i thought everything was going just fine

Discussion in 'New Teachers' started by keekum, Dec 11, 2008.

  1. keekum

    keekum Rookie

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    Dec 11, 2008

    hey guys, i'm new here. i thought i'd just do a little introspective rambling in front of an audience that might be able to give me some advice.

    up until about a week ago, i would have told you that i was having a pretty stellar first year. i mean, i have one or two classes that tend to grate on my nerves sometimes, but i never felt completely put off by them. then all of a sudden, this week, i hit my deepest low point. you see, i am relentlessly positive, which is both my strength and my downfall as a teacher -- i tend to have a lot of faith in my students, even when they probably don't deserve it. and that's one of the reasons why a couple of my classes have gotten kind of rambunctious, because instead of putting my foot down on things, i tend to let it slide after having an "i believe you can do better next time" chat with them.

    well, i talked to some other teachers and they suggested that i'm too nice, and students are taking advantage of me... and that the next time students behave inappropriately in my class, i should just kick them out. the mere suggestion seemed to go against every aspect of my personality. i resisted the idea for a while, but today--i finally did it. the kids i kicked out had already had several conferences with me, parent phone calls, and even previous referrals; what they did wasn't anything major, they just kind of blew up at each other in the middle of class (a few obscenities were uttered) and i had had enough and kicked them out. but instead of feeling satisfied, like other teachers said i would, i just feel... guilty. i hate feeling like this.

    i went out for coffee with some friends of mine who aren't teachers and they were amazed at how dazed and dejected i look. in fact, i didn't fully realize the state i'm in until they mentioned it. maybe i need to have a good cry, but i can't. maybe i'm more tired than i am dejected. it's kind of a chicken-and-egg conundrum; either i was exhausted, so i had a bad week, or i became exhausted because i had a bad week.

    i think the thing that's bothering me the most right now is that whenever people see me, they pity me. one of my non-teacher friends asked me tonight, "so, do you think you'll be a teacher next year?" it was a legitimate question, but it made me kind of defensive. of course i want to be a teacher next year. there are a lot of things i love about this job. it's just kind of frustrating me that things have suddenly taken such a disconcerting turn.

    i want to believe that i can bounce back from a bad week.
     
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  3. Mrs. K.

    Mrs. K. Enthusiast

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    Dec 11, 2008

    Of course you'll bounce back. My first year of teaching I was in tears three or four times a week!

    You sound like an "amiable" personality, like me. In my first few years, I let kids get away with far more than I should have. I got better at establishing an atmosphere of respect, and then this past summer I discovered Power Teaching. It's made a terrific difference in how I manage my classes, and I can be completely positive at the same time. Check it out! :)
     
  4. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Dec 12, 2008

    People who aren't teachers simply don't get it. Worse still, they THINK they get it, but they do't.

    After a while, you'll get into a groove. Next fall, you'll set up parameters for your class that you can live with, because you realize now just how important they are.

    I'm very lighthearted in class because I know I can be. The kids know that I'm playing by the rules, and that there will be consequences for their actions. I don't get nasty, but I'm consistent.

    Hang in there. And vent here, with your teacher friends. :)
     
  5. 1angel

    1angel Rookie

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    Dec 12, 2008

    Remember too that you are still finding yourself as well. You are still learning what things you can deal with and what you can't. I know that I let students get away with a lot really and I use humor to jump over things that do occur. I have such a tight repor with those kids that when they cross certain lines I don't really need to punish them they feel they have disapointed me. I lay the responsibility on them for their actions. I can't force them to do anything. I talk a lot about how I treat everyone kindly with respect even if I don't get that back. I absolutely stop students from speaking to me rudely consistantly every time. That is one area that I do not back down. I say repeatedly I will listen when your tone of voice sounds like mine.

