I need some advice

Discussion in 'Behavior Management' started by Dionne, May 10, 2007.

  1. Dionne

    Dionne New Member

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    May 10, 2007

    This is my sixth year teaching high school freshman English. There are only ten days left of school and I've just completed Romeo and Juliet with them. It was like pulling teeth. Now, when I get to the front of the room after the tardy bell, it takes me 5 minutes to get the class settled down and I am "chasing" after students all throughout the lesson: " Jamie, pick your head up. Aaron, back to your seat, I've asked you twice. Stop throwing paper balls! I'm going to have to call home if you keep talking." Let me not forget the constant cell phone use in class. Also, I have to do it with them because they refused to even try and read it on their own--ever. Now, I'm going to do the Odyssey as the closing unit and I am soooo tempted to just show the movie "The Odyssey" and then "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" Of course, they won't pay attention to the films either and they might get the message that I've just given up.

    I never know what to do. I've tried many things over the years, but I refuse to bribe them with candy or anything like that. Long term rewards like an end of the year party do not work either. They want immediate gratification and I cannot give it.

    Somebody's gotta have some logical, reasonable advice that won't involve me doing more work than I am already doing!
     
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  3. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    May 10, 2007

    This idea comes too late for this year:

    Is there any way to juggle the syllabus so the heavy stuff comes a bit earlier in the year? So they're doing something easier on the end, something they can play with a bit more without driving you nuts?

    Sorry, aside from that I don't have much to offer you.
     
  4. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    May 11, 2007

    Unfortunately, that kind of obnoxious behavior is EXACTLY why I chose to go into elementary education. I'm so sorry it is happening to you.
     
  5. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    May 11, 2007

    Cell phone use in class? Are you kidding?
     
  6. trulyblssd

    trulyblssd Companion

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    May 11, 2007

    I have the constant under the table or in the backpack text messaging going on in class. I take it away and a parent has to come and pick it up. It sucks, but that's the world we are in and cell phones are not banned from our school...whatta do?

    As for your problem Dionne....I am feeling you. It's almost as if they think they can come to class and do nothing for the next 4 weeks. My problem is that there are some teachers on campus that are doing exactly that and it's making things harder on me.

    Get stern! That's my advice! I add a little base in my voice, demand that they stop talking and sit down and we get to work. They mumble and huff and puff, but that doesn't bother me much.

    Make an assignment work a significant amount of points. The students that don't want thier grade to change or go down will get work. Those who don't care are not going to care regardless. Send them to the office if they don't want to be respectful in class.

    I hope this helps!
     
  7. creativemonster

    creativemonster Cohort

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    May 11, 2007

    I saw this recently on another thread and have used it myself - split the class into groups and have each group read a section and then they present and summarize that section for the rest of the class. That takes care of the summarizing part - But how do they relate to it? Maybe then they watch Oh Brother and discuss connections to the book. ...Just an idea.
     
  8. Dionne

    Dionne New Member

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    May 21, 2007

    That's nice, but they DON'T want to learn. Have you taught high school freshman at an inner-city school?
     
  9. CindyBlue

    CindyBlue Cohort

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    May 21, 2007

    Oceanus, have you ever taught in an inner city school?
     
  10. Dionne

    Dionne New Member

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    May 21, 2007

    I appreciate your response, but there seems to be some assumptions made on your part. For example, I think you are assuming that I am not creative and that I think the students are there for me. This is not true. I pride myself on being creative and I worked my ass off for a long time finding new things that interested them, that were relevant, and engaging. However, while the students may have claimed to "love" my class, the quality of their work was low, and their behavior was out of control. Since then, I have slowed down on inventing new assignments every semester and have relied on the textbook more. The students still claim to "love" my class, but the behavior is still poor and I am doing less work.

    I don't understand why certain teachers feel the need to become self-righteous when doling out advice or even just participating in a conversation with a colleague. Maybe the profession attracts people who have a lot to prove. In any case, I have read many professional books, been to conferences, and am working on a Ph.D. in creative writing, so I feel your assumptions are both unfounded and unnecessary.

    Sometimes, it is important to just be honest, admit that we are not in control of another human being, and admit also that there are many many kids in this country who do not want or value their education. Maybe it's not always the "teacher's fault."
     
  11. BeckyPie7

    BeckyPie7 Companion

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    May 22, 2007

    Boy do I agree! I feel that alot of the advice I get is self-righteous. Lots of the time I feel that they are telling me just how AWESOME they are as a teacher and how horrible I am. I've come to this belief after just one year of teaching and asking for advice.
    I don't teach in an inner-city setting but I do teach in a very rural, very poor area. My freshman english classes are so out of control it's rediculous. I've beat my brains out trying new thing after new thing, after new thing. I just wish that some of the people here would realize that not everything works the same for everyone. Not everyone is the super teacher that many of these other teachers think they are. If that makes sense.
     
  12. Tigers

    Tigers Habitué

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    May 22, 2007

    Often it is critical for teachers to re-evaluate their teaching. I do not read Oceanus' post to be presumptious. You stated that they were not going to pay attention to whatever film you showed, thus Oceanus suggested that you involve the students more than just showing them a movie.

    I am not trying to be self-righteous when saying this, but I would consider breaking up into small groups to do the reading then show the movie in parts after you read that portion of the text. If your kids will really enjoy O Brother, where art thou? then show them this after completing the book. If they aren't going to pay attention to it either way then just skip that part. There are other suggestions but this seems to change your lesson the least.
     
