students may work well if you feel all the students have a pretty good grasp on the subject and no one will get overly embarrassed to be called on. I think a big thing is to not let the face makers, laughers get to you. If they are trying to upset you they are getting what they want each time you get frustrated if they are after attention they are getting that too. I would ignore them as much as possible. Only addressing it when it gets disrespectful.
     
  19. Loomistrout

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    Oct 28, 2012

    The reward for a student goofing off is often recognition from peers - in this case laughing. Recognition or playing to the crowd is a powerful reinforcer for which ignoring will not likely counteract the pleasure of receiving snickers and giggles. Ignoring says to the student, "I see what you are doing and I hope it goes away, but if you choose to continue go ahead as I'm not going to do anything about it." If I was a student bent on disrupting and worst thing that can happen is the teacher walking away I would be rubbing my hands together, "All right!"

    If you have a copy of Tools For Teaching go to section Limit Setting - Dealing With Hecklers From Behind. The concern, dealing with one student when, at the same time, his/her buddies start ganging up on you is addressed.
     
  20. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    Exactly!!!:thumb::thumb:
     
  21. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    What works me most of the time is this: taking notes of student behavior. I have a seating chart, so all I have to do is make a mark, which I always call The Dot. (because I put a dot next to their name.) they know that if there are 3 dots, they can be sent out or at least written up. So this way I ignore their behavior, as in not reacting, giving them attention, stopping instruction, etc, but I'm not ignoring it and they know there will be a consequence coming.

    Most of the time I do not have to write them up, because after 1 or 2 'dots' they get it together. This is great because you can document the smallest issues (shout out an answer, laughing)

    It's funny that I haven't called it The Dot for a long time, but they remember. For 2 weeks I'm subbing for a sped. teacher who is a second teacher in the classroom. All I can do is help with classroom management. (the teacher wants to teach it all). So I just sit at the desk, stare at them, and take notes. One student was watching me, and then whispered to the misbehaving student across the row: "you got a dot!" :)
     
  22. Miticageta21

    Miticageta21 Rookie

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    I love my subject! I am enthusiastic about it, but when they show they don;t care, I feel like I am not teaching students, but talking to myself. It is ridiculous..
     
  23. Miticageta21

    Miticageta21 Rookie

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    I call on them...all the time and they respond in a way that "I don't wanna talk,,leave me alone" one time: I had a student who told me the right answer and when I asked him to pls exaplin the method he used, he made a big deal out of it: "Can I pass, I just guessed the answer, I don't know how to explain it." and everybody laughed...and then nobody else "got the right answer."..even if they did...because they knew I was gonna make them explain their reasoning and they didn't want to talk. I am again saying: this is only hapening in this class, the otehrs are very much fun to teach.
     
  24. Accountable

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    I know what you mean. I hope you find a resolution.
     
  25. Miticageta21

    Miticageta21 Rookie

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    One of my co-workers told me today that he would be mean to that group of students, move the two ones sho want attention in the back and focus on the others who don't make faces/
     
  26. Miticageta21

    Miticageta21 Rookie

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    don;t know if that's best...it doesn't sound like a solution
     
  27. 2ndTimeAround

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    I think you're worrying about them more than they are. And you're working harder than they are.

    You might have to consider this class to be a different prep. If they don't give you feedback, don't sweat it. If it becomes too exhausting presenting the material while they just sit and stare, then put more of the instruction on them. Give them bookwork, stop asking if they are following you and do your own thing.

    They'll either thrive or they'll flounder. Then you can go from there.

    What you're doing now isn't working. Since they are being jerks, it is actually counterproductive.
     
  28. GTB4GT

    GTB4GT Cohort

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    this is excellent advice. Spend your time and energy where it's wanted and needed. Focus your attention on the ones who want to learn and you will save yourself from wasting your precious time.
     
  29. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    If you have a quiet class, it may be because of the time (early morning classes tend to be low energy), or it may be because of the prevailing attitude in the class.

    For instance, I have a class that was very similar because it was full of high-level students who felt that my jokes weren't that funny, and they just wanted to be there to get the information they needed, make the grade, and go.

    I didn't really mind it all that much, because I could always count on them to be on point. Now that it's later in the year a lot of them are laughing at my jokes, and there is more energy in the room now that they are used to me.

    I would say if a class is giving you the wall, don't fret, just teach them. If they are giving you the wall, and not working, be proactive, and walk around the room and ensure that they are getting their work done, reminding them to stay on task, etc.

    If they are laughing at you, they are NOT respecting you. A student saying he "just laughs a lot" is not an acceptable excuse.

    When students laugh at you give them a stoic quiet look until they stop. If it continues, you may need to provide discipline. Don't attempt to plead for cooperation from them anymore. They will see this as a weakness, and they find it amusing that you're getting desperate for feedback.
     
  30. Miticageta21

    Miticageta21 Rookie

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    Today, I was calling on them to go to the board and nobody said "no." It was quiet in class but they all went to the board and worked out problems. I also called on them to tell me the HW answers. Some of them who were absent last time+another one who was in class last time tried to get attention again, by being a little arogant and he didn't get the attention, nobody laughed. I gave him "the look" and he stopped immediately. They all noticed that I am not joking. If I see anybody making faces, I will write them up. Today I send two students to an after school time because they didn't do their HW.
     
  31. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Oct 30, 2012

    To me, it sounds like you don't have anything to worry about. :)
     
  32. Accountable

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    Good job. :clap:
     
  33. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    Sounds like things are getting better for you.

    Calling on a student for an answer and getting them to explain it out loud is another thing. At the age you are dealing with, I would probably have them explain their answers in a math journal/notebook instead of requiring them to explain them to the class.
     
  34. Miticageta21

    Miticageta21 Rookie

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    It is true, but all my other studenta are willing to talk loud. I make them speak at the board, because I feel like while they are explaining things, they get it better and they even discover their own mistakes. But I guess this class sees "thinking alou as torture. at least they went to the board.
     

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