    Have you looked into Love and Logic? You might be the type that would enjoy that. It gives some good sayings when you're in a pinch. I enjoy how it showed me how to put behavior onto the students and off of me.
    I have lots of favorite one liners from the program that I have memorized and rely on in a pinch, especially 'Let me get back to you on that' so I have time to think of a consequence since I am not a quick thinker.
    I also discovered where we make mistakes with our words as we leave a lot of loopholes that the kids of course see easily. Like when we say are you ready to go? we mean it's time to go, they hear are you ready and think no I'm not ready I'll keep working.
    They also talk about how to make discipline issues look like a piece of cake to take care of. This is hard to do, but there are some groups of kids who will get thrown off if you don't sweat anything they do.
    What I like best about this program is that you offer the kids a chance to save face and never disrespect them. They can correct their choices without feeling ridiculed by you or their friends.
    As with all methods of course it doesn't work for everything but I find it fits my laid back personality a lot more and I truly always have classes that are much happier and friendlier then the others in my grade do.
     
  6. mrachelle87

    mrachelle87 Fanatic

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    Dec 12, 2008

    Keep your chin up. I would rather have a teacher that cared for my child than one who is so rigid that they don't really know him. I am sure it will get better. Most of us had a bad first year. That is part of the job.
     
  7. ambritlit

    ambritlit Companion

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    Jan 2, 2009

    Wow! You sound like me last year at this time. It was my first year, and I struggled with these exact issues. I believe in speaking positive things to students, not just handing out demerits right and left. Some kids took advantage and should've been put out of class for their shenanigans. Others told me in at the end of the year that I sometimes allowed a few kids to keep the class from learning and that I needed to work on this next year. In spite of all of this, my students knew I cared about them and they chose me as the most encouraging teacher at the end of the year, which really meant a lot to me.

    I am not as lenient this year. I started out with several clearly outlined expectations, and I'm trying to be more consistent with discipline. I'm still fairly easy-going, that's just my personality, but I've maintained more control this year, and it's going well.

    I don't want to teach if I have to be the old battle-ax whose class everyone dreads. What's the point? I think every year will get easier as we develop our own identities as teachers.

    Hang in there - you won't regret it.
     
  8. ambritlit

    ambritlit Companion

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    Jan 2, 2009

    Wow! You sound like me last year at this time. It was my first year, and I struggled with these exact issues. I believe in speaking positive things to students, not just handing out demerits right and left. Some kids took advantage and should've been put out of class for their shenanigans. Others told me in at the end of the year that I sometimes allowed a few kids to keep the class from learning and that I needed to work on this next year. In spite of all of this, my students knew I cared about them and they chose me as the most encouraging teacher at the end of the year, which really meant a lot to me.

    I am not as lenient this year. I started out with several clearly outlined expectations, and I'm trying to be more consistent with discipline. I'm still fairly easy-going, that's just my personality, but I've maintained more control this year, and it's going well.

    I don't want to teach if I have to be the old battle-ax whose class everyone dreads. What's the point? I think every year will get easier as we develop our own identities as teachers.

    Hang in there - you won't regret it.
     
  9. ku_alum

    ku_alum Aficionado

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    Jan 2, 2009

    Welcome, KeeKum. I don't have any additional advice, just wanted to welcome another hs teacher to our ranks!
     
  10. MollyT

    MollyT Companion

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    Jan 3, 2009

    I am considered a strict teacher, but that doesnt mean I am a battle ax. It just means that my boundaries and consequences are consistent. If the rule is 2 warnings and then out, then that is what I apply. And I find that the kids really respond to it because they know where they stand. I have some really happy students in my class and many of them said they want to have me as their teacher again next year.

    I also have to say that having a verbal arguement (with obscenities) in the middle of my class is something that I would consider as a major rather than minor infraction.

    I dont think you should feel guilty about administering a stated consequence either. Just because you gave a punishment doesnt make you a not-nice person. In fact if you are consistent with your consequences the kids will respect you - and your classes can be even happier because you will have less behaviour related interuptions.

    I know that I am primary trained and things are different in high school - but I believe that at any age, being consistent helps.

    It is great to hear that you enjoy teaching - dont let this one week get you down - Good luck with the rest of the year.
     
  11. DHE

    DHE Connoisseur

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    Jan 3, 2009

    I will have to agree that consistency is the key to successful discipline. I am not sure if you have children of your own, but you know that we have to be tough with our children as well as consistent. It is not any different with our children in our class.
     

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