I feel like I'm a bad teacher

Discussion in 'Behavior Management' started by srfjeld, Feb 17, 2010.

  1. srfjeld

    srfjeld Companion

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    Feb 17, 2010

    I am in my second year of teaching 1st grade and I just can't get a grasp on behavior mgmt. I talk and when I'm raising my voice to tell them they need to be quiet, they don't even seem to hear me and just chat away. What really infuriates me is when our principal walks in and they nudge and shush each other in his presence... like little angels and he thinks they're the best class in the world. What this tells me is, they have the ability to act right, I'm just doing something wrong and they won't do it for me.

    Here's part of it... I like to joke around with them too much so, as much as I know they like me, I don't think they respect me as an authority figure. I don't know how to ride that fine line of being the adult in charge and being able to let loose every now and again. They see me as either someone who's goofy and cracks up with them, or a crazy mad person when they won't listen... YES, even I know that is a problem... anyone else been here before? Any advice on how to be better at this? Books to read? Anything? Does it come with time or am I just doomed b/c that's just who I am?

    Thank you in advance,

    Stephanie
     
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  3. Peachyness

    Peachyness Virtuoso

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    Feb 17, 2010

    Well, you're right. There is a very fine line from where you want to joke around with the class, act silly, and then also be someone that they respect and behave for.

    Well, it really begins on day one and that's when you lay down the laws, rules, and consequences. You must be more tough than silly in the beginning.

    Heh... my kids think I'm so mean and strict, but at the same time, they like me and my class because I do take the time to joke with them and have fun games.

    It'll take a while to get this down, but yeah, it's all about being strict and consistent from day one. As soon as they are being disrespectful, you need to make it known. Stop teaching, do the teacher stare and implement any consequences you have in place.

    It's not too late to start over. To retrain them. Act like it's the first day of school. Go over rules, consequences, procedures. Have them come up to practice. Praise them when they do it. As SOON as someone acts up, get on them. You need to retrain them that YOU are the authority here. If they can't get in line quietly, then make them all sit down and do it over again, even if it means they miss recess. If they can't come into the classroom quietly, make them go back and practice, then be sure to tell them that since doing this took 1 minute from instruction time, you'll borrow that time from their recess.

    Good luck!

    By the way, I taught kinder for three years. Two of those years I took over a class AFTER the school year began. One class in particular was very, errrr, out of control. Soon, they were the most well behaved kinder class. :) I told them they were in boot camp (they sure were!)
     
  4. Mrs. K.

    Mrs. K. Enthusiast

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    Feb 18, 2010

    Go to http://www.wholebrainteaching.com/, register for free, and download an entire book of teaching and management techniques. Very effective - I use a few of them with my seniors!
     
  5. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    Feb 18, 2010

    I understand how you feel, Stephanie. I am the same way with my middle-schoolers. My personality is to joke with the kids some, but at the same time, I want them to respect my authority and my classroom. Unfortunately, those two don't always mix well. If the kids see you as someone they can joke and cut-up with, then they tend to think you aren't really serious about the class rules and behavior mgt becomes a problem. I finally had to tell my middle-schoolers during my internship that I like to joke around with them some, but I can't do it very often because, when I do, they don't know when to stop joking and get serious again.

    So you have to start out being the strict authority figure and let them know the rules of the classroom will followed or discipline will be handed out - period. If you start out tough, you can always lighten up later and let them see you really aren't a hard-case drill sergeant all the time. ;)

    I also recommend the whole brain teaching method mentioned by Mrs. K. The more I research this method, the more I feel it is a great fit for my personality and what I want in my classroom.
     
  6. Unbeknownst

    Unbeknownst Cohort

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    Feb 18, 2010

    Srfjeld, please check out Fred Jones' Tools for Teaching.

    If not anything, do yourself the favor and read the reviews at amazon.com, or somewhere else of your preference.

    I promise you that once you read it, you will understand class management and why they act so well when your principal walks in.
     
  7. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Feb 18, 2010

    You're not a bad teacher; a bad teacher wouldn't care.

    You're a NEW teacher, and that's a totally different thing.

    Yeah, I know it's been an entire year and a half. But, in reality, this is only your second time at trying to find and set a tone you can live with. Like most things of value, it takes time. But each time you try something new, you find something that works or doesn't work for you, and that helps add to your arsenal of approaches.

    I've never taught kids anywhere that young, so this suggestion comes from my mommy experience.

    Maybe you could start Monday with a new approach. Find an excuse-- maybe Chinese New Year, the year of the Tiger. Let them know that things will have to be different now, since they're getting so close to second grade and are so much more mature than they were in September. Change seats, implement some new procedures-- some stricter, others that they may see as priveleges in light of their new maturity. But, of course, we all know that priveledges bring responsiblity. So they need to show this new, more mature side of themselves.

    As to your classroom persona-- it's hard to find the right balance between fun and work, but you'll do it. I think you'll find that raising your voice pretty much NEVER works. In fact, my kids know they're in serious trouble when I get deathly quiet.

    In my high school classes, as well as with my own 3 kids, consistency is key. More than any other single trait, consistency makes a huge difference in behavior. If they get away with something once, the floodgates are opened.
     
  8. Peachyness

    Peachyness Virtuoso

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    Feb 18, 2010

    I also vote for this book. Definitely check it out!
     
  9. MissSkippyjonJones

    MissSkippyjonJones Comrade

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    Feb 18, 2010

    We had a training with Rick Warren last year and it was really good. He gives easy to use but really effective strategies for management. Check out his book.
     
  10. srfjeld

    srfjeld Companion

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    Feb 19, 2010

    Thank you everyone... great ideas here. I did go to the whole brain website... and today I implemented the class-yes call/response and it really worked. Also, while I was teaching reading groups, rather that yelling for the class to be quiet across the room, if I saw someone talking/acting up/not working... I calmly called them to me at the group and put a book up to my face so the group couldn't hear then then I calmly and quietly told them again what I expected and said that if I had to talk to them again they would have to pull a card... Well, it went so well that it was my best day this year... So good in fact that when I was done with my reading groups, I told the kids how well they did and rewarded them with two minutes of being able to talk with their neighbors... (but they couldn't get out of their seats) you should have seen the looks on their faces... they looked like they were in the twilight zone. We also ended the day with an extra 5 minute recess... It was AWESOME!!! We'll see how today goes. ;)
     
  11. srfjeld

    srfjeld Companion

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    Feb 20, 2010

    I should have known better than to get too excited about "one" good day.
     
  12. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Feb 20, 2010

    Give it time for the new rules to sink in. Hang in there!
     
  13. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Feb 20, 2010

    "One good day" is a million miles better than "another awful day."

    Hang in there and stay with what worked once.

    Teaching, as with many things, is very often a case of "two steps forward, one step back."
     
  14. srfjeld

    srfjeld Companion

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    Feb 20, 2010

    You are definitely right about that one Alice... it's just too bad that I was feeling ill yesterday and not on my game. It's so exhausting to do what we do... to be on ALL DAY LONG... There's always Monday to start fresh again! ;)
     

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