Is it normal to STILL have class management problems in your second year?

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by Teacher_Lyn, Jan 9, 2009.

  1. Teacher_Lyn

    Teacher_Lyn Companion

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    Jan 9, 2009

    I'm extremely frustrated right now because this is year two and I am still struggling with class management. granted I am at a new school than last year, but still.

    I yell A LOT and yesterday when I had an evaluation with the VP, she bought that up. She said I'm excellent in almost everything else, but class management needs work. That when the lesson ended and I told the kids to stop and listen they kept moving around making noise and stuff.

    She said she walks by my classroom and can hear me sometimes yelling through the door and it sounds like I am yelling out of frustration, which will lead to teacher burnout.

    I hate yelling, but i get so angry because when I'm in the middle of teaching, there are some kids that are constantly playing with their fingers, paper, whispering, drawing, whatever. I try changing their color on the behavior chart, which sometimes makes matters worse because then they REALLY won't do their work anymore. And while I am attending to one problem, 4 more arise around the room.

    Last year, I had that problem for awhile, but then the kids started shaping up. Plus my room was twice the size of this one, so I could always keep an eye on them.

    New school room has an awful set up and no matter how many times I try to redo it, I've always got my back to someone.

    It's just so hard and it's not helping that I am already depressed and cry myself to sleep most nights due to another personal crisis in my life.

    So it's like, I come to school and am depressed and stressed because of my students, then i go home and am depressed and stressed because of my crisis.

    It's no wonder I have no energy and bags under my eyes :(
     
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  3. 101dalmatian

    101dalmatian Companion

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    Jan 9, 2009

    You will always have to adjust your classroom management. But your principal is right yelling will burn you out. We just did a workshop using Fred Jones Tools for Teaching. He talks about giving the students the "I am not amused" look. You simply just make direct eye contact with them with out saying a word until they get back on task. You also do this when they talk back or want to agrue, this is a huge issue in our school. This actually does work, I've done it this past week and have seen a change in their behavior.

    When you call attention to a student for doing something wrong you loose the entire class because they look at the child misbehaving, which is what they usually want. Just giving the "look" it makes them uncomfortable and saves your voice.

    I am sorry you are going through a personal crisis, I hope everything works out for you.
     
  4. MissFroggy

    MissFroggy Aficionado

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    Jan 9, 2009

    Yelling can't be a good thing. Also, I find that every year I must find a classroom management technique that works for the particular group I have. It sounds like card flipping is not effective with this group (I never found it effective for my class.)

    Keep trying new things. Maybe you need a ticket or token system or something that focuses more on the positive.
     
  5. Teacher_Lyn

    Teacher_Lyn Companion

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    i'm almost afraid to type this for fear i could jinx it, but after i posted this morning i decided i wasn't going to yell at my class today. i was like -- i'll just enforcethe rules and talk low and take notes on what sorts of problems i have and think of solutions over the weekend.

    would you believe that my class problems were cut in half, i feel less stressed and i got a lot more done today. so apparently, not screaming my head off is effective.
     
  6. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    Jan 9, 2009

    That's great, Lyn!! I know that it takes a few years to perfect your classroom management skills, and what works for one class might not work for another. Each year you learn new tricks that you can use when needed.
     
  7. firstgradeteach

    firstgradeteach Comrade

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    Good for you! I'm in my third year of teaching and I think that I'm FINALLY getting closer to having an okay classroom management. I agree that it takes time to figure out what works for YOU and YOUR KIDS. One thing that I did this year is apply more power teaching techniques. The kids have taken more ownership of their learning and behavior. I have students reminding other students of rules when they are breaking them. If I say, "hands and eyes" the students immediately clasp their hands and stare at me. This is something that worked for me, but it is an idea to look into.

    I hope that both of your problems show an upside soon! It sounds like you are on a great start, and have a great plan!
     
  8. adventuresofJ

    adventuresofJ Comrade

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    Jan 9, 2009

    I just finished a book called The Reluctant Disciplinarian, it was a good read and might be helpful for you.
     
  9. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    It takes WAAYYY more than one year before you have this teaching thing down pat. I'm in year 23 and I'm still working on it.
     
  10. MuggleBug

    MuggleBug Companion

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    My eye muscle felt all strained and my eye was bloodshot the other day and I swear it's from giving "THE LOOK" to so many of my students this week...:lol: Unfortunately it wasn't really working for me this week, my kids were nutty.

    Lyn, I feel much better when I can get through a day without getting aggravated at a kid. I think one component is just really piling on the praise/rewards for the kids that are behaving. I have middle schoolers so that doesn't always work because they don't always like having attention on them (positive or negative) but with the elementary kids it's usually pretty effective.
     
