My students are writing complaints about me, and I'm worried

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Kenz501, May 13, 2017.

  1. Kenz501

    Kenz501 Cohort

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    Jun 25, 2017

    I see that now, but don't you think that's just wrong? It's kind of like they didn't really teach me anything important in college. It's like I just earned a piece of paper. I went to college hoping to learn skills I felt that I couldn't master on my own; what a disappointment.
     
  2. GPC0321

    GPC0321 Companion

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    Some things can't be taught. A person can get a master's degree in creative writing, but they might never make a living as a published author. A person can go to theater or acting school, but never be able to make a living as a professional actor. A person go to school for music, but may never make a living as a musician.
    And none of this is the fault of the "system" or people who didn't "give them the tools" or the inept college or university program which they attended.

    SOME THINGS CANNOT BE TAUGHT.
     
  3. christie

    christie Rookie

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    Jun 25, 2017

    It's not the job of a college to teach social skills. The fact is most people in college have those skills already or learn them through their experiences in college. You need more explicit instruction in those skills. It is now your job to find someone who can help you learn these things. This is the job of a counselor - whether it be a therapeutic counselor or a counselor whose job it is to help people on the spectrum develop the skills needed to be successful.

    Running away to join a magician's show will not help. They're not going to take you. They would expect you have the skills you'd like them to teach you. That's not how this works. That's not how any of this works. The good news is that you've identified a weakness, something you need to improve. You need to move past bemoaning the fact that you weren't taught these skills and now do something to learn these skills.

    At this point, I'm going to disagree with you. It seems as though you've identified what you believe is your main issue - the lack of social skills and withitness that teachers need to be successful. It seems as though you haven't done anything to address those issues, which, I'm sorry to say, means that your continued lack of success at your job IS your fault.

    As I mentioned I moved into a new job after 15 years at one school, teaching two subjects. In my new job I am required to teach math. I had a well-developed fear of all things math that was nicely cultivated by the teachers I encountered in high school and at college. I knew I couldn't bring that into the classroom with me. I spent most of the summer prior to starting that new position learning how to teach math. Teaching myself how to find the beauty in math - and I'm really kinda pissed that I didn't have someone to show me that before - because it was my job not to perpetuate my math issues in my students. Issues I know, based on my own experience, could impact them throughout their lives. I was the only one who could fix the issue. I sought help - math teacher friends, websites, an online class on how to teach math with a growth mindset, etc.

    No occupation is going to teach you social skills. They expect you to come with them or to at least be able to work around the lack of them. I have a friend on the spectrum. He's worked very closely with a job counselor who talks him through various scenarios and has taught him many of the skills he needs to be successful. They practice interviews and common work scenarios with him so that he has practice knowing what's expected and how he would be expected to react. I want to say he found this counselor through a disability office, but it's been awhile since I've talked with him. Please find someone who can help you with this. Please understand, and I say this from the bottom of my heart and hope you can appreciate what we're trying to say. YOU are in control here. YOU can fix this. You have to stop focusing on what you feel wasn't done. That ship has sailed. Find a way to fix it or you're going to be unhappy no matter what job you hold.
     
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  4. Kenz501

    Kenz501 Cohort

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    Jun 25, 2017

    They should put that as a disclaimer on every liberal arts college major, then. I knew that trying to become an actor, best-selling fiction author, or professional athlete was unrealistic, but I never put teaching in the same category. Only now do I see the similarities, and I wish someone would have pointed them out sooner.

    In the case of what I want, I disagree, though. Some things are not taught widely or are not taught well, but they can be taught. It would just take a lot more work. For example, some internationals are trained on how to act like U.S. citizens before applying for jobs. Teaching someone the complex verbal and non-verbal nuances of American culture is difficult but not impossible. If you can quantify it and break it down, you can teach it. Are you going to have it taught to you, though? That's a different question, and the answer might depend on where you look.

    Sometimes people look in the wrong places, like with the best-selling author example; it may not be a question of quality but a question of advertising. If a person takes all of the creative writing classes he or she needs for a degree and gets decent reviews in the school newspaper or wherever the person decides to publish as as student but then fails to publish a book, it might not mean that the person isn't good at writing, but it might mean instead that the student isn't good at marketing his or her pieces.
     
