Help!!!!!!!!!!

Discussion in 'New Teachers Archives' started by mandy1221, Jan 4, 2003.

  1. mandy1221

    mandy1221 Rookie

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    Jan 4, 2003

    Hey all! I really need some help. I am just getting ready to go back to school after a much needed holiday break. My stress level is already going up. For the past three nights I have not slept because of nightmares of going back.
    I think I can really love to teach...but that is not the case at all right now. I am at the point where I am about to leave because I am not at all a healthy person (I have lost 20lbs since starting, I am stressed beyond belief, and I don't think I have slept soundly since August)
    I feel like my kids don't listen to me at all. I try to line them up to go to specials and it takes me 5 minutes for them to quiet down. They are a bunch of chit chatters and I feel like I am not getting any work done because I am constantly trying to quiet them down. I have been losing my patience with them and they can see it. I really don't want to be an unhappy teacher...someone please give me some much needed advise. I would really appreciate it.
     
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  3. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Jan 4, 2003

    Been there

    Sorry to hear things are so rough right now. Since it's a new year and the kids will be coming back too, you might want to look at your discipline system. Make sure the rules and consequences are posted and are understood. Then and this is most important, be really really tough on them. It's much easier to start out hard and then get easier then vice versa. Be very consistent with the rules and enforce the cons. By the way what grade do you teach?
    One thing that helped me in lining up was I had them do it in alphabetical order (I've also done it in another order). This keeps the fighting down over who was here first. Be sure and praise the ones who are following the rules often. Whatever you do, don't lose your cool. Some kids want to see you do that. I've even set a timer before and if it takes them over a minute to get in line, that's how much time they lose in specials or recess. Then just wait until everyone is quiet and looking at you. If you don't have a quiet signal or gesture, I suggest you start one. Mine has always been give me five. When my hand goes up so do theirs. Good luck.
     
  4. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    Jan 4, 2003

    It sounds a bit like you have been forced into a situation where you are not sure that you are the one in control. That is an awful feeling to have when you are in front of umpteen little ones. You must somehow reassure yourself that you are the one in charge. Even when you don't get the response you hope for, you are still in charge. Here are a few things to try - hope they help!

    When you want their attention, quietly say, "clap once if you can hear me" then clap your hands (maybe nobody will join you this time). Then say "clap twice if you can hear me" and clap twice. Continue doing this until all have clapped with you. Don't doubt yourself - it will happen. The last time, when you have quiet and their attention, you can say "clap once if __________ ... this could be, "you are ready to walk to music" or "you are ready to go to lunch." Sometimes I get really specific and say, "clap once if you are seated with your book open to page __" They will realize that the responsibility to achieve order is theirs, not yours.

    If I feel that the class is not paying attention while I am teaching, I simply stop and say quietly, "I will wait until you are ready" - this works for my situation, but may not for all. But it is useful because it is non-confrontational.

    Use whatever rewards you find helpful and occasionally walk to someone and silently reward them - perhaps whispering, "I like how you are working quietly" or something. Don't let them know when you are going to do this. You can also place a note in each clean desk letting the students know they have 'won' something. If they don't cooperate for group work, simply state that they are not ready for group work and must work individually, silently. Keep your standards high.

    Don't ever try and compete with the kids - don't yell, coerce, threaten, lecture, etc. To be in control - you must be in control. Sounds simple, but it isn't. Always use natural consequences. If they take 5 minutes to line up appropriately, then that is 5 minutes less time they have for a special, or lunch, etc. When they do get ready for something quickly, merely note out loud something like "I bet you will appreciate having a few extra minutes to play" or "how nice that you can enjoy your full PE class today"... etc. Again, their responsibility, their consequence.

    I never let kids talk when I am speaking, or play in their desks, etc. I provide them plenty of opportunities for movement, expression, fun, but expect them to work hard, pay complete attention, respect me and each other.
     
  5. 3rdgradeteacher

    3rdgradeteacher Rookie

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    Jan 4, 2003

    Mandy-
    Don't give up! My second year teaching was a very difficult year for me. There was a teacher on my staff who sort of took me under her wing. She was pretty much there for moral support. Is there a more veteran teacher on your team that you could ask to mentor you? Also, I took one of the Lee Canter Assertive Discipline courses- the ones that are on video tape that you can do at home. There wasn't anything in those tapes that I didn't already know, but somehow it motivated me to keep going. There are some other courses through his website that are quite motivating.

    Be sure that your discipline plan is clear and consistent. I find it helpful to have something that the kids can see to help them keep track of their own behavior- some type of chart.

    One thing that I've used that helps with the chatty times is a quiet raffle. Whenever someone is really on task, give them a little slip of paper. They write their name on it and put it in a jar or bag. At the end of the day, pull some names to win a prize. If you aren't able to buy prizes, coupons for free time, homework pass, lunch with the teacher, line leader, etc., are a great alternative.

    Be sure that you save time in the evening for yourself. Pamper yourself a little!

    Good luck!
     
  6. mandy1221

    mandy1221 Rookie

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    Jan 5, 2003

    Thanks for replying...I will try and use your suggestions. I'll let you know how it is going.
     
