I have the 6th period from hell! I need a new strategy! Help!!!!

Discussion in 'High School' started by englishteacher9, Sep 14, 2009.

  1. englishteacher9

    englishteacher9 New Member

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    Sep 14, 2009

    Hello Everyone,

    I am a new teacher. I am teaching English I to 9th graders. I am blessed to have 4 periods of respectful, hard-working, good natured kids. However, like I'm sure many teachers experience, I am stuck with the 6th period from hell!

    I have over ten different competing personalities in this classroom. I have 2 kids with ADHD that I have sitting upfront that I have to monitor ALL THE TIME, and the class in general is rude, refuses to quiet down or pay attention, and does not respect me as their teacher. The kids have a terrible attitude, they think everything is a joke, and they oftentimes shout out inappropriate things or give ridiculous responses when we are discussing literature. They do not respect my authority, a few openly mock me, they are never on task, they never pay attention, they overtalk me, and the entire vibe of the classroom is BAD, BAD, BAD. It has a very toxic energy and it not conducive to learning whatsoever. Every time I turn around the counselor is transferring another behavioral problem into the class. My students that have been transferred into the class from other periods HATE IT and are begging the counselor to switch them back.

    I have thusfar called parents, have talked to the AP that says he will come to observe and offer suggestions but never does, have changed the seating chart several times, and have kicked 2 students out to the teacher across the hall who is really agressive and strict and teachers the older grades which seems to intimidate the 9th graders. However, somewhere I went wrong with this period. I set the wrong tone, gave them the wrong impression, or made some sort of error that communicated to them that my class is a free-for-all. I can't kick 10 kids out of the class; I have to figure out a solution that I can implement to get this class under control. I am in the beginning of week three. The management strategies that work like a charm in my other periods are an EPIC fail in my 6th.

    Are there any veteran teachers or teachers who have shared a similar experience who can offer me advice or suggestions? Both classroom management and instructional strategies are welcome! I would appreciate any help that you can offer from the bottom of my heart!
     
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  3. Mrs. K.

    Mrs. K. Enthusiast

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    Sep 15, 2009

    Welcome, and my goodness, you have my sympathies! I have never had a class that bad, but I'm going to suggest you go to the Whole Brain Teaching website and download Teaching Challenging Teens. WBT is a completely free grassroots program that addresses both classroom management and instruction, and it was developed right here in CA. I went to a WBT seminar last summer, and I've been using a few of the strategies - granted, I teach in a pretty affluent town and the kids are mostly cooperative, but I'm all for anything that makes my day a little easier.

    Take a look - what have you got to lose?
     
  4. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Sep 15, 2009

    If that doesn't work, grab a copy of Teaching With Love and Logic and see if that might help. It's meant more for teachers who don't care to bellow through an entire period. If you look through this forum, you'll find plenty of discussion on Love and Logic. It even seems to work for my online classroom!
     
  5. gr8_life

    gr8_life Companion

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    Sep 16, 2009

    Seriously, my 6th period is my worst too. I think it's the time of day coupled w/ the fact that that you get the seniors in there that are making up units for classes they failed, etc. ACK!

    I would try to make the inapprop. behaviors a part of their grade, it has to impact their points for the class, etc.

    I would plan a 56 min. class ( or whatever it is ) into 4 segments and never lecture more than 15 mins. Build activity and hands- on stuff the students could do. Have a routine, but vary your approach-- films, PowerPoints, discussions, small groups, ind. activities, etc.

    Hope this helps! Report back soon! :help:
     
  6. Vegas Art Guy

    Vegas Art Guy Rookie

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    Sep 18, 2009

    How set in stone are your routines and procedures? How consistent are you in your consequences? Have you sacrificed any students to the dean yet? You might want to restart the year on Monday with routines and procedures and make them stick. Notice I did not say rules, those are different. Sorry this is scattered but I am typing all the questions that are popping up into my sleep deprived brain.
     
  7. Dawn09

    Dawn09 Rookie

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    Sep 18, 2009

    I can certainly feel your pain. I have the same sort of situation going on that sends me to tears practically every day. This week it hit such a low that I went right to the principal, crying my eyes out, saying I needed help. I am a brand new teacher and have never had a class like this before. This is what has been done for me that seems to have worked so far (only been with the new routine for two days)

    First, the vice principals sat in the class while I started to see what the kids were actually like. Of course, they were on fairly good behavior, but they were able to see a few situations. Then, they had a chat with the students regarding the course and the expectations and that we were a team and they were supporting me in how I would deal with the classroom behavior.

    Second, I found my "inner b*". I put out a seating plan and when they said "Miss are you serious, we are in grade 12" (yes, these are grade 12 students!) I simply stated "you certainly are not acting like grade 12's and until you can, this is your new seat" I also run mental math at the start of every class which they are marked on. This gives them a reason to get to class on time because they will get a zero if they are late and miss it. If you aren't doing math, try to work in an opening question that will settle them and let them know this is a class to work.