  5. Kenz501

    Kenz501 Cohort

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    Wow, okay, first of all who do I need to write to to request a college program specifically for autistic people that does teach social skills along with the regular curriculum? Really, I don't think I'm the only one with this problem, and I think everyone could benefit from some social skills training, really, not just autistic people. When you have a script, you feel more confident, and I think scripts should just be part of the training for young professionals. Look at counselors; they have scripts.

    I really do think I'm doing what I can to make up for the lack of content knowledge. I don't have summers off, so I have to do my preparing in the evening, over the weekend, and whenever time to do so presents itself. It would be easier, I think, if I did have a few weeks off just to work on this, but I don't have that luxury, and yes, social skills plays an important part in working through this problem, too. I don't have any math teacher friends I can ask, for example. I was once pursuing a degree in it, though, but I didn't finish. Can I find the information elsewhere? Yes, I'm sure I can, but it will take a little time to put together a study guide for the student nonetheless.

    Another issue I have is just common sense organization. I'm really bad at keeping track of important information that I've been told to keep track of but haven't really been given a reliable method of doing so. I get that this is my fault, but I sometimes get confused about things that other people might consider really simple, like how to make a chart to keep track of the students' activity. Chances are the system I'll come up with will be needlessly complicated. I could ask someone, but they would probably tell me something like, "it doesn't really matter how you make it, as long as you keep up with the students' work." I wish people would stop being so frustratingly vague.
     
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2017
  6. GPC0321

    GPC0321 Companion

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    Jun 25, 2017

    Kenz501, talk to me about what you actually do as a teacher. Do you write lesson plans? Create assessments and activities? Grade papers?
    Walk me through a typical day at school for you.
     
  7. Kenz501

    Kenz501 Cohort

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    Jun 25, 2017

    It really depends on the number of students. I serve students ranging from ages 12-17. Students who are not in high school are placed in all subjects for their grade level. Students who are in high school are placed in only two subjects based on what they were studying before they came to me.

    If I have 1-3 students, they are on computers most of the day. I walk around periodically to make sure they are on task and have proper materials. I appreciate times like this, because I can catch up on my other work. In addition to taking care of students, I have to complete registration folders and grade any paper work I've given them that needs grading.

    If I have more than three students, two or three are on computers, depending on how many computers are working. The rest of the students are being given a lesson of some kind and some paper work to keep them busy. I conduct it like a normal 45-90 minute lesson. I give a brief explanation and allow the students to work a few practice problems on the board. They complete a worksheet, and we go over it. If there's a little time left, we play a game to reinforce what we learned. Then, we rotate out, and I put another group of students on the computers. Math lessons are easy to plan, so we mostly do math lessons, even though I'm not certified in math.

    I continue this pattern for the rest of the day. The number of lessons I teach should ideally vary depending on the number of students I have.

    If I have 4-6, I should plan to teach about three different lessons. If I have 7-9, I should plan to teach about four different lessons. If I have 9 or more, I should plan for a full day of lessons. I usually have 5-8 students in my room, but lately I've had over ten.

    I like math related work, because it keeps the students busy and it often introduces material that they don't know but need to learn. I do, however, sometimes give the kids other subjects to work on as well. The problem, though, is that the work I give them sometimes doesn't match what they are supposed to be studying on the computer.

    This is survival mode, but it's better than nothing. Some of my students have recognized that the work I give them doesn't always correlate with what they are supposed to be studying, though.
     
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2017
  8. GPC0321

    GPC0321 Companion

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    Jun 25, 2017

    Okay, let's get more specific.
    1. What is it that you teach? In other words, what is your official position/title at school?
    2. How long are your class periods?
    3. Do you have a planning period?
    4. Do these students stay with you all day, or do they go to other classes besides yours?
    5. Do you keep the same students all year long?
    6. Are these students all in the same grade, or does it vary?
    7. Are the students supposed to all be learning the same lessons and doing the same work, or is it more of an independent/remedial type of situation for them?
    8. How are students assessed in your class? Is this done on the computer? Or are you responsible for assessing their learning?
    9. What is the thinking behind giving them work that doesn't relate to what they are supposed to be learning?
    10. Are you required to submit lesson plans to your principal regularly?

