I felt like a "mean" teacher today :/

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by DrivingPigeon, Sep 5, 2013.

  1. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

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    It was the 3rd day of school, and many of my students were beginning to get comfortable already.

    I think they are going to be a really good group overall, but there was quite a bit of extra talking today. We are a PBIS school, and I have been going over our classroom matrices like CRAZY. We have been role-playing and modeling expectations, talking about why they are important, and doing it again and again until we get it right. I feel like I am boring them to death, but they still. Don't. Get. It.

    We will talk about body basics, and they will model it perfectly, but as soon as I start a lesson, some kids who will turn to one-another and talk. We have a "Voice level 0" rule for the bathrooms, but they won't stop talking. It doesn't surprise me, because these kids were VERY loud during bathroom breaks last year, and their previous teachers allowed it.

    It just baffles me how 2 students will be talking right next to me, I will remind them to be quiet, and they will look at me and continue talking. I hate to pull out the "we'll practice this at recess" card already. How do you balance being firm with your expectations, but at the same time not coming off as "mean"? My tone is calm and gentle, but I still feel so mean and boring!
     
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  3. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    The first few weeks (we're in week 4), and actually anytime I feel that it is necessary, we practice, practice practice! Mine seem to have a problem with talking in line when we are traveling. It's really not fun to "practice" line behavior when (a) we have only outdoor breezeways, no hallways and (b) it's 101 degrees F or higher. :) I don't raise my voice. I just stand there, sweating, and calmly make the comment that we won't be moving or quitting (if we are walking) until we get it right.
     
  4. Blue

    Blue Aficionado

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    Sep 5, 2013

    You teach 2nd grade. They are not far away from the PS child who has to have every rule repeated a million times before he can remember it.
     
  5. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    I find that verbal reminders rarely work at this age. Only time it might work if you remind a child one on one, and then the odds are still against you. Research shows actions speak louder then words. If they talk going to the bathroom, don't take them until they are quiet. If they don't get it after a few times, practice at recess. If this is too harsh, then do nothing and let them talk. Telling them to stop gives them the attention they want and they receive no consequence. At best, they might stop for a little while, but not long. Fred Jones in Tools For Teaching really helps by showing good alternatives to verbal reminders. I'd highly recommend his book to make your life easier on this.
     
  6. bison

    bison Habitué

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    Do they have any breaks where they can talk? I don't think it's realistic or developmentally appropriate for the age group to be silent all day other than recess, and it might be making the issue worse if too much is expected.
     
  7. Curiouscat

    Curiouscat Comrade

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    I don't think pigeon is expecting them to be quiet all day. It sounds like some of the talking is just rudeness. Talking when someone else is talking, especially during a lesson, is never acceptable.
     
  8. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Just curious... why do they have to be silent when they go to the bathroom? I can see that you don't want them disrupting other classes, but isn't there a middle ground somewhere?

    I'm not one of those "start off tough and then lighten up" teachers. I start off as me, and stay me all year. So in this situation, I would expect "Voice level 2" (or whatever, I'm not familar with the scale) for bathroom breaks... let them whisper. And that would be the rule until school ended in June.

    As to how to do it.. could you make it a game? At random points during the day, call out "Voice level 2" and see whether they can maintain the right level for 3 minutes before getting back to normal...kind of like a fire drill. You stop what you're doing, practice, then go back to what you were doing before the drill began.
     
  9. Pisces_Fish

    Pisces_Fish Fanatic

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    I also expect zero talking in the hallways and bathroom. I feel like if you give an inch they will take a mile. I have been REALLY explicit about what bathroom looks like. We practice where to line up, where and how we wait our turn, how many pumps of soap to use, how to throw away trash, etc. It's really exhausting!!

