My rules and procedures

Discussion in 'Debate & Marathon Threads Archive' started by Peregrin5, Sep 30, 2011.

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  1. KatherineParr

    KatherineParr Comrade

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    My gut-level reaction to the lists (both rules and procedures) was extremely negative.

    You really want to build a community. Students treat with respect people who treat them with respect. The absolute last thing you want is to create an environment where they are miscreants whom you must control with your iron fist.

    That could easily backfire. I know that had I encountered that list of procedures and rules in middle school (in a very diverse, city school), I (and every kid there) would have made the life of that teacher a living h*ll. Angry, resentful middle-schoolers are no fun.

    That's why the advice you're getting from Caesar is so, so good. Build a team and the team will regulate itself.

    Oh, and people will actually learn something.
     
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2011
  2. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Thanks! This is EXTREMELY helpful and constructive!

    I will think more about the things you mentioned.
     
  3. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    The thing is, I'm observing classes where the teachers do NOT have clear rules and procedures, and the middle schoolers are STILL angry and resentful, and they take total advantage of the teacher. She remains frustrated and flustered.

    Thanks to everyone's advice, I know that I'm being a bit too specific in my rules and procedures, but I'm wondering how to avoid the scenarios I am seeing with the teachers I am observing where they drive themselves to desperation and tears trying to control a classroom that does not care what the teacher has to say nor respects each other enough to allow others to learn.
     
  4. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    Angry and resentful - at what?
     
  5. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    I'm not sure what exactly, but if they misbehave to ridiculous levels and are reprimanded in even the slightest way, they burst out in a rage. They tell my master teacher that they hate her and the class is stupid. They kick the entry doors and write inappropriate things on the individual white boards.
     
  6. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    If there are no consequences, then why should they obey your procedures?

    My point is that the more things you articulate, the more things you have to regulate. If you don't enforce a rule, then for all intents and purposes, there is no rule. Call it a rule, call it a procedure, call it a practice; it doesn't matter. If you don't enforce it, the kids won't do it.

    High school kids KNOW what to do in school. The odds are that a long list of procedures will merely provide incentive to drive you nuts by finding a way around each of those many procedures. So, for example, the whole pinky/thumb is an invitation for a kid to ask what's symbolized by raising the middle finger.

    Do as you choose, but it's certainly not a method I would use.

    Here's how my class starts the year: Seating chart on the projector; I assign the seats. As I take attendance they copy the year's test dates and that night's homework off the board. I give a 5 minute spiel on my expectations-- that's really all it takes-- and I begin to teach. I teach until the bell.

    Day 2: There's a problem on the board as they arrive. They do it as I take attendance and check the homework. I go over the homewok and teach today's lesson until the bell.

    Day 3: Quiz. Then they do the Do Now and class begins as usual.

    when I give the first quiz, they learn how I collect papers. When I give it back, they learn how I give papers back. There's really minimal instruction required.
     
  7. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    What are the other school rules? I think the school rules would take care of your three. If you have the school rules and then these specific behaviors outlined, it opens this up, just for example: student flicks paper football across the room, you say he has broken the "don't throw things" rule, an he replies that he flicked it and thus didn't break the rule. I believe, for this and other reasons, it's best to keep the rules more general or generic.
     
  8. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Well, as I stated before, I definitely wouldn't hit them with all the procedures at once. I was actually thinking of doing it the way you describe. Introduce them as they come up. I made the list for MY benefit, because I haven't yet started teaching, so I'm trying to think of how I might have students do things, and what my behavioral expectations for them are.

    I would imagine students obey most teacher's procedures because they want the class to run smoothly as well or gain the respect of their peers and teacher.

    And if a student asked me what the middle finger signified, I might respond that "It means you can join me for lunch today!"
     
  9. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    True. I was thinking that many of the suggestions to have a rule for 'creating a safe environment' would encompass the throwing things rules.

    And actually, the school rules as I've read them cover very little. They say to treat every adult and their peers with respect which very few of them do, and various other obvious ones like no sexual harassment, no violence, gang-symbols, etc. One thing in there is no profanity, which is good.
     
  10. ku_alum

    ku_alum Aficionado

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    Peregrin - I've only read bits and pieces of your threads because there is just TOOOO much going on.

    Take a breath.

    You are not going to get EVERYthing right on your first try. Your students are going to teach you a LOT.