  11. firstgradeteach

    firstgradeteach Comrade

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    I'm glad to read this! Sometimes I think that I am the only one! I try to explain to my husband that it is probably a never ending process! However, it is important that you are always trying to do your best and thats all we can ask for.
     
  12. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Jan 9, 2009

    EAch year you have different kids. Each day (each period in HS) they're bringing in different emotional baggage.

    The other day, the top student in my slow class was totally out of it-- head down, totally in a fog. When I spoke to him about it, he said that he had had an arguement with his mom before leaving home that morning, and it was bothering him.

    Another kid would have acted out, but Frank just zoned out.

    I have many fewer bad periods now than in 1980, but they still sneak up on me.
     
  13. frogger

    frogger Devotee

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    Jan 9, 2009

    I agree with this - I didn't know there was a name for it and it seems to work for the most part - I have a about 5 rowdy boys that just annoy everyone else in the room and I think they've gotten away with things in other years and especially at home.
     
  14. Tasha

    Tasha Phenom

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  15. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Oh, yeah. Every teacher needs "The Look."
     
  16. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    First year teachers think they are there to change the world. I remember thinking that my first year. And then reality hits! Schools really can't prepare you for the varying personalities that you'll encounter in your room and how they work with or against each other. By the second year, we think we have all the kinks worked out, but then we're hit with a totally different group of students, and what worked last year isn't working this year.

    One of the hardest things to understand (for me anyway), was that I wasn't going to be perfect 100% of the time. I'll be entering my third year and its taken me until now to realize this.
     
  17. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    Jan 9, 2009

    That's a great point, STG. Things just won't always go as planned, so we just keep trying until we find something that does work. Another issue with yelling, in my opinion, is that kids really like to get a rise out of you, so yelling won't help the situation.
     
  18. bonneb

    bonneb Fanatic

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    Yes it is normal to still be working on class management in year 2! I have to work on it every year. Each year you get a new group and what works for one will not work for another. Some years the kids are just a good mix of personalities and maturity, some years the mix is a mess.

    One thing though, you will need to work on the yelling. I know it is super frustrating at times but when you yell you are telling the world "I have no control here." Kids know it too. Try talking softer and softer the more frustrated you are. Train them to get nervous when your voice softens. :D

    The behaviors you described are totally normal for that age and I don't see them warranting turning a color. Playing with things in their desks, etc. I have had a child sit next to me in our chapel service, pull a thread out of his shirt, and make a little toy out of the string. I think that is why they pick their noses too - gives them something interesting to play with . :D:D

    I would start all over. Explain to the students what your expectations are. Try reading the Love and Logic series, which really really helped me get out of the yelling and frustration cycle. Don't stress out over behaviors that are normal kid behaviors. Don't stress out over a noise level someone else might not like. Make it your class and manage it so the kids know the boundaries and are secure knowing you will enforce them.

    I can sure feel your pain. It is tough teaching the little ones! Get your day structured so kids know what is coming and when. Keep them hopping with their work. Use music for transitions. Keep lessons to 10-15 minutes, then break for some movement. Let them earn extra recess time. And the Love and Logic videos are fantastic. The man who wrote the book actually HIT a kid once, he was so frustrated. This was years ago, and the kid's mom knew the kid "probably deserved it." But it made Jim Faye realize that what he was doing was not working. So he watched the one teacher in school who had the kids eating out of her hand, without ever yelling or giving punitive consequences. Try to find the videos.
     
  19. BB0211

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    Yelling will NEVER work. In fact, yelling is probably making their behavior worse. It also implies that you are out of control and the students definitely lose respect for you. In return, they will not work as hard to please you. Please stop yelling now.

    As far as the paper crinkling, pens tapping, etc. They are very young children. Not adults or soldiers. You are the adult and this is where patience is required. Things like this will happen everyday, but you can't take your frustration out on them for being kids. Count to 10 and take a breather if you are frustrated.

    If someone is doing something you don't like then stop and wait. If they don't get the hint tell them you are timing them. Keep track of how many seconds they made you wait and then make them wait either before recess lunch or at the end of the day. They won't like having to wait AT ALL.
     
  20. Arky

    Arky Comrade

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    Jan 9, 2009

    Classroom management is something that can be a problem often. One year you might have a better class than the next. Discipline problems use to be the number one reason why teachers quit their jobs so you are not alone. Here are a few ideas that might help. I hope so anyway.
    When my children are loud and I need them to get quiet I do two things. First, I say clap once if you can hear me, some clap, clap twice if you can hear me. more clap, clap three times if you can hear me and by this time almost everyone if not everyone is quiet. You can do this without raising your voice. Another thing I do if I see children playing at their desk as you stated is I say, since you are taking your recess now I will have to take some time off your recess. That works every time. You have to follow through though if someone continues to talk. Take 5 minutes. Third thing I say to get them back to work is, Oh dear, I must not of given you enough work. I still hear people talking and that tells me they must be finished. Again, they stop talking and get to work.
     
