I called 10 parents today...

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Ms.Holyoke, Sep 17, 2018.

  1. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    Sep 17, 2018

    I am having a very difficult class. Today was probably the worst day of all. I had kids throwing paper balls, I had to stop teaching several times, and I realized that the kids get very little work done. I was annoyed when the kids started packing up 5 minutes before the bell rang when half of them accomplished very little during class. I know it's not just me because my mentor said that teaching this time of day is always the worst and the English teacher has struggles with the same group.

    I called 10 parents today about behavior/academics and they were all receptive. All of the mothers said that they would talk to their kids. I'm wondering how to handle tomorrow. I want to review expectations but also enforce consequences. This class starts talking ANYTIME. I will make an off hand comment and they will start talking about it; I ask them to open up their agendas and they will start talking. Everyone tells me I need to be more strict. I gave one detention for a kid for repeatedly not following directions last week. The kid also forgot to turn in his quiz (and lost it) so he has to take it after school to take it. I'm wondering if I should make him stay for a detention AND take the quiz (two separate days.) The kid was crying after class about his detention...sigh.

    My issue is that I didn't do a great job establishing routines. They will start the Do Now, but not right away. My goal is to have them all be working when the bell rings. Right now, I have 50% working when the bell rings and I use positive reinforcement (school $$) for this. My other two classes are going well but I'm not sure what it is about this particular group. I am really hoping that calling parents will help with behavior tomorrow. My new "behavior plan" is one warning and then an after school detention. It's just difficult when it seems like the behavior is ALL of the kids and they are all off topic and chatty. I can't walk up to 15 kids individually and ask them to start their work!

    It's funny because I watched their science class for a few minutes today while their science teacher was fixing the copier for me. They were like "Hi Ms. XXX!!!" It's like they forgot everything that happened in class...LOL. I'm not getting too stressed about it but I am trying to figure out how to make it through the year with this group of kids...and have them actually learn something.
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2018
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  3. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    Sep 17, 2018

    Good for you to reach out to 10 parents and let them know about misbehavior. That is great. I'd work on a routine and keep them busier than busy. Keep at it, and I think you'll see improvement.
     
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  4. TrademarkTer

    TrademarkTer Groupie

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    Can I also recommend emailing or calling a few of the parents of the kids who were doing great work, on task, etc. etc? This has two benefits. One is if they ever become an issue, the parents will know you don't just email home with bad news. And two, they often respond very positively and make you feel good about yourself!
     
  5. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    ^
    I’ve emailed a ton of parents (many positive) but none of them reply to emails. I would love to do some positive phone calls too but I need to find the time :)
     
  6. rpan

    rpan Cohort

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    Sep 18, 2018

    Ringing parents will definitely help because you are showing the students that you follow through. Perhaps for this particular class, the Do Now is not the way to go. Perhaps you need to be the one to start the lesson off on the right foot; they come into class, you wait for silence, give the students their instructions and your expectations e.g. today you will start off with the Do Now in silence. Then we will learn about long division and I have 3 questions you need to answer in your books.
    Sometimes it helps students to know exactly how much they have to do in the lesson so they can see “the light at the end of the tunnel”. It can help with their self regulation because they can think, OK I only need to be quiet for 5 mins, or I only need to do 3 questions, it’s not that big of a deal, I can handle that.
    You may wish to try another form of reward like PAT, something they value more than school$?
    Just throwing out some suggestions....
     
  7. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    Sep 18, 2018

    :agreed:
     
  8. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Sep 18, 2018

    I remember those days. when I was student teaching (7 years ago) I had a hard time with 1 class and I was constantly calling parents. It's worth it.
    I may be repeating myself from what other said but this is what I would do:
    - call parents, and also make a note for yourself of which ones are the most receptive.
    - try to find the time to call parents with positives. Just pick 2 a day to call (or it might be better to call 10 and be done with it), you won't have to call them often, just call once.
    - call the behavior students' parents back as soon as you see improvement and let them know. very important.
    - keep up with the detentions
    - keep them busy, be super strict.
    - things may stay bad for a while and this class might never completely improve, but constancy, rigor and strict rules they will improve
     
  9. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    You always have such insightful advice! Thank you.

