How do students respond to your classroom management?

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by Peregrin5, May 14, 2017.

  1. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    May 14, 2017

    I feel like kids this year did not respond well to my classroom management. I have a very firm style, but as long as rules are followed, I am very friendly and personable to all of the students. However I had outright opposition from day 1 from some students for what seems to be my management style.

    A few students REALLY did not like the firm part of my classroom management. They seemed to expect that I would let things slide (part of it is the rest of the school environment, where things are allowed to let slide quite a bit). Anyway, they disliked it so much, that one decided to transfer out of my class, one tried to escape to a higher level science class (didn't work), and one has decided he isn't going to speak to me for the remainder of the year (which I'm totally fine with--as long as he doesn't put any more students into chokeholds).

    I don't think I'm overly strict, I never yell, but I have my rules, and I don't budge on them. And if they're broken, I enact my consequences. Some kids got it fairly quickly and we enjoy good relationships, but I'm still curious about those that just could not adapt. It makes me wonder what their problem was, and if it extends to other classes as well, or was just a problem with me personally.

    We've held several meetings with family and admin for those three cases, and in every case, the students isn't able to elaborate on what their issue is specifically with me, or at least not in a way that was satisfying. One said "I don't like you because you are a liberal (the student is very conservative, which may be the root of his problems with me), but you run your classroom like a dictator." (lol) He also said he doesn't like the sound of my voice and the fact that I teach about climate change and drive a Subaru (lol again). Another said that she misbehaves because "I did something she didn't like (moved her to independent study) so she decided to do things I don't like (scraping the stool loudly across the floor while I'm trying to teach)." [I eventually got into a better relationship with her after we got grandpa on board (he was initially defensive when we first started talking but softened up after we described the details of what she was doing in the classroom) but she still wanted to leave my class.] Haven't fully met with the last student yet (think his mom is avoiding coming in), but I'm sure his explanation will be similarly confusing. I do notice that all of the students who have the most issues with my rules and protocols have parents who are immediately rushing in to "defend" their children from the evil mean teachers and their kid can't possibly be at fault, so it's likely a lot to do with how they're raised and not necessarily anything to do with me, but I'm curious just in case.

    I have structures in place to help students succeed, based on my experiences, that some students think are a bit too much such as a binder organization system (some just want to jam their papers in their backpacks and get offended at the idea that their teacher requires them to organize a certain way), when I ask for attention, I don't move on until I have everybody putting down whatever they're working on, ending their conversations and making eye contact with me. This annoys those who want to work while I talk, and those who just generally want to socialize constantly. It's just that I found that students who work while you talk, really aren't listening to what you say, and you often have to repeat instructions multiple times to the class in order for things to happen if I don't have that structure. I am also pretty strict about blurting answers out and requiring them to raise their hands, and I have assigned seats.

    I wonder if the kids just see all of these structures as "too young" for them, and are rebelling because of it. Are these structures too much or (if in the future I teach again) do I just power through the grumbles?

    How do kids respond to your structures, protocols, and management styles?
     
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  3. rpan

    rpan Cohort

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    May 15, 2017

    I'm pretty strict as well, I expect all of the things you ask for in your classroom. I don't think it's unreasonable. It forms the basis of good classroom management. They may hate it now, but the structure and boundaries are important for them.

    My students respond pretty well, eventually. It does take while but the second half of the year is always easier because we have a much better understanding of each other and have formed good relationships. This doesn't always apply to all students but I can't please everyone. I teach MS, an age where students do want to please the teacher.

    I think the following things that I do helps to form those positive relationships:

    - I explain my reasons for wanting certain things and I find that when I explain my reasoning they can see it from my side and they understand that I'm asking for good reason, not just because I'm on some power trip.
    - I give my students lots of positive reinforcements, I really make a conscious effort to praise the good things as much as the bad, so they know I'm fair - calling a spade a spade - not personally picking on anyone.
    - I teach science too, so I make sure that the kids stay engaged by giving them activities/practicals/experiments that they enjoy at least once a week. If they are engaged then they aren't up to no good.