  21. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Lowering your voice can be an effective tool too. Lower your voice and work on an angry tone. The kids who can hear you will get the point and they'll get the others to stop.
     
  22. 773 Miles Away

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    Yeah to me yelling is like an empty threat... and they can see tht nothing is going to come from it aside from the teacher getting mad. It's not the yelling that calms kids down... its the consequences. Which is why logical and consistent consequences is what does the trick.

    Yelling, however, does work when used very very sparingly.... For the class that I only see 1.5 hours a day for math... they never ever ever ever had to hear me yell. One day this group was just driving me nuts and suddenly I snapped over a LOUD and STERN "Excuse me!" ... and they were stunned! In fact, the whole class froze out of fear... lol. I actually got a bit red because I was a bit stunned myself... lol. But it worked. But moreso, I followed it up with a more calm, but stern, explanation of the problem and outline of consequences. But they knew there was no messing around.

    If I did tht every day they would just think... all talk and no action. Or.... "yeah yeah yeah... whatever, she's just raising her voice yet again..."

    So long as you can reflect on what you did well and what you need to improve on, then I think you'll be fine.
     
  23. DHE

    DHE Connoisseur

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    Jan 10, 2009

    Classroom management can be a problem at different degrees from one year to another. My class last year(4th yr) was very active and for the first time in all my observations I was cited for management issues. I had to change my approach. This year, my students are a good group and they are on target.
     
  24. mom2ohc

    mom2ohc Habitué

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    Lyn, I am sorry that you are so stressed out! It is hard to get a good rhythm with classroom management, and yeah, you already heard, and already know that yelling does not work, for me, I find that the more engaged that my kids are, the less time for off task behavior. I always have (in second grade) student of the day, of the morning, of whatever, and some may call it bribery, but I give out candy all the time, for clean desks, for neat work, for nice listening, whatever, also stickers, tons of them, they love stickers. They have free time folders with puzzles, games and fun worksheets - and they stick their stickers all over there. when they have 10 or 15 or however many, they can come show me, and then I have another prize box with Oriental tradind stuff in it. ( oh and left over goodie bag treats from my own children, good way to recycle. :lol)

    so, anyhow, I guess my approach is positive reinforcement at all ends.

    good luck, second graders are so much fun.
     
  25. LiveNLearn

    LiveNLearn Comrade

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    Jan 10, 2009

    Great active listening tricks for any grade:
    Say "Hands Up" and wait for everyone to have their hands up.
    Say "Hands Together" and wait for everyone to have their hands up and together.
    Say "Hands Down". Expect that they stay that way, and if they don't do it again.

    Another thing that we have a lot of fun with is the "power teaching" attention getter of classity class class, and they say yessity yes yes. I say it as goofy as I can and they have to respond in the same goofy way.
     
  26. lcriner

    lcriner New Member

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    Feb 2, 2009

    Lindsey Criner

    Hi, I'm so sorry that you are having trouble. I am not a teacher yet, but I am working on becoming one, and should be if everything goes to according to plan in a couple of years. I read your post and it made me feel so sorry for you that you are going through this struggle! I think that children today are really harder to care for then they were 10, 5 years ago. I"m not sure if parents just don't want to take the time to discipline their childeren or maybe children today are just not as respectful and caring about the ones older than they are nowadays, or maybe it is a little of both mixed together. I'm not a teacher yet so I cant say that I know how you feel but I can say that the ones who still try to please you and behave during class, hold on to that, and hopfully the example that they are setting will rub off on the trouble makers! Hang in there and keep your head up high! And remember, everything has a silver lining! Lindey Criner North Arkansas student in Harrison Arkansas.
     
  27. bonneb

    bonneb Fanatic

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    I've started having trouble with my class. They seem to get wilder every day. I finally realized that I was not planning thoroughly and there were too many lag times when they could get into trouble. Second graders at this time of year - give about two weeks of non-stop work. Make them fly through the day without hardly a breath. This tactic often works for me when I realize I am not managing the time correctly. Just a thought. Have every paper, book, illustration, example, everything right at your fingertips at the front of the room and have them hopping from one thing to another, and lots of time spend in the seats. Let them earn activity time at the end of the day after they have worked their little booties off!
     

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