    I know I'm bombarding you, but I think in order for anyone to be able to offer concrete suggestions or advice, there needs to be a clearer picture of exactly what you do and are expected to do. Your job isn't a traditional teaching job, or at least it doesn't sound like it is. I'm just trying to fill in the blanks.
     
  9. Kenz501

    Kenz501 Cohort

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    Jun 25, 2017

    Okay, I answered your questions in the quote. Basically, the grade levels and subjects vary from student to student. I can have one student who is taking Trigonometry and another who is taking World Literature, for example. I also serve different grade levels, from upper elementary to later high school.
     
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2017
  10. GPC0321

    GPC0321 Companion

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    Okay, I have a clearer picture now.
    I think you're causing a lot of your own problems by trying to be a "teacher" when you're in fact a facilitator for a computer-based alternative/independent study program. And your students probably resent you giving them busy work that is not relevant to their actual coursework.

    As for the computer issues, students wreck computers like nothing I've ever seen, so I'm not surprised that some of them aren't working. But this is an issue that the school must be responsible for addressing. If these kids' coursework and assessments are accessed on the computer, then they have to be provided with working computers.

    Has anyone specifically told you that when the computers aren't working, you need to teach the kids lessons and give them work? Or is that something you've done on your own?
     
  11. Kenz501

    Kenz501 Cohort

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    Jun 25, 2017

    I'm required to keep them busy while they are in my classroom. I have to give them work when they are in elementary school, because the computers don't have anything for elementary school students. I also sometimes have to give middle school students work. All of the other stuff I've started doing, actually teaching lessons, allowing the students to play games, going through their lessons, etc., is because I want to eliminate the formal complaints the students have been writing, and keeping them busy is a good way to get their minds off of causing trouble.

    The veteran teacher they've brought into my room to "help" me always carries worksheets and teaches a few lessons. I'm a little confused, too, but apparently I just need to keep them busy when they aren't on the computer.
     
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2017
  12. GPC0321

    GPC0321 Companion

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    Jun 25, 2017

    Okay. Well, I think a lot of your trouble is that the job you have isn't really teaching. You basically supervise and (for lack of a better term) babysit a variety of kids who are moving through an alternative program in a detention center. That's a far cry from actual teaching, and there really is nothing a college degree could do to prepare you for such a situation.

    I hope you have the opportunity to get into a true teaching position some day in a classroom of your own where you can teach something that you love to students with whom you can build a wonderful rapport. Because that's what teaching is.

    I highly recommend looking up some of Ron Clark's work. There are plenty of videos on Youtube, and he's written several books. If you've never seen Ron speak, you might be a bit shocked at his energy level and unorthodox way of getting his point across. He puts on a real show, but I can tell you that the guy you see giving talks all over the country and on Oprah, etc. is 100% authentic Ron Clark. I went to high school with Ron, and he has ALWAYS been just like that, LOL! Hasn't changed one bit. But if you listen to his message, underneath all of the antics and jokes, he's all about holding kids accountable, setting high expectations for them, and being passionate about teaching. If that's something you want to do...something you really, really want to do, then it's up to you to make it happen.

    Good luck to you.
     
  13. Kenz501

    Kenz501 Cohort

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    Jun 26, 2017

    Then maybe you understand why I'm so frustrated? It's not even in my job description to teach, yet this is what the kids expect. They've even gone as far as to file formal complaints against me that have apparently been taken pretty seriously, because there is a veteran teacher in the room with me now, as humiliating as that is for me. It sends the message that I totally don't know what I'm doing, and that's not true. The kids just expect more from me than what I'm able to give them in this current position, and by writing complaints they feel like they can "punish" me when I don't deliver!

    I looked at a clip or two on Ron Clark Academy. Yeah, that's what the kids want. That's what I was hoping I would be able to give them after I trained to be a teacher. Too bad my expectations fall so short of reality. I guess I believed the lie that some teachers just don't care, and that's why we have schools where kids are so bored. Oh, I hope the rest of the world isn't still falling for that! There's way more going on than that. Still, though, I guess I can try to adapt little by little.
     