    To use the words of one of my favorite posters on AtoZ (Bandnerd): figure out what your 3 to 5 non-negotiables are and just worry about those. As a teacher, you sometimes have to let something slide. That doesn't mean that you don't make a mental note, or give that kid "the look," or bring it up with the kid when there is a better moment, but if you give a detention for every little thing, you are going to make you and your students crazy.

    I would not want to teach in a classroom like the one you imagine. I would not want to be a student in a classroom like the one you imagine.

    It is not ALL about control. It is about respect, a feeling of being safe to participate ... look at some of the Harry Wong stuff ... it reads more elementary, but I use a lot of his ideas with my juniors and seniors.

    You will never be able to dictate every situation that arises in your classroom, and if if you do, you will not be covering your content, you will be covering behavior.

    And, I got lost on your thread with your student teacher. Sit down with him/her and establish a calendar of your expectations (when you can begin interacting, taking over, etc). You make grand assumptions (about the classroom you are observing and the one you imagine for yourself some day) and you have little experience in the world of teaching.
     
  11. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    I've been reading Harry Wong's stuff, and it's great! I agree with you. I definitely won't be able to get everything right the first time around. I'm doing my best to minimize the damage though so I don't spend my entire first year with my head in my hands as my class falls apart around me.

    I tend to think about what-ifs, and always try and conjure solutions to things I observe in the classrooms as they happen. It's just my nature.

    One thing I'm having trouble with though is, why can't I have a controlled classroom environment and STILL have the students know that I respect them and that their peers respect them? I decided from the start that I would show my students a LOT of respect, and encourage them to respect each other, and what that would encompass: not talking down to them, expecting a lot from them, being patient with them.

    I felt that I listed my three non-negotiables pretty clearly, and that having only three of them would make it clear to my students that I'm not all about rules. I will continue to think about this matter and all the advice I'm being given! Please keep it coming! =]
     
  12. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    One way of showing students that you respect them is allowing them some freedom (within limits of course) and choice. Much is about perception--for example, your students will likely see the procedure of only talking to the partner who sits beside them, and not being allowed to talk to the student in front of or behind them, as controlling, not as freedom to interact.

    I'd like to commend you for asking as many questions as you are and for reflecting about your practice before you find yourself in front of your own class.
     
  13. KatherineParr

    KatherineParr Comrade

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    I can't speak for anyone else, but to me the reason your lists don't feel "respectful" is that they provide absolutely no wiggle room and presume students need to be controlled at every moment.

    They should enter in this way, sit down in that way, get out items 1, 2, 3, put their backpack here, look there, respond like robots at a pre-arranged signal.

    And it's wonderful that you don't want to talk down to them. But by establishing a hierarchy in which they may only contribute in very specific ways and are instantly punished for doing something so rude as to raise a hand (to answer the question), you are really telling them that they are subordinate persons in your classroom. That's the essential content of "talking down" to anyone.

    They're kids. They not only behave in funky ways, they need to behave in funky ways sometimes. And they are very, very sensitive to the idea that adults think of them as out-of-control monkeys.

    That's why Caesar's advice has resonated with me. She (I think?) invites them to take responsibility, and they do. Your school rules echo that approach, though you think they're too vague. Maybe veteran teachers and school administration know something valuable: too much regimentation is usually unsuccessful.

    The fascinating thing about this thread (and the one on student teaching) is that you seem very reasonable in your replies. Yet the original posts in both threads are not at all as reasonable as you sound in your follow-ups. I read what you wrote in the other thread about wanting people to give you some credit. You're absolutely right.

    But what a lot of replies have argued is that you need to give your students and your master teacher the same credit.
     
  14. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    :haha: Yep.
     
  15. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    It's not the number of rules, but rather the choice.

    The thing is that there might be times when it's OK for kids to talk without raising their hands. There may be times when it's OK to get up without permission. You may even want students to throw something.

    However, any one of those things can fall under some more general rules like mine. Throwing a pencil across the room is not safe. Speaking out of turn is not respectful. Getting up out of your seat during instruction is probably both disrespectful and irresponsible.

    Not following procedures is not responsible. So it is breaking a rule.

    The thing with consequences is to keep them as minor and a cheap as possible. For example, when I taught secondary, I did not give warnings. But whenever any student interrupted me when I was speaking, they would have to stay one minute after class. Not long enough to make them late, but long enough that they might have to walk faster to their next class. I might have 10 kids after class for one minute sometimes. And many of those kids were ones who got straight A's and seldom got in trouble.
     
  16. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Well, as stated before, that particular one is a procedure so there would've been no punishment. Simply a reminder that we only raise our hands for questions.

