Help: Teacher out due to stress, no lesson plans

Discussion in 'General Education' started by JediLeyli, Sep 28, 2015.

  1. JediLeyli

    JediLeyli Rookie

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    Sep 28, 2015

    Let me start out by saying that I do not have a teaching license yet. I was an English Lit. major in college with a minor in World History. I'm not terrific in Science and I'm awful at teaching math!

    I was asked to take a three week long sub position for a fifth grade math/science class in an inner city. I explained to the principal that I'm not the best at science or math and I've never subbed before but she didn't seem to have an issue with it (now I think it's just because she couldn't find anyone else to agree to take it). Many of these kids live in hotels, are in foster care, have IEPs, etc. Two of them do not speak a word of English and I do not know Spanish (they are NOT pulled out and no one comes in to assist them). The teacher that is normally in the class is out due to stress...that's how badly these children behave.

    I have two sections. On Friday, between both, I sent 15 kids to the office because they were swearing, throwing things, fighting, wouldn't sit after repeated warnings to do so, etc. Today I only had to send out two (one called my helper gay, the other called another child a faggot). I was given a helper today who was removed half-way through the day for putting her hands on a student (I didn't realize she did this until later...the student got mad and flipped his desk, went to the office, and told them what she had done).

    I could deal with all of this except....I have no lesson plans! The teacher was only contractually obligated to leave plans for a week and that week is up. I have no idea what to do....I can't go through the book and just do pages in math because they are all on such different levels that it would be impossible. They don't have Science books, just some National Geographic magazines. Today I taught them exponents and we actually made it through the class but my ability to teach them this crap is basically nil.

    The principal was more concerned over the fact that I told the kids that they could chew gum than that they were not learning anything.

    What the heck should I do!?
     
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  3. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Sep 28, 2015

    Yikes.

    For science, you can use CK-12 online textbooks. You probably don't have computers, but you can print them off and copy them for the students. They also have math texts at different levels, if that would be helpful for you.

    Some of the books come with activities, though not many so you may have to find a lot of your own activities.

    During math, I would break them into higher and lower groups. Have your helper help with the high-level students, while you work with the low level students in small groups on specific problems, maybe using whiteboards.

    I don't know how much of a help this is, but I hope it works out.
     
  4. Missy

    Missy Aficionado

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    Sep 28, 2015

    Sorry for this!

    Teachers Pay Teachers website has a lot of free and inexpensive units and lessons that could help you get through.
     
  5. apple10

    apple10 New Member

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    Oct 5, 2015

    The principal was more concerned over the fact that I told the kids that they could chew gum than that they were not learning anything.

    Glad the principal has their priorities in order.
     
  6. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

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    Oct 5, 2015

    Here's the CT science curriculum outline (learning expectations) - 2010 PK-8 Science Curriculum Standards and Assessment Expectations: http://www.sde.ct.gov/sde/cwp/view.asp?a=2618&q=320890

    Use that to guide your science lessons. Engage them as much as possible and they will probably do a better job. Try to aim for a few mini activities as compared to one long lesson. For example, I'm teaching my 5th graders about ecosystems - I have them reading a bit (and answer questions), watching videos and answer questions, matching cards and writing about interactions, creating diagrams, etc - all at their own pace. They really like it.
     
  7. DigitalDiva25

    DigitalDiva25 Companion

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    Oct 6, 2015

    As far as behavior goes, tell them you will bring the Xbox on Friday and whoever has good behavior and does the work gets to play games by the end of the week.
     
  8. Obadiah

    Obadiah Groupie

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    Oct 6, 2015

    Wow! This whole school sounds like it's in quite a mess! It's not you, it's the school and the students. It doesn't sound like the principal even has a handle on things, but it sounds like you are putting forth a best effort. There's only so much a person can do. We are not Mary Poppins; we're just teachers. (And frankly, there's only so much a principal can do).

    Perhaps looking at the situation from a 10-year-old's perspective will help. They are at an age where they appreciate a teacher's concern and assistance. Friendship among their peers is also very important. Their brain is performing at high speed, still, although they are reaching the age of a temporary slow down. Their curiosity is at its peak performance.

    However, some of these students might be experiencing seriously detrimental lifestyles. Some might have family structures that do not attend to their emotional or psychological growth; (not that living in a hotel or foster care will do that, but frankly, sometime parents today are just as immature as their kids! And some only view their children as an extra burden in their life, not as a special responsibility). They have learned survival skills (that are immature and are not effective) such as "pushing a teacher's buttons", fighting, using inappropriate language that they hear as commonplace at home, in the movies, and on TV (I don't mean to disrespect various choices of language, but they have not learned to alter their speech in other social settings); solving problems by escalating the situation with yelling then fighting, which they also might experience at home and in the media; (again, I don't mean to write disrespectfully of all such media, but they are exposed to it without being exposed to alternatives rather than imitating it); some of them might have experienced murder (in my career, I've known of 3 students in other classrooms who have), sexual assault, drug use including parents who give them drugs/alcohol; and the list can go on. They are currently dealing with a teacher who left due to stress caused by themselves. (I'm writing the worst possible scenario--your classroom students might be somewhat better off than this, but this is what many students today experience).

    You are so brave at trying to resolve this situation, and if anyone can do it, you can. It takes a teacher who does not come in satisfied with the way things already are day to day. I would recommend reaching out to them as one would any normal 10 year old, discussing the appropriate rules and consequences, being consistent even when they push the buttons, being firm but always polite and respectful, showing appreciation for who they are. I wouldn't worry about hitting the outcomes/objectives in math and science; apparently no one's gotten that far, yet, with them. I would find (as mentioned above) interesting plans on the internet, and adjust them to something you know you and they can handle.

    Never let them get to you. Some of them are experts (it's how they survive) at embarrassing teachers or getting teachers to lose their patience. (There are literally cartoons that show students how to do this!!!) When it happens, be firm, but stay calm as if it didn't effect you; after all, they're just kids and students, not your own peers. I would also be on guard to not put yourself in any situations where a student could say things about you, although untrue, such as the aide who (possibly innocently and unintentionally) touched a student. (It's always wise to avoid being alone in a room with a student, also).

    When possible, find ways to reach out to individual students, the same way you'd react in any social setting. Complement their ideas, smile when they enter the classroom, ask questions to show interest when they tell you about something they've been doing. Expect that a student will behave, even if s/he's been horrible all week. You are always anticipating that s/he will behave next time, and possibly discussing alternative behaviors and always noticing when the student does do what is expected the next time.

    But again, don't beat yourself up when things go wrong; they will. They are the ones who are misbehaving, not you! You are possibly doing more than any of the other teachers in the school.
     

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