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2017
  14. GPC0321

    GPC0321 Companion

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    Okay, but you have to remember that your job is a far, far cry from being a teacher even a normal public high school, much less the Ron Clark Academy. My purpose in bringing him up was to show you that there ARE teachers out there who love their jobs (lots and lots of them on this message board) and there ARE students out there who love to learn.
    Your frustration with teaching stems from three main things:
    1. Your diagnosis (something you'll have to look into accommodating)
    2. The types of students at your particular institution (they are not the norm)
    3. Your actual job description (facilitator for a multi-grade, multi-subject, online program, not an actual classroom teacher)

    Look into project-based or inquiry-based learning. To me, with the range of grade levels and subjects that you have thrown into one room, and the fact that you have these kids the entire day, it would be a lot easier to give them a meaningful, student-centered/driven assignment that could be adapted for the different grade-levels and span across several core subjects. Let the kids choose projects that would interest them and that they are motivated to work on. Maybe it could be researching a particular career they are considering. Maybe it could be producing a piece of art or writing a story or designing a building.

    I actually gave my disgruntled, "school's-a-waste-of-time" class an assignment specifically so that they could vent their frustrations with school (and MY class, for a few of them). They wrote their own declarations of independence from our current school with the (obviously hypothetical) goal of establishing their own school, one that they felt would meet their needs much better than the current establishment. They patterned their declarations on the U.S. Declaration of Independence, and there were certain requirements (Preamble, list of grievances, etc.). I've done the project several times over the years with mixed results. I try to teach them that in order to bring about change with something they've written, they need to use a certain tone or they won't be taken seriously (ie: using "unacceptable" instead of "stupid" to describe something they don't like about school). And I try to emphasize that merely complaining without offering solutions to the problems will not get them very far. Some did a great job, some didn't, but every group got to take the floor and read their declaration aloud to the class. (And FYI, I totally found this activity online and stole it. I've used it several times over the years, and trot it out now if it seems like something the class might enjoy or need.)

    Give the kids a real world problem, have them research it and come up with and create a presentation on possible solutions to that problem. Maybe see if you could turn that into a service learning project for your class? Have them create public service announcements about issues (local, national, global) that they feel are important. The seniors at our school all have to do a community service project as part of their senior English class. They have to pick a problem/issue, research it, write a paper about the issue and what they plan to do to address it, go out there and actually do something about the problem, document their service (via a log and pictures), create a physical artifact that relates to their project, and give a presentation about their experience completing the service requirement and reflecting on the project as a whole. It's a huge, involved thing that they have to complete in one semester. We have kids volunteering in nursing homes and at animal shelters: kids who organize fundraisers, book drives, canned food drives, clothing drives; kids who do yard work for the elderly or disabled; kids who tutor elementary students; kids who work in food pantries, etc, etc, etc.

    Find out what is meaningful to your students. Give them some basic parameters, and then allow them the freedom to work on something that actually means something to them. And get real with them. Explain that you don't want to waste their time with busy work and worksheets. Tell them that you understand THEIR frustration and you want to help them. Lead them to brainstorm possible solutions to your class's problems.

    I say embrace these complaints. Do you get to see them? You seem to know what kind of complaints they are, so I'm assuming you do. Read them with an open mind. Don't see them so much as students being mean or trying to hurt you. See them as students who are JUST as frustrated as you are. Turn their concerns and complaints into an opportunity for them (and you) to problem solve.

    This is not a traditional school with traditional classes full of traditional students. So doing the traditional methods of instruction will not work with these kids. You're going to have to think outside of the box if you want to reach them and create an inspiring, meaningful experience for them in your classroom.
     
  15. Kenz501

    Kenz501 Cohort

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    I agree with you and like your suggestions, but the kids can't do independent research on their computers. Those websites are blocked, and since there's only a limited number of computers, I have to have students who can access computers working on their lessons online; we can't afford to go off on too many tangents. Still, though, I'm willing to do what I can feasibly do. I've incorporated some foreign language instruction into English activities in the past, for example.

    I really am trying to "own those complaints." I've been in contact with my boss and the people who run the detention center to try to get them to understand what is going on, but it appears to be a numbers thing. I would have been happy to make changes had the students just told my supervisor; they didn't have to file a series of "unjust treatment" complaint forms and prompt the facility to launch an investigation against me! This is what has me in knots. They're trying to get me fired because they are BORED? How malicious is that?