    I understand that now. A lot of where my rigidity in rules and procedures came from what I 'thought' I learned in my classes, as well as books I've read such as 'Teach Like a Champ' which advocated (in my interpretation) a very controlled classroom with extreme clarity and specificity in rules among other things.
     
  17. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    I'd like to add that I think it says a lot about your desire to succeed in building an effective learning environment that you are considering all of the advice provided and not simply dismissing it. This is what it's all about...asking questions, playing around with ideas, etc. :)
     
  18. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    By the way, I took the opportunity to confer with my Classroom Management professor about this issue and I'd like to share some of what she said. Her viewpoint seems to be in agreement with the majority of the teachers here:

    She echoed what the others were saying about the rules being better enforced by a procedure.

    This leaves me with some good examples of how to mitigate the behaviors I want to mitigate by utilizing a procedure instead of a rule.

    Katherine makes a good point, that sometimes students NEED to blurt things out or have a degree of free expression, and that to punish every outburst is a detriment to learning if not simply impractical.

    I should just expect that students know not to throw things in my class. I still think I will hand out harsh punishments if I see anything flying across my room though.

    At this point, I would have a good idea of which things should be regulated by procedure, but I would have had a hard time understanding what I should make a rule if I didn't converse with everyone else here in this thread.

    Caesar and the rest of you make very good arguments for allowing the students to become responsible for regulating their own behavior, and it's good to emphasize important general societal and safety guidelines as long as the students are very CLEAR as to the meaning of the rules and they don't misinterpret them purposefully or not.

    I will endeavor to remove the negatives from my rules and make them more positive and encouraging. I will continue to clarify my procedures for things, to myself, but I will address them in class, as they come up on a case by case basis, as needed. Of course not all of them may work, or some might work well, and I'll use that information to improve them the next time around.

    This is what I feel I have gained from this thread. I will continue to monitor it and discuss if anyone would like to continue the discussion or would like to clarify something or offer their opinion on something. Thanks guys!
     
  19. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Also, as a very practical example of "blurting out":

    About a week ago, on a VERY hot humid day, I had a kid blurt out in my geometry class: "Mrs A, I think Ally just passed out!" (Ally had also passed out earlier in the day at mass, and for some reason was NOT sent home!!! Her head was on her desk; she looked as though she was resting. But she had passed out pretty much into Grace's lap at mass, so Grace was kind of attuned to Ally's behavior.)

    Kind of an extreme example, but an obvious case of a time when blurting out is exactly the right thing to do.

    ETA-- also, I agree with Just Me's assessment of your professor. She sounds as though she has a great sense of the practical realities of a real classroom-- not always the case.
     
  20. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Looks like you have a very helpful professor and you're on the right track :)
     
  21. Jeky

    Jeky Comrade

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    I think that your ability to take in other points of view without getting defensive is a sure sign that you are on the right track to becoming a great teacher....one that is reflective, flexible, and focused on the needs of students :)
     
  22. INteacher

    INteacher Aficionado

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    I agree with Jeky. I have been VERY impressed with how you have responded in all your posts Peregrin :thumb:
     
  23. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    I love that you are doing all of this reading, asking questions (from a variety of sources!), and reflecting ahead. Those skills will serve you well. I'm also from the proactive management standpoint. I believe a lot of what I do can affect whether students succeed or not in my classroom. When problems arise, the students bear some responsibility but so do I. It's my time to think how I could improve something to set the student up for success the next time (if possible).

    One key to really being able to do that is to understand a bit about the developmental age you are working with. How an elementary teacher approaches classroom management might bear some similarities in tools and approaches to those in secondary but more likely there are lots of differences as well. Part of this is how classrooms are set up (contained vs departmentalized) but much of it takes the developmental age of the student in consideration as well. Teaching procedures, procedures, procedures is a mantra, for example, for early elementary but doing so quite to that degree for older students would make them feel looked down upon. Teenagers are a whole breed of their own. Even middle school and high school looks somewhat different. While our expectations for all grades are roughly the same, how we might frame it or approach both positive reinforcements and consequences is likely to be different. I get along with the little kids because they still think the teacher knows everything. Teenagers, on the other hand, are learning to assert their own independence. With this comes a separate realm of issues and its own considerations.

    I encourage you not only to read up on different classroom management techniques but also put the same effort into reading about issues and commonalities in the human growth and development span. Understanding your students is a big key towards being able to problem solve and have a proactive classroom management approach.

    Also consider looking into cooperative learning techniques and practices that build up classroom community.

