I need help PLEASE!!

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by Olivesmom, Sep 12, 2007.

  1. Olivesmom

    Olivesmom Rookie

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    Sep 12, 2007

    Hello, I am a first grade teacher at a private inner-city school that is part of the choice program. I have 25 kids and today was the worst day I have ever had teaching. This is my second year teaching but first year at this school and first year teaching first on my own. My kids just seem out of control. All I have been doing since day one is procedures and practicing following directions. I have not done any teaching. I had a glimmer of hope on Friday when we had a quiet line in the hallway and we got compliments. However, today I couldn't keep their attention for five minutes. I have also started yelling quite a bit, I believe out of frustration and apparently some parents complained about my yelling (my room is right by the office so my room is pretty much in view all the time, lucky me) so now I am worried that I am going to get fired or just lose my mind. I feel like I am going insane! I don't want to yell and I feel absolutely embarrased and horrible that it is bad enough that parents complained but I am at my wits end with these kids. My principal is helpful and being supportive, but I just don't know what else to do. There are so many of them and we are packed in my room like sardines. Many of them come from homes where their dads or brothers are in jail. I just feel like I have tried everything that I was taught and it works once and then it is out the window. Please help or just send your stories my way, something. I just feel like maybe I picked the wrong profession if it is turning me into a person that hollers at six year olds.
     
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  3. tchecse

    tchecse Companion

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    Sep 12, 2007

    Okay, first of all, take a deep breath:) I know you feel the pressure of being a new teacher and trying to be a great educator, but discipline has to be addressed first so learning can take place. Second, I would suggest that you start an incentive program right away that is based on "earning" versus taking away. This will help the kids learn that none of the fun things they want to do can be done if work hasn't happened yet. This means recess, centers, etc. I would assign each task/transition/activity a minutes value and then it will be up to the kids to earn this time. If they only earn 5 minutes of recess, oh well.. But if they know they could have had 20 minutes, well, they will remember that the next time they had to come in right when they just started having fun. I would make a visual to this so that the kids can see their recess time adding up throughout the day. Another thing I would try is to acknowledge the kids who are following directions and then in a calm voice explain what they are going to get to do that those who are not listening will not. While the other kids will be "goofing around" while this explanation is being given, the lesson hits home really quickly when they think they are on the way to recess and bam! you stop them and make them sit out. I had to resort to both of these methods this summer with a group of 19 rising kindergarteners who didn't speak English as a first language (if at all) and believe me, it worked! This really cut down on the amount of yelling I felt like I was doing, plus it allowed the children who were making good choices to be acknowledged for their efforts (even if there is only 1 or 2 of them).
     
  4. firstgrade

    firstgrade Rookie

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    Sep 12, 2007

    Boy, do I hear you! Until recently, I was working at a new charter school, which had a great vision. However, the administration did not provide us with any support or resources, and without that the vision would never happen. The school was completely disorganized and had no structure. We had no curriculum, no chairs (we were borrowing folding chairs), no special education teacher, and no lunch break for the teachers, just to name a few. However, we were promised all of those things and much more. I was teaching first grade as well, and the students were mostly from the inner city. I had major behavior problems in my class, and found myself doing a lot of yelling as well, which I hated. We had no paraprofessionals or teaching assistants in our classrooms, even though we were told they had hired multiple people. I believe that when people are put into a situation like that, they feel incompetant and that they are not great teachers. Please don't feel that way! I am sure you are a great teacher, but the situation you are in makes it very difficult. Do you have support in your classroom, or are you able to have a paraprofessional for a few hours to help with the discipline so that you can teach? I am sorry that I do not have more help, but I know it helps to hear that you are not alone!
     
  5. maroki

    maroki Comrade

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    Sep 12, 2007

    I second the deep breath!!

    I teach first grade at a school much like yours, and I have 24 students. It makes a huge difference to have that many kids to teach routines and procedures to, not to mention discipline, in the beginning of the year.

    I think the poster before me had a lot of good ideas. One of the most important things that I think you should remember/concentrate on is that you won't get any good teaching done until the students are under control and disciplined. So, don't worry as much about academics right now as using the lessons as an opportunity to teach routines and manage the children. Give them a handwriting worksheet and tell them there is absolutely no talking. Either reward those who aren't talking with minutes of some positive activity or take minutes away from those who are talking.

    One thing that has been working with my children lately as well is telling them the amount of work that needs to be done before they are allowed __________ (insert fun activity). I'll show them a lesson/activity, etc. and tell them we have to finish it before recess. If recess comes and we are still working for whatever reason, we will keep working until it is done.

    I hope it gets better!!
     
  6. Olivesmom

    Olivesmom Rookie

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    Sep 12, 2007

    Thank you for your posts. I have a system where I give the kids "gotchas" when they are caught doing something good. They will then be able to spend them in our "gotcha" store on Fridays. They really like these and today was the first day that I didn't give any out. I really like the idea about earning recess. I feel like that is something I shouldn't take away because they need it but I need something that they really like that they can work for. I was just so embarrassed that people actually commented on my yelling. It was a real wake-up call and just makes me feel awful. I know other teachers yell, I have heard them, but I think since I am right next to the office that I have kind of been on display. I am going to try just talking in a regular voice tomorrow all day and not raise my voice, take deep breaths :) etc. I pretty much have to because on top of this I have a horrible cold that has settled in my throat so I can't really yell anyway :) Thank you all so much I really like these boards because I feel like I"m not alone.
     
  7. kinderkids

    kinderkids Virtuoso

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    Sep 12, 2007

    Do you put up a daily schedule to help the kids know what will be happening throughout the day? These children sound like they need LOTS of structure (they probably don't have much of it at home). By posting a daily schedule, it will allow you to guide the children through the day....."we will have recess as soon as we finish x,y,z" This is a small thing, but it could help.
     
  8. Pattie

    Pattie Companion

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    Sep 14, 2007

    Try planning some really engaging project like making spiders with 8 black legs out of construction paper while you teach them about spiders and show & read some cool books with great pictures. Or learning about ocean animals, kids usually LOVE that. If they are really engaged in an activity that's half your battle right there. All the others have posted great ideas too. Try a fun learning and see if they mellow a little and concentrate.
     
  9. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    Sep 14, 2007

    If they're having trouble listening or talking over you, just continue to drone(yes, drone)..."I will start when you are quiet". Do this enough times in a monotone drone voice and they'll get tired of hearing it. I'm sure being in an inner-city school, these kiddos are used to yelling so that doesn't phase them a bit.
     

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