Is this normal?

Discussion in 'Third Grade' started by pwhatley, Aug 18, 2007.

  1. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    Aug 18, 2007

    Our students returned to classes this past Tuesday. On Tuesday, we (my cooperating teacher and I) had a model class -- they even received 5 compliments (we are counting them) from other teachers/administrators! For the past three days, however, it has steadily gone downhill. We have several (mostly but not all girls) students who seem to just HAVE to talk, no matter what is going on or where we seat them. There are about three students who will sit there apparently paying attention when given an assignment, but when released to actually do the assignment, start asking "What (or How) are we supposed to do?" One girl decided in the middle of class on Thursday, that she was going to rear back in her chair and put her feet on her desk! (My response was that I energetically put both of my hands down on her desk at once, and asked her if she put her feet on the furniture at home! Her only response was to move her feet!) We have one boy who was sending a threatening note to another student, and another one who thinks it is okay and funny to climb all over his (mostly plastic) chair, causing the chair and him to tumble to the floor, and the other kids to laugh. I am old, and have noticed for quite some time (in many venues) that the moral code that I grew up with and that I tried to instill in my daughter is not quite in sync with that of others. For some reason, being honest, polite, and respectful don't mean anything anymore! This is also my first week student teaching, so there is that to take into account. I think that the kids are just pushing the boundaries to see how far they can take things. This week we simply went over procedures, discussed them, and practiced them. One time, they had to go down and then up the stairs 5 times before they got it right! Anyway, 'scuse the rant, and back to my original question: Is this normal?
     
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  3. agdamity

    agdamity Fanatic

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    Aug 18, 2007

    Yes! You will "normally" have a model class the first day, then they start to show their personalities. Watch your cooperating teacher and see how she handles the discipline problems and follow suit. I once had a class take 45 minutes to line up properly (they were the most challenging group of students I've ever had--thank goodness it's only happened once!) Above all, be consistent in your expectations--if you give them an inch, they'll take a mile :)
     
  4. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Aug 19, 2007

    Unfortunately, yes, it does sound normal.
     
  5. cmw

    cmw Groupie

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    Aug 19, 2007

    First, be glad you're only the student teacher :p
    You definitely want to see how the teacher handles things. When I student taught I was put in a class where the teacher did not demand respect. I did my best to keep my standards high, but you can only do so much in 12 weeks. Definitely get you supervising teacher from the university in on this. Let him/ her see how the class tone is set by the classroom teacher. That way they can accurately judge your ability to manage a class. GOOD LUCK!
     
  6. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    Aug 19, 2007

    Thanks for your support and posts, I really appreciate and try to learn from them. I figured that the behavior must be normal, and none of it was really bad (no fights or cursing, etc.). The change between Tuesday and Wednesday was palpable! My hubby (not an educator) says that once we get them doing academics (instead of teaching procedures -- he says practicing procedures over & over is probably WHAT is CAUSING the misbehavior. I dunno, but I'll probably learn!) he thinks they should settle down. We'll see!
     
  7. agdamity

    agdamity Fanatic

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    Don't underestimate the value of practicing procedures! It is extremely important to do this at the beginning of the year--do it now to set the tone of your classroom.
     
  8. NYSTeacher

    NYSTeacher Companion

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    Aug 19, 2007

    I agree!! I made the mistake last year of not spending enough time on procedures at the beginning of the year (I had 5th graders and thought why do I need to go over that? They should know that already....WRONG!!) It made my school year a miserable one at that!

    I plan on spending two weeks going over procedures and making sure the kids are drilled with it and know exactly what to do and what is expected!
     
  9. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    pwhatley, I wish you could have kept your rose-colored glasses on a bit longer. There was a lot to be said for those good old days of respect.
     
  10. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    ROFL, Upsadaisy! Don't I know it! Oh, well, I guess it is part of my job that, in addition to teaching the students reading, writing, grammar, math, science, health, and social studies, I am to teach them manners and respect!
     
  11. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    That is so true. I am thankful to be at a school where we have the time to do that and it is a priority.
     
  12. strepsils

    strepsils Companion

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    Perhaps after giving instructions, ask students to tell you what they need to do.