    You will develop all kinds of techniques that have no obvious grand consequences that are just as effective. Try to note these during your observations, though sometimes they can be hard to see before you've gained experiences. For example, I once saw a teacher change the pace of his speech for different classes. There was one really bright class but also likes together off task. The teacher used fast paced speech and constant transitions between slides to keep them focused. In another class, this would have lost students and they might have rebelled as a consequence. That was quite an interesting observation for me to make. You can see how the teacher managed behaviors before they get to the point of needing an actual consequence. Sometimes ignoring some behaviors can be an example of that to prevent the students or a student from totally melting down. With another student, this may be interpreted as fair play and well... that's a result you don't want.
     
  24. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Agreed! :2up:
     
  25. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    Also look into topics of "motivation." What motivates students to learn? What inhibits them? Does age play a factor? Wha are some common issues and barriers? Could background, homelife, special needs, genders, etc. play a role? What commonalities can you bridge? What pitfalls should you look for?

    Do you feel a bit like a psychologist yet? Lol.

    The study of motivation and learning is an interesting one and encompasses a lot of topics.

    While I'm at it, I am going to encourage you to find the video, "How Difficult Can This Be? The F.A.T. City Workshop" by Rick Lavoie. It may be difficult to track down (found it at an obscure library) or you can order it online. F.A.T. stands for Frustration, Anxiety and Tension. I had a teacher show a 10-15 minute clip of this during the most powerful part of the video and it really impacted how I saw behaviors in the classroom. Basically the presenter had a panel of teachers, administration and parents. Within 6 minutes of his "lesson" he had them involuntarily displaying common misbehaviors we see in students. The thing was, his lesson consisted of EASY questions. Watch it! The point being is that there are all kinds of motivations behind why students do what they do. The more you are aware of them, the better you can implement classroom management.
     
  26. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    Our school uses school-wide "Guidelines for Success", not rules.

    1. RESPECT YOURSELF AND OTHERS.
    2. BE RESPONSIBLE.
    3. DO YOUR BEST.
    4. SET POSITIVE GOALS.
    5. SEARCH FOR GOOD CHOICES.

    I have yet to find anything that doesn't fit into at least one of those five.

    As far as procedures, I probably have at least 20. I don't, however, present them all at once or even have all of them in them available at the same time. I teach them as we use them, and I review them as needed.

    A lot of those you present seem rather nit-picky to me. If I were a student in your room and you presented all of that to me at once, I'd never remember any of it.

    There is a lot to be said for simplicity.
     
  27. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    That video is really a good one. It can change your entire thought process of dealing with students.

    How difficult can this be (or the student)? Extremely!

    OP, the students you have seem to have some real issues going on. Are they this way for all of the teachers? Is it a "school culture" issue or do they just behave this way for the master teacher and you?
     
  28. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    This is very true! I did get caught up with making the procedures that I seemed to forget that I really had to take the age of my students and their attitudes into consideration. A lot of the books I read don't cater specifically for teachers of Secondary school, which is a huge problem I didn't notice.

    I will definitely begin looking more into the growth and development research for the age group I will be teaching. I watched 10 minutes of the FAT City Video before I lost the stream for some reason, but what I watched was very interesting! I'm going to be sure to share these videos with my Special Populations class.

    Thank you and thank you to everyone else for your encouragement and confidence. It really means a lot to me and will drive me to continue to try to improve myself.
     
  29. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    I am not sure if they act that way for all teachers as I didn't follow those particular students but I observed a few teachers and they seem to encounter similar problems in their classes. For my master teacher only that particular class seems to pose any real problems for her.

    As for the school culture, the vast majority of them are low SES, and ethnic minorities compose over 90% of the school. From what I observed in between periods they are extremely energetic and tend to like to kick things and push each other. Also, I've observed a conversation in class between these two girls who were talking about "kicking some girl's a**" and various other profanities by using whiteboards.

    I think the majority of them are there to succeed, but there is a sizeable population of those who simply don't care or seem frustrated with classes. As was stated in the other thread, I really do need to observe quiet a bit more, because I haven't yet taken in the entire school culture.
     
  30. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    The most important part of the FAT City Workshop video is when he does the demonstration and says in 6 minutes he has made them learning disabled and they are displaying many of the behaviors we see in the classroom. Wath that followed by about 10 min of discussion when he gets to his point of the entire video. There is about 15 min of video I show in workshops whenever I can. It really makes a good point and makes you hink about misbehaviors we see in the classroom. If you didn't see that part, try again. It's the impact of the entire video.
     
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