    It's made others, probably my boss included, question my classroom management competency, which, again, in this setting shouldn't be much of an issue, because, presumably they are occupied by the computers--which are not always available to serve all students. Really, it's just a big lack of communication and the-students-don't-like-you-so-they-want-you-gone-because-you-aren't-interacting-with-them-enough mess.
     
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2017
  16. GPC0321

    GPC0321 Companion

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    Jun 26, 2017

    Can you give some specific examples of the complaints they have?
     
  17. Kenz501

    Kenz501 Cohort

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    Jun 26, 2017

    She's "not teaching us anything."
    She "refuses" to help us with our lessons (really, I refuse to stand there and teach it to them; that's what the program is for! I don't know all of their subjects.)
    She "doesn't know what she's doing." (okay, who put them in charge?)
    She "doesn't care about us." (where on Earth do they get those kinds of ideas?)
    She "plays favorites." (I do not play favorites, but I am more responsive to responsive students. If you're ignoring me, I will assume you aren't interested.)
     
  18. AmyMyNamey

    AmyMyNamey Comrade

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    Jun 26, 2017

    You realize that you have have your loans deferred while attending school in pursuit of yet another degree?

    You rely too heavily on your intellect to navigate complex social dynamics. You will not be able to replace years of necessary experience with research or contemplation in isolation.

    Good luck.
     
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  19. CherryOak

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    I keep trying to imagine being a ninth grader in the same room all day with such a variation of ages, including fifth grade. Or, take the reverse. It's also temporary without a clear definition or goal. I would probably complain, too. It's a hard situation for all. Perhaps some type of ongoing project with an external, perhaps charitable (?) focus and definition to the room would help.
     
  20. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    Jun 26, 2017

    If you don't teach, what happens when the students don't understand the computer lesson?
     
  21. GPC0321

    GPC0321 Companion

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    I think one thing you need to recognize and embrace is that teaching isn't about subject matter. It doesn't matter if your degree/license is in English or underwater basket-weaving. You teach STUDENTS, not subject matter.
    I'm an English teacher, but I've helped students with their history, science, Spanish, and (bless their hearts) I've tried with math...but yeah...not so much! I don't have much knowledge in these other subjects, but I know how to teach kids to read for understanding, how to pick a question apart and figure out what it's asking, how to look for clues in a text that can lead them to the answer, how to pick out main ideas and important details in a text, etc. Read over whatever it is they're struggling with aloud, rephrase the questions or problems, break things down into more manageable pieces. It doesn't matter what subject it is...approach it as if YOU were going to have to complete the assignment, and work through your thought process of figuring out what must be done aloud so that your student can hear you.
    You've completed a college degree, so you've probably taken history, math, science, and English courses at higher levels than any of these kids have ever taken. So even if you aren't licensed to teach those subjects, you still have more experience with them than your students. And teaching skills are teaching skills regardless of the subject matter. This is why, even though my college degree and current license are in secondary English Education, I could go take one test in any other subject matter I want and if I pass it, I can teach that subject too. The TEACHING part doesn't change. Most of my methods courses were cross-curricular and there were math teachers, science teachers, history teachers, English teachers, foreign language teachers, business teachers, PE teachers, etc. all sitting in the same classes learning the same methods to be effective teachers. The same goes for professional development now. They don't break us up by content. The things we learn can be applied across the curriculum to any subject that is taught.
    Teach the kids. Stay on your feet, circulating around the room, answering questions, and trying your very best to help them. That's why you're there.
     
  22. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    Jun 26, 2017

    I do agree you teach students first and foremost. You don't teach novels, you don't teach Civil Wars, or you don't teach lab techniques. That means you must adapt what you do to those who are learning. That is the art of teaching.

    I disagree that content or subject matter doesn't matter because you can't teach students the subject matter or content if you don't understand it well enough your self to adapt how you teach the content to fit the needs of the students. Trying to teach chemistry when you don't understand covalent bonds is futile if you don't understand it.

    Teachers need both.
     