    Those are my thoughts. Ps. I'm just sharing my thoughts, I'm not saying I'm better than anyone, because I'm not.
     
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  4. GPC0321

    GPC0321 Companion

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    May 15, 2017

    I have a problem being consistent, and it has plagued me for 15 years. My nature is to be lenient and informal in my classroom. It's just who I am. But students take advantage of that very quickly and soon the "good" kids resent it because their learning environment is chaotic. I've learned to toughen up a bit more since, but sometimes I let things slide (cell phones, listening to music/earbuds, eating). The kids are pretty good about asking before breaking a school rule, and depending on what we're doing that day and my mood (LOL), I'll either let them or won't. But that inconsistency has bitten me in the butt with a particular class (mentioned them in your other thread!) this semester, and I'm going to have to tighten the reins again for the beginning of next year.

    The problem is, some students are mature enough to handle a more relaxed classroom and some are not. I had a class last semester that I had to really crank down on because they were just insane. They weren't allowed to speak at all once they walked into my classroom unless they raised their hands and I called on them. I did this for about a week. Met them outside the closed classroom door, reminded them of the way they were expected to behave, and then let them in. A couple of days they were not even allowed to speak to me. I had all assignments up on the board, they got their books and went to work. It was basically me putting the entire class into "ISS mode" because their behavior had gotten so out of hand.

    There may be something like that in the works for my "problem class" this semester. It might be the only way I can tolerate them for the next few weeks, LOL!

    Classroom management is an ever-evolving thing. It depends on so many factors, and as teachers we have to be willing to "drop back and punt" at any given moment when things aren't working out so well.
     
  5. Obadiah

    Obadiah Groupie

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    May 15, 2017

    I'm seeing it might be more of the students' problem and less of you. Your management is right on target in my opinion. I especially agree with consistency. I find sometimes I need to be cautious not to over react to situations, and I'm especially cautious not to provide the students with an advantage by letting on that something irritates me.

    Calling out in class is a very, very, very tricky scenario in my opinion. Raising one's hand is proper, expected, and should be a protocol, but it is diminishing within today's culture. When I was a kid, I recall noticing how in church business meetings, the older adults would not only raise their hands but stand prior to speaking. Then I actually remember noticing the same procedure in a classroom on an older TV show. During one of my interviews for a position many years ago at a very conservative Christian school, I was surprised to discover that standing after raising one's hand was a requirement. (Not that I'm recommending standing, but I writing that to demonstrate how culture tends to shift). Today, students are noticing less formality in social structures. Some of that might be good, but I fear some of it is just plain rudeness. I always liked how President Reagan required reporters to raise their hands rather than shouting, "Mr. President!" On televised debates (of any sort) the goal seems to be to interrupt rather than listen and respond. The tricky part, I find, is requesting students to raise their hands in class, but realizing that sometimes an unauthorized response is going to occur, and balancing the requirement with some leeway for over enthusiasm on the students' part. Then again, sometimes students will begin to take advantage of the leeway and use that as an excuse to be heard rather than waiting to be called on; then I find I have to politely return to square one. On the opposite end, I once had a student, and he seriously TRIED not to blurt out, but he was so-o-o-o-o enthusiastic about learning he just plain couldn't contain himself. My main goal rather than correcting him ended up comforting him that I understood he was doing his best with our rule!

    If I could quickly comment on families with differences of opinion, often this revolves around political or religious differences. This even occurs in Christian schools. I personally, as much as the school will permit, welcome different views, but of course in third grade, it's usually the parents who express the opposition rather than the students. I find it important in such situations to politely listen and then explain what the school itself teaches in the curriculum. I show honest respect for all differing beliefs, but sometimes, that just isn't enough. Some families are determined to suddenly modify the entire curriculum! (???) Anyway, that's when the administration just has to put their foot down and politely say no. But that's certainly no excuse for student misbehavior in the classroom.
     
  6. Bioguru

    Bioguru Companion

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    May 15, 2017

    I'm lucky on several fronts in this regard.

