LARGE (rowdy) classes/ small classroom

Discussion in 'Behavior Management' started by smtownEngteach, Aug 27, 2011.

  1. smtownEngteach

    smtownEngteach Rookie

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2011
    Messages:
    55
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 27, 2011

    I'm a first year teacher and just finished up my first week of teaching. I'm concerned about my two afternoon classes of 8th grade students. Both of theses classes are large (one has 31 students and the other has 28) and they are also both very rowdy (obnoxiously so). I also have a very small classroom, which only further compounds the problem. I have heard that their ELA teacher from last year kind of let them get away with just about anything (including letting the girls bring curling irons in the classroom to do their hair) Anyway, I have established the rules, I have bell work, but I sorta feel like I am treading water and that I spend most of the class period correcting behaviors and raising my voice. I'm hoping that if I stay firm that the behavior will improve, but I hate spending so much of the class period raising my voice and getting on to them...any suggestions?
     
  2.  
  3. Milsey

    Milsey Habitué

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2009
    Messages:
    839
    Likes Received:
    45

    Aug 27, 2011

    Feel your pain. My afternoon class was my most difficult last year.
    Have you tried calling homes? Just call a few parents and word will spread.
    Shouting sends a message that you are not in control and they will continue to test you.
    Have clearly established routines.
    Follow through with those 5 or 6 worst offenders. Make an example of them. The others are watching to see how you deal with them, and if you let them off the hook as I did, the rest of the class will become unmanageable and no learning will occur.
    I know it's hard, but good luck.
     
  4. smtownEngteach

    smtownEngteach Rookie

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2011
    Messages:
    55
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 27, 2011

    Thanks for the advice! I've got the routine part under control, bell ringers while I take attendance and do any other house keeping, then lesson, then classwork (which last the rest of the hour so we don't have free time). I haven't got to the point where I am actually yelling, but I have raised my voice, and I know that you are right about it meaning you don't have control. I'm hoping by the end of next week I will have all of their names down for the most part and I think that will help so that I can call them out by name and correct behavior. I've been reflecting over this weekend so I hope I can go in Monday with a renewed sense of purpose and with a calmer presence.
     
  5. nstructor

    nstructor Cohort

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2010
    Messages:
    586
    Likes Received:
    45

    Aug 27, 2011

    I teach 8th grade and have called every parent to "introduce" myself, but more importantly it lets the kids know I call!
     
  6. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2006
    Messages:
    27,534
    Likes Received:
    6

    Aug 27, 2011

    Until you get the names down, use that seating chart. Hold it in your hand if necessary. The simple act of calling on them by name makes a HUGE difference.

    I don't call parents this early, or ever for a disciplinary matter. I'm a strong believer that there's only a certain amount of authority in the world. Every single time a teacher gives a little away-- to the parents, to the dean, to the principal-- that means there's a little less for the teacher. I tend to handle all but the most serious issues myself. Calling a parent, or threatening to, simply tells the kids that YOU don't have the authority to keep them in line and need to call in for backup.

    Stop for a while and determine which kids are the 2 most troublesome in each class. Ask (ie--demand) them to see you after school. Then have a chat with them. Tell them that you can already tell they're the class leaders. And that the entire mood of the class is in their hands. If they're interested in creating an enviornment where Language Arts is fun, it will be. Dangle a few of the things you're planning in front of them at that point. Then say that, if the mood of the class doesn't improve, it's going to be drill and quiz- and incredibly boring for everyone.

    Oh, and don't sweat the class size. In my building, both those classes would be considered "on the small side"-- typical for us is upper 30's, though I've had up to 45.
     
  7. Loomistrout

    Loomistrout Devotee

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2007
    Messages:
    1,152
    Likes Received:
    158

    Aug 27, 2011

     
  8. smtownEngteach

    smtownEngteach Rookie

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2011
    Messages:
    55
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 28, 2011

    The teacher was actually non-renewed, because of a series of different incidents like this so I can't ask her, but I was informed by my mentor teacher about it.
    I should have phrased that as I have established student expectations. That is what we went over on the first day. These include being respectful, being prompt, and being prepared. We went over and discussed what each of these meant. We also went over classroom procedures.
    These are generally good kids, I think they just need some structure. My class is in a different building from the rest of the 7/8 grade classes, so they also have to rush to get to class which doesn't help the situation. I don't expect them to stand at attention, it is a middle school classroom, I expect there to some movement and some noise, but not rude and obnoxious comments after a classmate makes a comment or talking while I'm going over the lesson.
     
