Is this normal?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by K-5_teacherguy, May 12, 2015.

  1. K-5_teacherguy

    K-5_teacherguy Companion

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    May 12, 2015

    I will start by saying that I am still very inexperienced as an educator, I completed two different student teaching placements, a couple months of day to day subbing, and am now a long term sub. So keep that in mind as I explain my situation.

    The 2nd and 3rd graders in our school put on a musical today at the high school (which is right next store to the elementary school), so our school walked over in the afternoon. My class, which in general is pretty well behaved, was extremely disrespectful throughout the whole ordeal. Running/shoving in line, shouting in the hallways in the high school while classes were in session, talking/laughing during the performance, using the folding seats like a drum during the performance, and so on. We had a very long talk about being a respectful audience before we went and what my expectations were, and it was as if they ignored the whole thing.

    I have never felt so angry with a class before. Sure, I've been frustrated by lack of focus, or by off task behavior, etc. But today I was straight up mad (and still kind of am). Is it normal for this to happen from time to time, or is this some kind of red flag that I'm not cut out for this/don't have enough patience? I'm just worried by how upset I was with the kids; I've never felt like that before, even a little bit, and I really don't like the feeling. Any insight would be great. Thank you and I'm sorry this is so long.
     
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  3. daisycakes

    daisycakes Companion

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    May 12, 2015

    A red flag is that after this smallish set back you would consider it a sign you should leave the profession.
     
  4. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    May 12, 2015

    Students tend to misbehave more with a sub, you know that. This would be your opportunity to show consistency.

    Next time, I would stop the class right where they stood and give them one chance to get their act together. Tell them that they will return to the classroom at the slightest misbehavior by anyone. Then follow through, if necessary.
     
  5. K-5_teacherguy

    K-5_teacherguy Companion

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    May 12, 2015

    I realize now that I worded that poorly, but I'm not considering leaving the profession at all. Teaching is my passion and there is nothing else I've ever wanted to do. I was just wondering if the irritation I was feeling was unusual.
     
  6. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    May 12, 2015

    What did you do during their antics to get them to behave?
     
  7. K-5_teacherguy

    K-5_teacherguy Companion

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    May 12, 2015

    I appreciate what you're saying, but I've been with these kids for almost 2 months, and have actually been told several times that they are better behaved now than they were with their regular teacher. This type of thing is usually not an issue. Plus, there was a line of about 200 other students not far behind us as we were walking through the building so I couldn't really stop unfortunately.

    I've just never been so upset with a class, and I was wondering if other, more veteran teachers, have experienced something similar. It's also entirely possible that it was just a bad afternoon and I need to get over it and look forward to a new day tomorrow.
     
  8. K-5_teacherguy

    K-5_teacherguy Companion

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    In the hallway, I had the kids who were shouting/shoving move to a different spot in the line that was away from the kids they were getting into trouble with (I did this a couple times). During the performance, I had the kids who were laughing/drumming come stand off to the side with the other teachers and myself. I wasn't exactly sure what to do during the performance because I didn't want my actions (in trying to correct the misbehavior) to become just as disruptive as those of the students.

    Any ideas on how I could have handled it more effectively?
     
  9. TexanTeach

    TexanTeach Rookie

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    May 12, 2015

    I can relate to an extent. I remember a few years ago I had a class that overall were pretty well behaved - just needed a firm hand and consistency but a nice group of kids nonetheless.

    I remember one day they were just very off and constantly misbehaving in big ways that they never did before. I was incredibly upset and disappointed in them and had to sort of regroup myself after work. The next day I went in and was very firm with them and made it clear that the way they behaved was unacceptable and the reason they are losing some privileges today is a consequence of those behaviors. They got the picture and we were able to move on.

    I would have a talk about this and let them know it was unacceptable. Maybe if there's something where they normally would work in groups/partners you could tell them that they lost that privilege because they've shown you that they can't behave properly together and now have to earn that privilege back?
     
  10. jojo808

    jojo808 Comrade

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    May 12, 2015

    Sometimes you just have to remind yourself that they are just 9-10 years old. They are so young and will make mistakes. It is normal for kids to misbehave, especially on a "field trip" and with a sub. Give consequences, hold them accountable, but let your anger go--serves no purpose.
     
  11. ku_alum

    ku_alum Aficionado

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    May 13, 2015

    I have been REALLY upset with my class one time. It was during an actual tornado warning (not a drill) and they (along with the rest of our school) were so loud (laughing, goofing off) that we couldn't hear instructions meant to keep them safe. When all was said and done, and I had my students back in class, I unleashed an inner-beast I didn't even know I had (I don't raise my voice, I'm very chill). I'm sure part of it was driven by coming down from the fear of the near disaster we were facing, but I yelled. What made it worse, my students just looked at me like I was crazy - they still didn't get it.

    The next day, we revisited the situation. Some of them apologized. I apologized for yelling, but several students said my yelling was warranted. (I suspect they heard from family or saw on the news how serious the weather we had experienced really was - lots of damage near our area).