    1) We have a very supportive administration. Our assistant principal is great about backing the teacher and assigning the appropriate punishment to students.

    2) I teach mainly sophomores (chemistry) and seniors (dual credit biology and A&P). We have several good freshmen teachers that really break them in from their junior high habits, thus students already know what it is to work hard, pay attention, and act right in class before they ever get to me.

    3) I teach courses that not every student has to take so I miss out on all the students who are here to cause trouble for 4 years. I would say I only have the best of the best except for a couple that get into my class for the wrong reasons (e.g., parents, buddies, boyfriend/girlfriend, etc.). As a result, 99% of my students are eager to learn, want to please the teacher, and don't tolerate other students (or teachers!) who don't take learning seriously.

    4) I have built up a reputation over my five years at this school - students know what they are getting into. They either avoid my classes because they don't want to deal with me (which is great) or sign up for my classes specifically because they want to learn what I teach. It's a win-win.

    For the above reasons I probably wouldn't teach anywhere else; I am too spoiled!
     
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  7. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    May 15, 2017

    Yeah. I teach the required Freshman science course. For a while I was getting on myself about how badly behaved my kids were compared to the Chemistry or Physics teacher, but then I remembered that most of the students who either don't want to be here have dropped out by that age, or they're not taking those science classes (and they're actually taking my Freshman science class as Juniors or Seniors [they're actually a pleasure to have in class because they're serious about passing] or credit recovery). The biology classes are similar in behavior to my classes, because biology is also required.

    Part of it could be my fault (I am by no means perfect in consistency, though I do think I'm better than I was), but I think another part is I just have a very different crowd than the rest of the teachers.
     
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  8. GPC0321

    GPC0321 Companion

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    May 15, 2017

    Oh, you've got Freshmen! No wonder. LOL. I taught Freshman English for several years, and I was the only Freshman English teacher, so I got every stinking one of the little darlings that made it to high school. The thing about Freshmen is you've got them ALL, because it usually takes part or all of their Freshman year to get kicked out or to get old enough to drop out of school (depending on how many times they failed in elem/middle). They are a completely different animal than the upperclassmen, that's for sure.

    I taught Sophomores and Juniors when I first began teaching, and then went to Freshman for several years. I've been back with Sophomores for almost two years now. Last semester I had one single class of honors Seniors. Wow! What a refreshing experience! It was like having normal human beings in the classroom instead of bizarre alien creatures, LOL!

    My "favorite" class was actually quite good today. Probably because one of the ringleaders was absent (Thankyoujeezus).
     
  9. viola_x_wittrockiana

    viola_x_wittrockiana Comrade

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    May 15, 2017

    I see absolutely nothing wrong with that, as long as you're willing to make good-sense exceptions. Follow the spirit/intention of the rules and not always the letter.

    My HS had a rule against having your phone out for any reason and the consequence was a Saturday school. A girl in my HS math class was a flyer on the cheer squad and had been dropped during practice that morning. She went to the nurse, who had her call a parent because she needed x-rays. Her dad hadn't made it to the office yet, so she left a message and the nurse sent her to first period with ice in the meantime. Her dad called her cellphone to tell her he was on his way to take her to the ER, which meant a Saturday school because our teacher didn't make an exception to the rule. The girl had a broken hand and our teacher felt bad about it later, but she still had to do Saturday school.

    On the other hand, there was a minor emergency involving a play when a teacher allowed us to break the phone rule. The play was a collaboration with the local university's directing class and we had a lead get sick and leave school hours before opening (no understudies). The teacher let us hide in a corner and call our director to let her know, which lead to a game plan that let us open that night.
     
  10. Bioguru

    Bioguru Companion

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    May 16, 2017

    It really is just the particularly grade and class you have. I taught freshmen courses for three years and the difference is astounding. I am fortunate that we have great freshmen teachers and thankful I'm not one of them!
     