    I found my students were not really paying attention, so I would ask a few studnets to break it down. That way, when someone asks what to do, they have to ask other students first as I have already been through the steps twice. It has worked with my class ... its always worth a shot!
     
  13. lilymoo

    lilymoo Rookie

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    Aug 20, 2007

    Totally normal behavior! Last year I didn't spend enough time on procedures and I paid dearly for it. It was the worst year I've ever had! This year I plan on being consistent and firm (with love and kindness of course! :D ). In time, they'll learn what's expected of them!
    Good luck! :)
     
  14. JaimeMarie

    JaimeMarie Moderator

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    Aug 20, 2007

    Just wondering what grade you are teaching?
     
  15. patti2

    patti2 Cohort

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    I made the same mistake-thinking after a couple of times that they would get it. Well, I got it instead and spent the year thinking what is the matter with them?? I just kept saying "be respectful" and they were not respectful. It took a very dear older teacher who I adore who finally said, "make a T-chart-write respect at the top ....talk about what it looks like when you are respectful and what is sounds like when you are respectful". Have them make a list WITH you. I thought the kids would not even know what to say, but they did! So-I sternly told them that is what I expected-not just in class, but everywhere. We also set the purpose for being respectful. They soon got it that I meant business because I would PRAISE them when I saw/heard it.
     
  16. patti2

    patti2 Cohort

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    Oh yes, after I went over the chart and told them I expected that behavior everywhere, this one kid asked if they had to do that at home!!!! I said, "YESSSSSSSSSSSS, I think your parents would find that refreshing!!!!" ;) :p
     
  17. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    I'm student teaching 3rd grade, JaimeMarie. Luckily, with only a few exceptions, we had the model class again today -- maybe it is a first of the week thing! Unfortunately, I had to send one boy home with an F conduct grade (we send home daily conduct grades for all students) because he got mad at a couple of girls and started spitting on them! (This was after getting in trouble enough times to warrant a C in conduct -- spitting automatically dropped it to an F.) The really sad part about this is that 1) this is probably the brightest kid in the class, and 2) he is one of my favorites! Argh! Oh, well, I just hope I have hair left in December!
     
  18. JaimeMarie

    JaimeMarie Moderator

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    Aug 20, 2007

    ACK I hate spitting.
     
  19. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Aug 21, 2007

    Me too, I think that is the behaviour that bothers me the most. A couple of years ago I worked for a principal who felt the same--a couple of boys were having a "spitting fight" in the yard one day and she made them get buckets of water and scrub-brushes and scrub up their disgusting mess.
     
  20. JaimeMarie

    JaimeMarie Moderator

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    Aug 21, 2007

    Also don't like biting. That is pretty bad.

    Glad your principal put a stop to the spitting. I bet they didn't do it again.
     
  21. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    Me, too! Well, the spit has finally hit the fan, so to speak! When (let's call him Jamal -- not his real name) Jamal neglected to take his conduct notes home for the third night in a row, I called his mom. Guess who had been in the hospital giving birth to a new baby brother?!? She was very kind and understanding about her older son's behavior, and promised that THAT would change immediately! From the tone of her voice, I knew she meant it. We sent the belated conduct notes home yesterday, making sure to tell Jamal in no uncertain terms that his mom was expecting them. Today, we had a totally different kid! He was smiling (all day), participated in class (was sometimes the only one paying attention to the lesson!), and showed some real maturity and manners! He literally went from earning an F in conduct for Monday, to an A+ for conduct today! His eyes got really big when he saw his grade for today, and said "You gave me an A??" I said "no, you earned one!" Yeah, today I wanna be a teacher!
     
  22. JaimeMarie

    JaimeMarie Moderator

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    Ahhhhhh so he was grumpy and jealous of new baby coming home!
    Glad things are going better.
     
  23. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    So glad to hear that things have improved! This is a perfect example of why we need parents to let us know about changes or disruptions that are going on at home.
     
  24. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    Aug 21, 2007

    And why we should allow a little time to go by before setting personality judgements in stone (all the while allowing behavioral consequences to occur!)
     

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