Makes me so mad

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by allaragallagher, Nov 3, 2014.

  1. allaragallagher

    allaragallagher Comrade

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    Nov 3, 2014

    So... I'm a first year teacher. I'm the fourth English teacher to take this position in the past year. They had one quit in October when she got a better job. Another got sick from "stress overload" that aggravated his diabetes and quit after 30 days. Then a long-term sub filled the position until the end of the year, got hired, but couldn't keep the job because she wasn't certified. Joy for me, right?

    For the most part my classes are exceptional. The quality of work my students crank out impresses me. However, my seniors and I struggle. The woman who was previously hired still works at the school and so my students often want to go hang out with her. They also go to her for help when I give them an assignment. One student in particular hates me because he wanted her as a teacher. He questions everything I do.

    When we were reading Dante's Inferno he asked me a question about an analysis question I had handed out. I didn't know the answer off the top of my head so I said I would look. He was really vocal about me not knowing what I was teaching and that he was just going to write this. I said fine, write that. Then I found the answer and told him what it was. He said if I didn't know it, he didn't need to. I was fuming.

    The next time he asked for a pass to go hang out with his former teacher I told him no. He could do the work I assign for my class IN my class. He didn't need her help. He made an excuse about needing a computer (that is the only room with computers) and so I told him he needed a pass. He said: yeah, duh, that's kind of why I asked for a pass. And just kept rambling and laughing. I finally realized I was letting him intimidate me and I spoke with him privately after class. I told him I went to college to become an Englush teacher. That I am a certified Englush teacher and that he would stop treating me like a sub. He just walked out.

    Today, a few days later, I'm sharing a question with my class. I tell them to write a a paragraph about the structure of Hamlet. He goes: I don't understand. How am I supposed to do this? Research it online and well share our findings. So, basically, you want us to write a paragraph about **** we haven't learned because you haven't taught it. Because I can do that I just want to be sure that's what you're asking. I stopped class and explained that I HAD, in fact, taught that during my introduction to Hamlet lecture. I then asked a different student to tell me why Hamlet is written in five acts and she answered correctly.

    What am I doing wrong? Should I ignore this kid when he implies I'm not teaching anything? It pisses me off royally.
     
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  3. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Nov 3, 2014

    Is there any way you can enlist the help of the other teacher? If you work together to get this kid to understand he cannot run off to hang with "the fun teacher", it might make a huge difference.
     
  4. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    Nov 3, 2014

    You need to stop letting yourself get riled by him. He's attempting to get under your skin, and you're allowing him. If you are rock solid in your content knowledge, then don't back down, don't let yourself get shaken. If you don't know an answer, do just what you did and tell him he can answer however he wants but you will grade to a certain standard.
     
  5. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    Nov 3, 2014

    I agree with kcjo that you need to not let him get under your skin. However, you absolutely should know the answers to things you hand out to the students. It is one thing if he were to ask you an obscure question that hasn't been identified as something the students are supposed to learn or answer, but you should thoroughly know the answers to what is being assigned and the information that relates to those answers.
     
  6. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    Nov 3, 2014

    You need to shut him down quickly. You've already spoken privately with him and that hasn't made a difference. Next time he raises his hand, either ignore him or tell him to write down his question on a sheet of paper. If he calls out, tell him he doesn't get to speak in your class any more until you're convinced he's going to be respectful. He doesn't get a vote on this. He's being disruptive to the learning environment and you're feeding it.

    I agree that you should know the answers to the questions you've given them. I don't agree (with the student) that you have to actively lecture or directly teach them everything you expect them to know. There is value in independent research. A senior should have experience with that for sure. You can give guided questions and expect them to find out the information on their own.

    And, no one gets a pass to go see the other teacher. They can visit with her on their own time, not yours. Don't assign anything that would require a computer during class time.
     
  7. allaragallagher

    allaragallagher Comrade

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    Nov 3, 2014

    Thanks everyone. The question was about how Dante found himself in the dark woods of error. The text says he doesn't know but that he lost his way. When the student read the lines to me I said: so he doesn't know, but when I looked at the text I realized he needed to read between the lines and infer how Dante got there by using the other lines about straying from the truth path. I told him I found the answer and would go over it with the entire class the next day.
     

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