  11. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    My style is mostly making sure that students do not interfere in the learning process of others, which includes taking my attention away from the class. Terribly Love & Logic in orientation, but that's because my method is for my students to get to know me as a person and know that I love them (even if I don't always like them). The way they usually see things, if I'm doing it correctly, is that when I ask a student to do something I know they don't want to do, I add the words, "for me". It tends to be what puts them over the top.

    Sometimes it REALLY doesn't work, and that's when I have to switch to a more strict parent role. Today, I found myself saying to one of my more... reluctant learners, "Hey, I just want you to know that I will be here for you no matter what. If it takes you until you are 20 to finish all your classes, I will still be your teacher and I will still applaud you at your graduation." That 17-year old got to work, quickly!
     
  12. MissCeliaB

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    I experienced this same thing this year. I usually have excellent relationships with my students, but I did not click with this group of freshmen. They did not rise to my high standards, I would not budge on my expectations, and it was a battle all year! A big part of my management style is taking interest in the interests of my students, but over half of them this year were not involved in anything! When they had to list their five favorite things about the school year, many listed the fights (and we have relatively few of those.) So, I'm not sure if my style isn't working anymore or if this particular group is just hard to deal with.
     
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  13. Geologygirl

    Geologygirl Comrade

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    It is because they are freshman. I teach freshmen also. Parents can still be super involved like they were in middle school because they so not see their kids as young adults and responsible for their own actions yet. Often these same parents can be helicopter parents and will attack a teacher no matter what their kid has done. I deal with that also though less often than when I was new at my school. Your rules do not sound draconion. They sound resonable, and keep in mind that they are freshmen and need the teacher to be stricter because they are not emotionally mature enough yet to handle more freedom as a previous poster said. Another thing to consider is that even if the kids do not act like it often they want you to like them and if they get into trouble they figure you do not like them get upset and get mom and dad involved. If you have sensative kids consider telling that you do not dislike them just the behavior. I caught a couple of kids cheating this year and I guess my reaction made them think I disliked them and they got mom or dad involved. Once I told the kid it was the behavior I disliked not them personally they felt better.....dont know Freshmen are a special group compared to the other grades.
     
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  14. TrademarkTer

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    The comments on freshmen are interesting to me. Our freshmen are probably the most timid, well-behaved classes of the 4 years. Our middle school is over the top STRICT, and so, they come into the high school scared stiff. The high school is much more relaxed so by the time they are juniors and seniors, the kids are much more willing to test the boundaries.
     
  15. Leah

    Leah New Member

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    As for me you are too strict with the students. And it's their negative reaction towards your management. here are the findings, I try to allow more to my students, they become more creative, start being more engaged in the process of studying and they really listen to me and do what I asked to.
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2017
  16. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Short answer: they push the boundaries. I push back. For the past 2-3 years I've been winning lol
     
  17. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Freshmen for the past 2 years have been the best behaved kids individually and as whole classes. But the 2 years before they were the ones I struggled with the most, due to their immaturity. I think those days taught me to be even more strict with them and they responded well.
     
  18. Genesiser

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    Aug 11, 2017

    For what it's worth, I taught a high school pre-calculus class for a couple years and then moved to middle school math because many of my students in high school had very little knowledge of the basics. Either way though I use the same technique and before anyone asks, even in low income, high poverty rate schools.

    I start off the year by explaining to them that my classroom is their sanctuary. It's a place where they don't have to fear of being ridiculed and it's a place where they can feel completely safe. Whatever problems they have outside of class, including disagreements with others within the class go away when they enter my classroom.

    The five rules I have in my class are 1) When someone is addressing the classroom (student or teacher) we listen and respect them. 2) Raise your hand and BE AKNOWLEDGED before calling out. 3) When another person tells them to stop - you stop. (remind them that oftentimes, including myself don't realize that what we are doing is annoying to someone) 4) Throwing things can harm someone so we can't throw things. 5) It feels bad when someone takes our things, so don't take someone's things without getting permission.