    So, it can happen. Let today be a new day. Don't hold a grudge.
     
  12. Topsy

    Topsy Rookie

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    May 13, 2015

    I have been a sub for 3 years, and I have had good days, great days, and bad days. I'm wondering if the following might have affected the students' behavior:

    1.) Was it the last period before dismissal? They might have been looking forward to an easy end of the day, or their heads were already in "after school" mode.
    2.) Was it right after recess? I find it takes kids a bit to settle down, esp as weather gets warmer.
    3.) Was it just a few students who usually act up or was it the whole class?

    Also, is your school set up as K-5, middle and high school? I ask because, having dealt with many fifth graders at this time of the year, going to a "little kids" play might make them feel too cool, and going to the high school, bigger auditorium, bigger kids might make them feel like being bolder and rowdier than usual, maybe in a way to show the older kids that they are not babies.

    Another thing that might play into your reaction is that there was a big audience: other students that you might one day have to sub teach, and more significantly, other teachers. Since all the classes were in the hall at the same time, going to the same place, your class might have sensed that there would be nothing you could (or would do).

    Nothing embarrasses me more as a sub than having my class act up in the hallways: What else would another teacher think than "that sub can't control her class." So before we leave our room, I challenge the kids to earn REALLY big rewards by being PERFECT in the hallway. I also say that if an adult compliments their hallway behavior, we earn something really amazing. One class got a compliment from the principal, and they were absolutely thrilled (and so was I)!

    If all the conditions I mentioned above were in play, though, I don't think there would have been any reward that could have kept them quiet and orderly. Were other classes perfect and yours the only rowdy one? I would be surprised.

    I don't think it's a red flag that you were angry with your class. I would have been mighty peeved, too!
     
  13. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    May 13, 2015

    Kids are going to let you down behaviorally. I think it is fine to be disappointed and apply a small and reasonable consequence. I think with wrong choices it is best to not get too upset. Children are going to make wrong choices, so best to deal with it and move on.

    I agree with Ku_alum. Let today be a new day.
     
  14. misswteaches

    misswteaches Companion

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    May 14, 2015

    Your level of experience sounds a lot like mine, so I'm not really offering the advice of a veteran but the empathy of a newbie.
    I think what you're asking is "is it normal/okay that I felt particularly upset with my class in an isolated incidence?"

    I, like you, very rarely feel genuinely upset with my students. I can actually only think of one time when I let a class know I was upset. But I feel myself slipping towards that edge when...
    - the kids are behaving in a way that might be or has become dangerous.
    - other teachers/adults are in the room (silently judging me!) while misbehavior happens and not acting on it.
    - I realize that I have made a mistake in management or teaching and I am frustrated with myself.
    Personally, I think if we only get upset once in a blue moon, we're doing pretty great. Teachers are humans, too. I wouldn't worry too much about an isolated incident. (Teachers who fly off the handle on a weekly/daily basis or are constantly yelling at their kids should probably evaluate what got them to this point.)

    One final note...if you've done something you regret in the classroom, don't be afraid to apologize. I learned this from my host teacher in my elementary placement. I put it into practice one day when I was subbing in kindergarten and TOTALLY forgot one recess. I could have pretended that I was on top of things, but instead I chose to let myself be real in front these 5-year-olds. "I'm so sorry! I forgot to take you guys out to recess. I lost track of time and I'm sorry. Will you please forgive me?" I received hugs of forgiveness, enthusiastic assurance that they didn't mind, and amazingly, not one student was upset. (Don't worry...we still took a recess and all was well. The aide was completely understanding and has not shunned me!)

    Mistakes happen in real life. "I'm sorry" needs to be modeled. Forgiveness needs to be practiced. Don't be afraid to be real, even with the youngest students!
     
  15. Shanoo

    Shanoo Habitué

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    May 14, 2015

    You're human. Of course it's ok to be upset at your class. Mad, even. I remember one time when a challenging student pushed the boundaries further than she had ever pushed them before. I can't remember what she did, but I do remember feeling heat shoot up my body from my feet to the top of my head and then an immense calm travel down from my head to my toes. The calm rage that I felt was something I had never felt before or since. I looked at the student and said very quietly "Get out". Something must have shown on my face, because she quietly packed her things and took herself to the office (usually it was a fight to get her there). The rest of the class worked silently until the bell.

    What's important is to remember that your students are learning - not just academics but what it means to be a productive and respectful member of society. They can't always control their behaviour and they don't always make the smartest choices. But, as the adult you can. You can't always control how you feel, but you CAN control how you behave. Feeling anger towards them isn't a problem, IMO. Acting on that anger isn't always the best way to go about it.
     
  16. K-5_teacherguy

    K-5_teacherguy Companion

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    May 14, 2015

    I appreciate all of the input! Reading about different experiences others have had really helps me put things into perspective. You all raised valid points I hadn't considered. This forum is seriously the best. Thanks again!
     

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