    The good news is that when we made a social contract, they said they like the "hand up" attention signal. That works really well with them. My plan is to greet them at the door, immediately use the "hand up" signal, ask them to open their binders and begin the Do Now. I will also set a timer for 2 minutes.

    The class was better today. It is still difficult to get through a lesson BUT it was better today. One parent emailed me and I was able to say he had a better day! My instruction is not as good as it is in my first period class but it might get there.

    I had a student who I gave detention to on Friday for not following directions. He also forgot to turn in his quiz so he has to take it again after school. My extra help days were today and tomorrow. He was supposed to come take his quiz today BUT he forgot. The kid is kind of a mess so I don't think it was intentional. My original plan was to have him take his quiz today and come for his detention tomorrow. The kid has been better and I'm wondering if I should "combine" his detention/quiz. I could have him stay after school Thursday but I don't want to stay with kids 3 days after school this week. Our contract hours end at 2:40 (school ends at 2:20) and extra help goes until 3 so it's not a lot of time but I don't want to set the expectation that I am always after school. (We're only required one day a week.) I'm trying to decide if I should combine his detention/quiz or have him take the quiz tomorrow and detention next week. I'm leaning towards doing both tomorrow.
     
  10. Always__Learning

    Always__Learning Comrade

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    Sep 18, 2018

    I think your strategies sound like they are working. In terms of the specifics, I would do what you think is going to work. Even if it takes a bit longer in the next few weeks it will pay dividends over the next few months.
     
  11. LouiseB

    LouiseB Cohort

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    Sep 18, 2018

    You do a good job of reflecting and trying to make changes for the better. Good for you!
    Many teachers want to teach their sections of the same subject the same.Your classes are a perfect example of why this shouldn't be the case. There are many reasons why this class is "different" and you have to teach it different. So it is possible that you may have to have two sets of plans for this math class. That will be a good thing as it will be what is best for this group of kids. Keep going!!
     
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  12. flairpen

    flairpen Rookie

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    Sep 18, 2018

    This is what I do. I try and send at least one email a day to a parent letting them know something positive their child has done that day. I always get a response back and parents are always so excited about the messages.
     
  13. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    ^
    I don't know if it's the demographics of the kids that I teach but emails do not work for us & my mentor has had the same experience. I have emailed about 20 parents with only one response so far. This was at least an "attempt" by me so I did record it. Phone calls do work better but I do not always have the time unfortunately...
     
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2018
  14. flairpen

    flairpen Rookie

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    I think that might be true (I teach at a private school). My parents are VERY enthusiastic.

    I think you're doing all the right things and trying the best you can!
     
  15. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

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    Sep 18, 2018

    One tip to get responses is to ask a question.

    If you send an email saying a child isn't behaving in class, you may not get a response because it sounds like a notification.

    If you ask a question, people feel more inclined to respond. Then you know your email was received.

    *Do you have any suggestions for helping __ to...
    *__ is missing homework assignment. Could you please help her look for it or help her organize her backpack?
    *__ needs to bring a notebook to class. Is she able to get one by Monday?

    I think it's easier to send emails like this as an elementary teacher, but any possible question you can put in there is helpful.

    Also, nice work on the phone calls! Students like this (I have multiple classes, and one is like this also) tend to really feel out their teacher to see just how far they can go. Consistency and follow through matter a lot!
     
  16. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

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    This is what I needed to hear too. It's an important reminder!
     
  17. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    OMG a parent emailed me saying that she noticed her kid has a D in math. I replied back with a very good response (quiz corrections, extra help day, etc.) and I also said that he has been getting distracted in class. She didn't reply to me and went over my head to the social worker!! The social worker said mom can be difficult.
     
  18. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    Wait a minute, what? I don’t understand the correlation between the son’s grade and the social worker.
     
  19. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    The kid has anger management issues or something...I don't know.
     

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