    Some of those are vague so I go into complete detail by giving examples of what is acceptable and what isn't. For example, we all put a lot of thought into what we say when addressing the class, it feels like crap when someone laughs, talks over us, or just ignores what we say - this reduces the feeling of the room being a safe place and it's why I have rule #1.

    Anyway, once I do this, for the actual classroom management I focus on when students are doing things right and give as little attention as I can when someone is doing something bad. Students want attention more than anything else and if you show students that you'll address them more often when they are doing something wrong, they learn that's how they get your attention and more and more students will start acting out. It sounds easy, but it requires you to pay more attention to them to look for what's being done right. Not only that, but don't say, "I love that you are doing X or Y" and instead say, "It's great that you are doing X or Y because Z". This way they learn that it's a good thing as opposed to just doing it to please you.

    I also use the 3 to 1 rule. If I have to remind a student on how to act, that counts as the "1" then before I do it again I have to give have a positive interaction 3 times before I do it again. This makes it seem like I'm never nagging them and they view me in a positive light.

    To get their attention after I have them talk to each other, on the first day I tell them I will say, "Alright, GIVE ME FIVE!" and have them raise their hand like I do and count down from five to zero with my fingers. When it's at zero, I keep my hand up as a fist and don't talk until it's silent. The key though, is while I'm having my fingers go down I'm counting up from zero. This way EVERY time I do it, I tell them how long it took and I remind them that the goal is 5 seconds. If they do it before 5 seconds I say something like, "Whoa! That only took 3 seconds, great job guys!"

    Finally, don't let them talk their way out of things. If you give them a consequence for doing something, end it with "it's your choice". So basically, "If you continue to talk to this person, I'm going to move you, it's your choice." If they do it again, move them to another place no matter what they tell you. You told them it was their choice so you can use that when they refuse. Once you start letting them give excuses, then they'll see that they can talk their way out of it and it just goes south from there.

    All in all, my classrooms are easy to manage once I started doing this. When I first started I was strict and was always telling them what not to do and it was not easy to control the class. Not only that, but I started to not like my job because it felt like I was just being a baby sitter and not a teacher. Once I changed my style, I fell back in love with my teaching profession.

    I hope this helps!
     
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  19. Obadiah

    Obadiah Groupie

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    Aug 12, 2017

    This is an especially important point! So often, teachers direct proper decorum to themselves; the students are instructed to behave in order to please the teacher. This redirection creates extrinsic motivation rather than intrinsic motivation, especially when combined with rewards and punishments. On the other hand, behaving for the purpose of proper social function and concern for the entire class's benefit is intrinsic motivation. Of course, penalties are also beneficial in any social setting, and rewards can be a fun added extra, but the students are learning the importance of proper behavior in a group setting, not learning to just please the teacher (or how to get away with stuff, which especially occurs in an operant conditioning behavioristic environment). To be sure, the teacher is also a part of the social group, and certainly her/his thoughts and feelings are important too; there's nothing wrong with students including pleasing the teacher within their decorum. My concern is that sometimes teachers seem to indicate that the teacher's pleasure is the sole reason for proper behavior.

    An even greater danger of obeying just to please the teacher and/or avoid punishment and gain reward is that this conditions students to adapt to a societal dictatorship, not just politically, but they are conditioned to accept that might makes right. The bigger, "smarter", tougher whatever person gets to push others around, step on "the little guy" to progress and gain.

    In today's society, yet another danger is prevalent among such conditioned students and that is, falling for group induced propaganda. The group "reports" on certain situations either at meetings or through publications but uses various techniques to push their agenda and extend belief in their cause (such as over or underemphasizing certain factual information, repeating certain ideologies here and there so that they eventually become accepted as factual, using phrases such as "since everyone knows", quoting an acceptable authority but forcing it to also fit their ideology, lessoning the humanity of a certain people group in order to lesson guilt in antisocial behavior towards that group, etc.) Along with the propaganda is the feeling that one needs to please the other members of the group; to question the group's thought becomes anathema.
    We need students who learn that proper decorum does not mean just pleasing the mighty; there are times when a person needs to stand up for what s/he believes.
     

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