  7. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Jan 5, 2003

    Sorry to hear about your restless nights. I remember feeling that way. I still get like that before school starts up in the fall. It sounds like your kids need to see a "NEW" side of you. Be real strict that first week your back. Take no B.S from any of them. If they waste your time in class, maybe you should take away some of their time, recess, free game later in the day, ect. I have in the past, planned a movie in the afternoon. On the board I will write the word MOVIE and the time of the movie- so the kids KNOW it is scheduled. If the day is progressing well the word stays as is. But if not, talking in line, playing at desks, ect. I ask a students to erase one letter from the word movie. Usually it only takes one or two displays of this before the kids actually start telling each other to be quiet. I of course explain the rules at the beginning of the day. As long as at least one letter is left they still get the movie. I have indeed not been able to show a movie before. That was only once- they knew I meant business the next time.
    Good Luck
    -Deko9 at my parents computer
     
  8. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Jan 5, 2003

    How long have you been teaching? It sometimes takes a while to get a behavior management plan that works for you. I use a method called 'Cooperative Discipline'- there's a book by that name that's easy to follow. Other people use Lee Cantor's Assertive discipline effectively. There is a behavior management discussion forum you may want to check out on this website as well. Check with your local college and see if they offer a class in behavior management for teachers. I've been teaching 6 years and took a graduate class in coop. discipline this summer for extra credits and the class helped me brush up a bit! It's always great to talk with other teachers and see what works for them. Sometimes even the simplest ideas works wonders- for example I take red plastic cups to the computer lab when we go- the kids put the cup on top of their monitor if they need help so I don't hae to hear my name 1000 times!! Another book talked about alot on this webiste is 'Love and Logic'. Now that you're starting back to school, start something new in terms of behavior management and stick with it so the kids know you mean business- it's important to regain control so you can relax and TEACH rather than spend your time with behaviors!!
     
  9. CeCe

    CeCe Companion

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    Jan 6, 2003

    Take care of yourself

    Mandy,
    I'm so sorry you're having such a rough year. I know exactly how you feel because I felt that way my first year of teaching, too. I even broke out in hives mid-year! Having a difficult class can really rattle your self-confidence & make you question why you wanted to be a teacher in the first place. I've taught for 7 years and I want you to know - it DOES get easier as you gain experience and figure out what works for you. Every class is not the same either - sometimes the make-up of your group makes them extra challenging as they "feed off" each other. Next year, your class could be angels. The previous posters all offered excellent advise on classroom management so I just wanted to offer some tips on how I learned to survive the tough beginning years.
    1. First, no matter how much schoolwork you have to do, take some time out of every day (even if it's only 15 minutes!) for relaxation. Don't think about anything to do with school during this time. (Use this time to read, take a hot bath, listen to music, go for a walk, call a friend, whatever helps you unwind.)
    2. Eat healthy. I used to be tempted to grab fast food because I didn't have time to cook. Make the time to feed yourself something decent.
    3. Exercise! Since you've lost 20 lbs. from stress, you might not think this one is so important, BUT, I can tell you that this is my #1 coping trick when I need to de-stress. If I don't run 3x/week, I can't sleep at night, I'm noticably more stressed, tired, & grouchy, & even start to feel depressed if I skip more than a week. Running might not be your choice, but find some exercise that you enjoy and you'll be amazed at how much calmer you'll feel. (I can't emphasize this enough - I truly believe it kept me from going crazy one particularly difficult year!!)
    4. Buddy up with another teacher to bounce ideas off of and talk with. Many Fridays after school, my neighboring teacher & I would "de-stress" from the week at Chili's or someplace.

    Remember, that you must take care of yourself first or you won't be able to take care of anyone else, not even your students. Take back a little of your life so you can regain some of your energy. You'll be a more effective teacher and you'll start enjoying your class more. I'm speaking from personal experience. Don't let your teaching job take over your life. It can wipe you out physically, emotionally, and mentally. Make a conscious effort to balance your work life & your personal life and you'll be so much happier as a teacher. Let us know how things are going. We're all pulling for you!
     
  10. mandy1221

    mandy1221 Rookie

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    Jan 10, 2003

    Just an update...I have used all of your advice and some of it really does work. Upsadaisy...the "if you can hear me clap once" thing is wonderful. I have seen an improvement in my class...but we still have long way to go. Thanks for all of your help everyone.
     
  11. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    Jan 10, 2003

    I'm very happy to hear that, Mandy. Good luck to you and keep us posted.
     
  12. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Jan 11, 2003

    I have posted this before but read the book SETTING LIMITS WITH YOUR STRONG WILLED CHILD. It is aimed towards parents but you can really relate it to the classroom. It discusses the fact that if they misbehave or make a bad choice you give them a choice...they can either continue what they are doing and this will happen (logical consequence) or they can stop (for example if he is being loud during center time) and continue doing centers. Then follow through and be consistent. Each time it happnes give them the choice. Soon you won't have to offer the choice, they already know what to do. Make sure you always use a MATTER OF FACT voice, because if not they know that they have gotten to you. Doing this can be very hard but let them experience the consequence.

    Hope this helps!
    Has anyone else read this book before?
     
  13. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Jan 14, 2003

    I have not read that particular book before, but I just finished reading a great book, How to Talk so Kids can Learn At Home and in School, by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish. It gives many different scenarios and several ways to handle each situation. I have not been in the classroom since I have read this book, so I have not been able to practice any of the strategies, but I will definitely refer to this book regularly. The book makes you look at both sides of any situation and assess your current problem solving strategies.
     
  14. AngelaS

    AngelaS Cohort

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    Jan 14, 2003

    Yes, a MUST READ!
     
  15. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Jan 15, 2003

    The clap once if you here me is a wonderful technique that my whole school uses. However, I use the count down method...5, 4, 3, 2,1...by the time i get to one they need to be quiet. If a child is still talking the " move there card" I use a crad system with 4 colors:
    green- great job,everyone starts here daily
    yellow: warning be careful!
    blue: 10 minutes off recess
    red: no recess, note home.
    All these colored cards are in libary jackets on the wall with each childs name on theirs. All I need to say is move your card when a rule is broken. THis has worked great for me. You need to spend a lot of time practicing this in the beginning.
    PRAISE is also a wonderul thing. Instead of yelling at a child to sit down, reverse it by saying I like the way ____ is sitiing quietly ready to learn.
    Good Luck!
     

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