Hi all. I’m newly signed up for this forum, but I’ve been a reader for a long time. I have a problem, and I thought this might be a good place to get some advice. Just for some background, I will begin my eleventh year as a teacher this fall. I teach 9th grade history in an upper middle class suburb, in a school with strong parent involvement and, for the most part, highly motivated kids. Apart from a few outliers, my students are well-behaved and most of them tend to stay on top of their assignments, turn in their homework, etc. I really couldn’t ask for a better working environment or a better community to live and work in, and I know I am lucky not to have to deal with a lot of the challenges that so many other teachers face. So, what’s the problem? Well, this . . . *sigh* A couple of years ago one of my friends who teaches in another district started using Power Teaching/Whole Brain Teaching and raved so much about the success she was having that I started looking into using it with my students. She was having some behavior issues with her kids and it apparently worked wonders for her. I don’t have a lot of discipline issues, but I was intrigued by the interaction this program affords because so much of the time, my students, especially my higher level ones, seem so . . . passive. Not really disengaged, just . . . not as excited or enthusiastic as I’d like to see them. So, I read everything I could about Whole Brain Teaching, spent all last summer planning lessons to incorporate WBT, started off the year on the very first day explaining why I felt this was important, and, well, it was one big fail. I could tell from the beginning that they didn’t really buy in, but I thought with time they’d really be open to it because they were going to see how much fun it was. Nope. My kids HATED it. Out of four classes, the only class it was even moderately successful in (and that’s a bit of an overstatement) was my lowest level class, which was a combination of average and slightly low-average students. In my other three classes, all high average and above average/gifted students, it just didn’t seem to work at all. It was obvious the kids did not like it – participation ranged from polite half-heartedness to complete refusal on any given day. This is the first time in all my time teaching that I had students actually outright question or challenge me about my teaching methods. The exciting and interactive learning environment I was trying to create did not materialize AT ALL. I had a half dozen kids request a transfer out of my class and into another teacher’s class because they hated it so much (kudos to my principal for saying no). As far as I know, I was the only teacher in my school who was using WBT, so I didn’t have anyone to use as a sounding board; to be honest, most of my colleagues just told me to stop, but I was determined to make it work. I trudged on all year and tried SO hard and just kept hoping it would eventually take hold. It didn’t. I almost burst into tears the last month of school when I said “Class – Class” and one of my brightest students responded with “Stop – Stop.” Seriously, I feel as if I created more discipline issues for myself than I ever had before. At the end of the year, we are required to have our students complete evaluations, much like college students do. These are not in any way reflected on our formal evaluations for obvious reasons – in fact, we don’t even show them to our administrators. It’s just a way for us to get feedback from our students. I have always gotten great evaluations on the class from my kids until this year. This year, my student evaluations were brutal, and I was devastated. Most of the questions are standard, but we can add questions, so I asked for feedback about the WBT experience. I knew the comments probably wouldn’t be wonderful, but I wasn’t prepared to be positively crushed. I have spent the past month of my summer vacation agonizing over the things the kids wrote. For example: “For something that is supposed to be about using your “whole brain”, I felt like I lost IQ points every time I had to make a hand gesture or respond with yes-yes.” “Please don’t do this next year.” “It made me uncomfortable.” “I thought this was a joke until I realized it wasn’t.” “Ugh.” “There’s way too much group work. I don’t learn like that. I prefer to work on my own.” “I seriously can’t describe how much I hated when we did this.” “My anxiety level went through the roof every time I walked through the door because I knew what was probably coming.” “I don’t like it when people try to make me act silly. That’s not me.” “High school or preschool? It was kind of hard to tell sometimes.” “The hand gestures and responses were terrible. I felt stupid doing them.” “F-minus.” “I don’t think this is challenging enough.” “This is something my 5-year-old brother would have enjoyed, but not me.” And probably the most hurtful one – “Mrs. B, I think you are a cool person, but to be honest, I’m upset that you thought we weren’t worth better than this.” The best comment, literally, was a mere, “It was okay.” Well, that and all the blank spaces where the kids didn’t even bother to respond. Honestly, it feels as if they got together and just decided to completely trash me and everything I tried to do when they wrote their evaluations, but I can’t imagine that’s so. I probably should have just tossed the evaluations, but I can’t stop reading them and thinking about them. This has completely destroyed my confidence in my ability to do my job. It's like I've been punched in the gut every time I think about it. Course schedules for the upcoming year were mailed out to students late last month, and I live in fear that I’m going to get a call from the principal asking why parents are calling requesting that their kids not be placed in my class. That hasn’t happened, but I’m afraid it might, or maybe it has and she just hasn’t said anything. She knew what I was doing and let me run with it, but I got the feeling she wasn’t incredibly impressed, especially after all of the student (and a few parent) complaints. I guess I just want to know, what did I do wrong? It’s not as if I went into this without a clue – I researched this ALL last summer and spent so much time reading and planning and watching videos of teachers using this program and talking with my friend and her colleagues who seem to have been successful with WBT. Why were my students so adverse? The only thing I can think of is maybe it’s a personality issue. I’m outgoing and extraverted and like to be just a little silly at times, and my kids – especially the ones in my most advanced class that was full of very gifted, extremely intelligent students (and the class most adverse to WBT, the one the produced the most horrendous of the comments) – seemed to be quieter, more introverted, really deep thinkers. I honestly think that particular class would have been happy to just listen to me lecture and take notes, but I wanted more for them. I’m sorry this is so long, and if I breached etiquette by not posting in the WBT forum, I apologize. I thought maybe it would get more responses here, and it’s not just an issue or question about WBT. I have completely lost all confidence. How do I get my confidence back, and am I a glutton for punishment if I try to make a go of this next year? Should I even try this next year, and if so, what do I do differently to produce a better outcome? I’ve read through all of the threads on the WBT forum here (multiple times), read everything I can find about WBT online, and I see so many teachers having success doing the same things I tried, or at least not struggling like I did, and don’t know what happened to my classes. Where did I go wrong, and how do I motivate myself for the new year after being slapped in the face like this?