    What's your reward system for PBIS? We give out colored tickets, one for individuals and another for classes. I have been giving out tons of individual tickets at random and making a big deal out of it. If a student is walking in the hall with their finger over their lips I say, "I love how Amy is giving the quiet signal!" During class time, I might give out tickets for those that are paying attention by saying, "Sam gets a ticket for following my direction quickly!" Every afternoon we count our class tickets and make bundles of 10. We count how many more we need to reach our goal. We talk about the times we earned tickets and what we were doing (caught being silent in the hall, lining up in a straight line after lunch, waiting patiently to check books out of the library, etc.) This afternoon mini-meeting is eating up a lot of my social studies time but I will be able to shorten these meetings as the year goes on.

    These videos were made by another school and my school showed them on the 2nd day for our PBIS assembly. I have showed them two more times. They align pretty well with any general PBIS school and the kids LOVE them. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HO-M_QpiG5o
     
  10. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

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    We have "paws" to give out for good behavior, but we can't give them out until next week, for some reason. I agree that if you give them an inch they will take a mile. This group was very very loud last year during bathroom breaks, so they need to be taught the correct behavior. Thanks for the videos-I'll check them out! I was actually going to have my class work in groups to create their own videos, too.
     
  11. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

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    They mostly have to be quiet for disruption purposes. We have a huge school (540 kids), but only 2 bathrooms (8 stalls total). Sometimes there is more than one class using the bathrooms at the same time, and there are classrooms about 10 feet away. With PBIS, the school-wide expectation is level 0. If a few students start whispering, they all start, and pretty soon they're all talking, so I try to keep them at a 0. The tough part is that they are very quiet in while waiting in line, and while they are in the bathrooms. It's when they are finished and waiting for everyone else that they are chatty. Our bathroom break probably takes 3 minutes total, so they are maybe waiting in line 1-2 minutes. I even put stuff on the wall for them to read, so they have something to do. Thanks for the game suggestions!

    It's really not a huge problem...My class is by far the quietest so far. I just hate feeling like mean teacher by making them do things over and over, and modeling over and over when I believe that they really do know what to do, and some kids just don't care. I know that they'll get it eventually, and that our hard work will pay off, but it's just so painful and boring! I was more or less just wondering how other people balance being firm with expectations, yet having fun.
     
  12. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

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    I would never expect my students to be quiet all day. I do, however, expect them to be quiet in places where it is a school rule (bathroom, hallways), and while I am giving directions.
     
  13. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

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    I know you probably weren't looking for advice...but have you ever tried having a student line manager. I saw a teacher do this once and tried it and it worked miracles. I could do the quiet sign 50 times and they'd still be talking, their friend does it and they listen. I tell my manager not use words, but gestures, so it won't add to noise.

    There are days I feel "mean" too. I want them to enjoy school and I know with all the assessments we've been doing it's definitely far from fun. I also feel badly for the kids who are doing the right thing and still have to practice over and over..but that's the way it often is until they can get those procedures down.
     
  14. cutelilram

    cutelilram Rookie

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    Sep 6, 2013

    Sometimes you have to be mean in order to get what you want. My rule for the bathroom is: As a class, if you speak we don't go. Simple. If one or two children are speaking while we are in the hall, they have to wait until lunchtime to go to the bathroom. And you don't give in to their whining. Tell them they should have been quiet. If there are students talking on the rug, have the whole class return to their seats to try it again and again until they get it right.

    My school is a PBIS school, too. I am not interested in having 8, 9, 10, and 11 year old third graders as my friends. Most of these children are not given boundaries at home and get away with a lot of poor behavior. I don't care if they like me or not or if they think I am mean. In my experience, the majority of the students want the boundaries and even though they may push back a little, if you hold your ground, the majority of your students will fall in line. Also, highlight the children who are doing the right thing. Point out when one or a group of children are following directions or sitting quietly and reward them with something simple. This will entice the others to behave.
     
  15. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Be very very careful about telling kids that they can't go to the bathroom.

    It's simply not right to make a kid who has to go to the bathroom wait until lunch.

    Punish their behavior any way you want, but let them go to the bathroom if they need to. Aside from all the other, far more important issues: when and if one child can't wait, your principal is going to hear it loud and clear from his parents.
     

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