  13. trulyblssd

    trulyblssd Companion

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    May 22, 2007

    You'd be amazed! That works wonders! I do it with Macbeth and although they want to see the movie all at once they have told me that watching it as we read helps them get a better understanding.

    As for the self-righteousness...I think that when you are a certain amount of years in a job you forget what it was like when you were first starting out or what it was like when you had that one "demon" class. I vow to never forget my block 3, because I am truly learning what not to do next year. Yes, you are right, there are some kids who just do not want to learn (I can count them on my hands) and there is absolutly nothing you can do to change thier minds. However; you can sleep at night knowing that you tried. When you've done all you can reach the ones that want to be there.

    Do you have an support from your admin?
     
  14. Joyride

    Joyride Comrade

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    May 22, 2007

    God, I can't even imagine having a cell phone at school. I'm sure our school probably outright banned them.
     
  15. Research_Parent

    Research_Parent Cohort

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    May 22, 2007

    Since its the end of the school year, and you have faithfully finished Romeo and Juliet is there anyway to introduce a unit where the students are responsible for writing the "second act" during class together.

    You take the first act of a popular play and have them write the second act to the play. I'm thinking something easy. Basically, during class you break out into small groups, one person acts as transcriber for their ideas, and then you come back together and "write" the next few lines. After each class, write what they agree to and repeat until the last week. Then, like the last 3 days actually watch the film to the play.

    Personally, I don't like any of the literature you suggested, and was very bored in HS when presented with such material.
     
  16. ms_chandler

    ms_chandler Comrade

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    May 22, 2007

    I'm not sure if this is helpful advice, but I'll offer it anyways.

    One of my friends taught in an inner city school in New Orleans (pre-Katrina), and she struggled teaching Romeo and Juliet. She basically didn't teach The Odyssey at all. For Rome and Juliet, there is a modern book, Romiette and Julio. I have never read the book personally, but she used this book to compare and contrast. From what I understand (from what she told me), the main theme is similar. It isn't like a modern adaptation or anything. She said that it was still tough to teach Romeo and Juliet, but this definitely helped to peak their interest. If you have a chance during the summer, maybe you could look into it. My friend had originally read this book in an Adolescent Lit. class two years before in college.

    I teach 7th grade because teaching at the high school level was not my forte'. I loved the kids, but the literature bored me. I didn't feel like that was the best situation for either of us. I wish you good luck.
     
  17. stac4742

    stac4742 Rookie

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    May 27, 2007

    Hello Dionne and everyone!
    I agree with one of the replys of getting very firm and stern. I always like to "be real" with my students and share with them the consequences of their behavior. Like, "OK, if you want to take an F, I'll give it to you." I know this may sound harsh, but that's sometimes what it takes to get their attention. I also say things like, "You know, if I played around in school, I would not be a teacher today, I'd be saying, would you like to biggie-size that?" It's the honest truth, and kids like some of us have need that realness. Best wishes, it's almost over!!
     
  18. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    May 28, 2007

     
  19. smilingteacher

    smilingteacher Rookie

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    May 28, 2007

    Dionne your doing great keep up the good work! How supportive are the parents?

    lol "You know, if I played around in school, I would not be a teacher today, I'd be saying, would you like to biggie-size that"

    I love that qoute and will be using that in my classroom. I am not an fully credential teacher, yet I am working on my credential for high school and substitue teach in suburban schools. Ive never worked in an inner city school. This is what works for me.

    Freshman can be very difficult to work with I feel your pain. I've seen a few classes that start like this:

    Bell rings questions on the board and students do a quickwrite. another class has them read for 15-20 minutes. This can work well if the students know they have to sit down and do the activity. If the students are off task they lose points. Yes, the teacher still has to remind them to get on task. How do you start class?

    I really hate cellphones in the class. I use to warn, now I just take the cell phone and turn it into administration. If the student doesnt give the cell phone over 1 day suspension.

    I tell the students if it takes more than five seconds for me to get your attention you will not get the reward at the end of class. I will count to 5 and expect them to turn around and be listening.

    Freshmen in high school are always hard and always difficult. They are this way for many reasons that we all know. Teach them great behaviors as you do now and watch them grow.
     
  20. eduk8r

    eduk8r Enthusiast

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    May 28, 2007

    It's not self-righteous at all to say this. It's just real. If you've ever watched "Anne of Green Gables" or read older literature, students torturing teachers or not paying attention is a time-honored tradition! :) And not just an inner-city thing.

    All I know is, here it's a teaching standard that you "actively support and engage all learners." In other words, it is our responsibility. And we are always expected to reflect on and assess not only our learners but our methods.

    I know die of boredom in a situation where I have to listen to someone talk longer than 15 minutes straight. And if the trainings I go to are any example, so do other teachers. When the trainer goes on and on the teachers start playing and talking, too! (Sometimes it's embarrassing!) LOL

    So we can't expect kids to like it--not saying you do that, you didn't say. But there is a way for you to get them interested through participation. Reader's theatre, in my experience, gets even the most reluctant readers excited about reading 'cause they want to do the voice parts. It's a play, so you have a great opportunity here.

    So that's another suggestion, hope you get lots more! :)
     

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