    Also, I write our daily schedule on the board so they know what we are doing that day. I have learned to always write down more than you think you will do because once they hit the last item on the list, they will shut down and you won't get them back because in their mind they are done.

    As for management, I told the students yesterday that this class is a place to learn and that I will no longer allow them to disrupt that environment. If they want to be a fool and act inappropriately, waste class time, disrespect me and others, they can get out now - there is the door. (no one would actually walk out). Then I said that they can all count to 3 and that is what they should know "three strikes and you are out". I say that the first strike is a verbal warning where I will tell them what they are doing that is inappropriate. The second is a written warning, where I will put their name on the board. If they hit this stage they will have a phone call home at the end of the day. Third strike, they are out. Get out of class, go to the office, you are no longer able to function in this room for the day.

    Again, I'm still new myself but this has worked for the two days I have been using it. I can report back more as time goes on. I would be interested in what you have found/tried that may be working so far for you as well. Its very upsetting and frustrating to be in this situation so its kind of nice to know others are in the same position. We must stick together!

    Good Luck! :)
     
  8. spock

    spock Rookie

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    Sep 19, 2009

    Lets get this straight: YOU DID NOTHING WRONG!!!!!
    I haver taught for 31 years and believe it is not your fault.
    Get the school staff to help you.
    Change schedules-change students change classes.
    Keep at it.
    I Know you can!
     
  9. gr8_life

    gr8_life Companion

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    Sep 19, 2009

    I don't know what you wear to work to teach in, but you might try dressing a more professionally. I would wear a jacket, for instance. Don't dress like your students, it will help you get more respect from them.
     
  10. sciencegurl

    sciencegurl Companion

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    Sep 22, 2009

    I like Dawn09's plan. I've taught in a room like this before and it royally sucks. I have a resource period like it now and I'm figuring out strategies for them. I might work in an incentive for them (free 10 minutes at the end of the hour if they've not had any names on the board?). I do like the idea of calling home. For lots of kids, this is a kick. They do NOT want parents knowing about their disrespect. Unfortunately, it won't help those that don't care, but the 3 strikes will.
     
  11. Vegas Art Guy

    Vegas Art Guy Rookie

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    Sep 22, 2009

    And document everything as well. That way when you do send a student to the office you have documentation that you tried other things first. If your school uses Easy Grade Pro, there is a function to input notes for students. That way when the office contacts the parents they have back up as well.
     
  12. Special-t

    Special-t Enthusiast

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    Sep 27, 2009

    I feel for you. Sometimes it's tough to motivate 9th graders. I've seen horrible 9th graders shape up in 11th grade because they want to graduate.

    If any of your rowdy students are in sports, you can try to work with their coaches to create consequences they care about.
     
  13. Mr.MiddleSchool

    Mr.MiddleSchool Comrade

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    Oct 5, 2009

    After-school detention is always an option! Works wonders.

    If you/your team generates a list of parents' email addresses at the beginning of the school year, shoot them an email. Parents appreciate teachers keeping them "in-the-know" of their children... b/c let's face it, the majority of high school and middle school students don't really talk all that much to their parents about school when they get home.

    If any of them are involved with sports tell their coaches. Like after-school detention, when you get their coaches involved you are messing with "their time" and that is the worst thing any teacher can do to a middle schooler/high schooler. They will shape up really quick when they realize your not joking.

    If all else fails have regular "prayer meetings" with Jack Daniels and Captain Morgan when it is convienent for you at your house. :D Just kidding.... this is high school your talking about here. Got to laugh when you can!

    Best of luck!
     
  14. mana

    mana New Member

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    Oct 7, 2009

    As others have said, you have to be consistent and follow through with your consequences. Just the other day, one of the other teachers was having trouble with his class and he said he was going to keep them after the bell. He said since they wasted his time, he was going to waste theirs. When the bell rang, however, he let the students go. Obviously this is a problem because it makes it look like he'll never follow through on any threats. Needless to say, that class still gives him problems.
     
  15. deserttrumpet

    deserttrumpet Comrade

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    Oct 8, 2009

    Sometimes you can change a kid's (or two) schedule just to break up the bad chemistry. Get the kid in an earlier class or with another teacher in another hour (Make sure the other teacher is okay with this and has fair warning). I've swapped kids with teachers before, where we trade a problem student. It almst always works out better. When choosing a kid to move try to find the key leader. It is amazing what one kid can do to the chemistry of one class.
     
  16. japhyr

    japhyr Rookie

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    Oct 11, 2009

    Can you give us an update? How's it going?
     

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