  9. Loomistrout

    Loomistrout Devotee

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2007
    Messages:
    1,152
    Likes Received:
    158

    Aug 28, 2011

    Exactly! Generally when a teacher goes over rules and procedures they are announcements as far as students are concerned. When one discusses "respecting others" unlikely there is one kid in the class who does not know this means to not make rude comments or talk during lesson presentations. Last year's teacher discussed the same thing and each teacher each year before. These kids have heard the same basic talk from teachers for seven years. Signs and posters have been plastered around every room as reminders.

    The case for effective classroom management, therefore, is not so much stating one's hopes and wishes for a successful year. The kids know them. Sure, go ahead and discuss. Include the kids if you want in making class rules and procedures. However, the discussions and posting of rules do not generate behavior. They state what should happen and what the teacher hopes will happen. What really defines the rules in any classroom is what the students can get away with or as one student related, "Yeah, we discussed the rule about raising your hand before speaking. It was even posted on a sign. But you know what? I called out and nothing happened. The teacher ignored me and kept on teaching."
     
  10. smtownEngteach

    smtownEngteach Rookie

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2011
    Messages:
    55
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 28, 2011

    Yes, you are right. Simply stating the rules will not do it. I have not been ignoring them and have been correcting behaviors when they arise. I think it is just going to take some time and persistence. I feel better about things after I've had this weekend to reflect.
     
  11. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2007
    Messages:
    3,506
    Likes Received:
    12

    Aug 28, 2011

    At my former school, this happened frequently... it's very believable.

    To the OP, I know you are frustrated spending a lot of time on procedures, corrections and discipline right now, but if you stay consistent with this, it will go away in a couple of weeks. It's worth the sacrifice now so that things go more smoothly for you the rest of the year!

    And I'm actually a big proponent of calling parents, not necessarily to "tattle", but just to make them aware of the situation. Sometimes the kids need to know that all of the adults are in this together, trying to teach the kid to do what's best and make the right choices. It's also required in my district. We can't give certain conduct grades unless a parent has been called. We're also required to call if a grade slips below a 70.
     
  12. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2007
    Messages:
    5,621
    Likes Received:
    6

    Aug 28, 2011

    I firmly believe that taking the time at the beginning of the year to firmly establish rules, procedures and consequences will pay itself back tenfold the rest of the year.

    If you don't get a handle on student behavior now, you will waste far more time in dealing with student disruptions throughout the year than you could ever spend getting them under control in the first week or so of class. Granted, you might not get much learning done next week, but you'll make up for it later.
     
  13. smtownEngteach

    smtownEngteach Rookie

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2011
    Messages:
    55
    Likes Received:
    0

    Sep 2, 2011

    Firmness and persistence is paying off! Behavior has been much better this week! Only had one "bad" day this week,that was with all the classes though, even my "good ones". I think there was something in the water that day...lol.:)
     
  14. orangepurple

    orangepurple Companion

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2007
    Messages:
    240
    Likes Received:
    2

    Sep 3, 2011

    Curling irons? That's so bad it's almost funny. I know that lots of middle school girls would jump at the chance, though, if they thought they could get away with it.
    I can remember being appalled as a high school student when teachers would let girls polish their nails in class.
     
  15. Beth2004

    Beth2004 Maven

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2004
    Messages:
    5,168
    Likes Received:
    1

    Sep 3, 2011

    Clear expectations and consistency are key. Show the students what you expect from them. Have them practice. If they don't get it right, have them do it again. Don't let behavior that doesn't meet the expectations to continue. If it means that you're unable to really get into your content for the first week or two, so be it. If they're rowdy when they come in every day, they're not going to be getting anything out of your teaching anyway. My school uses Developmental Designs (middle school version of Responsive Classroom) and most of our teachers have been trained. One of the things our trainer repeated over and over again was "sweat the small stuff." Don't ignore inappropriate behavior. Call the kids out on it, model the appropriate behaviors, and make them practice.
    Calling parents isn't always about calling for "backup" though. When I call parents to let them know about a disciplinary matter, it's to make them aware. I want the parents to know what the problem is that we're having and how I'm dealing with it so that if it escalates to the point where I'm keeping the student after school, or there's a major incident (ie: fighting) that needs to be referred to the office, it's not the first time the parents are hearing about the problem.
     
  16. smtownEngteach

    smtownEngteach Rookie

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2011
    Messages:
    55
    Likes Received:
    0

    Sep 3, 2011


    Yes, had I been sitting when my mentor teacher told me this I would have probably fell out of my chair!
     

Share This Page

Members Online Now

  1. ally06,
  2. qbsenterprisesupport
Total: 338 (members: 4, guests: 311, robots: 23)
test