  23. GPC0321

    GPC0321 Companion

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    Right. I have no clue about chemistry (terrible at it in high school, failed it in college, this is why I'm an English teacher instead of a veterinarian now). But if I have a student who is learning about covalent bonds (and until 10 seconds ago, I had no idea what that even is, but I now do thanks to Google), I can at least try to help that student look through the information on the computer program to figure out where the "hole" is in their understanding so that maybe together we can fill it in.
    In the time it took me to type this reply, I've read the definition of a covalent bond, found a review worksheet on covalent bonds, and found a bunch of Youtube videos explaining covalent bonds.
    I'm not saying I can replace a licensed chemistry teacher (not by a long shot!!), but I can at least offer some help. If nothing else, it's good for the students to see us modeling how to use the internet to research, investigate, problem solve, and learn. I'd be straight up with the student that I sucked at chemistry and never "got it", but that I'd do my best to help him/her figure it out. Students respect when teachers are honest and humble.
    And hey...that's "growth mindset" right? "Hey, kid. I know squat about covalent bonds right now, but by the time we're through, we're BOTH going to know more about them!"
     
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  24. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    I agree that honest and humble is good. I also agree that trying is good. Students deserve teachers who know content and subject matter. It seems in Kenz's case, the students may not have access to all of the things you have at your disposal. So, if you don't know the content to answer the questions, is that really fair to the student.

    What if your college professors were green as green could be in content knowledge? Would you be happy paying your tuition only to have professors look at you tube videos and have a limited knowledge of what subject matter they were supposed to convey? Why should any student deserve to be forced to be educated by those who do not know the subject matter they are supposed to impart to the students or facilitate?

    Now, it isn't Kenz's fault that the school is hiring someone who can't really facilitate all subjects unless Kenz told the administration she was capable of all content and subject matter.

    I just don't think it is good enough to look up you tube videos or model researching basic subject knowledge when you are paid to be able to impart the knowledge. Sure, if you are the English teacher and the student wants to know something about chemistry, or some obscure fact that wasn't part of the English curriculum, but otherwise, it is fraud to place someone in that position and call it an education.
     
  25. GPC0321

    GPC0321 Companion

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    Jun 26, 2017

    Plenty of parents homeschool their children without a degree of any kind. And I've met some homeschool kids who know a heck of a lot more about chemistry and many other subjects than their peers who attend public school.

    Regardless, this isn't about whether or not Kenz offering to help struggling students is providing them the ideal education. Obviously, there is nothing ideal about the entire situation. But one must make the best of one's circumstances, yes? So when a student needs help with some work, there are two choices:
    1. Shrug it off as not being within your content area or job description and let the kids fend for themselves
    2. At least try to give the student some support with whatever resources are available

    Definitely don't pretend to have all the answers for subject matter that you're not very familiar with, but at least be willing to try and help the kids find or figure out the answers themselves. That's better than nothing, and they will appreciate the effort and probably not write numerous complaints about how their teacher never helps them, doesn't teach, doesn't care about them, and doesn't know what she's doing.
     
  26. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    Homeschool parents aren't getting paid by the government to teach. Also many find co-ops to help with subjects for which they are unfamiliar. I have also met my fair share of homeschool kids wjo don't learn necessary information.
     
  27. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    Either of these choices could still easily result in complaints if the student doesn't realize they only have a monitor rather than someone who can teach when the student is lost, especially when she doesn't have access to additional resoyrces such as you tube and only 2 computers.
     
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2017
  28. Kenz501

    Kenz501 Cohort

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    Although the students don't, I have access to YouTube and other resources in my classroom, but you have to realize that in addition to maybe providing help to one or two students on the computers, I have to find ways to keep the others busy. It's actually not very practical to try to go over a lesson with a student when you have a group at their desks trying to make paper airplanes out of the work you gave them. Plus, I hate to admit it, but some of their subjects aren't easy. I can understand why they get frustrated with the program.
     
  29. Kenz501

    Kenz501 Cohort

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    I had another not so great day today. My printer wasn't working, and one of my students discretely pointed out to me that there was a fairly noticeable stain on my dress. I was mortified and called the office because I was considering telling them I was going home. This was just too much. How could I overlook something so obvious after all of the trouble I had been having? The lady in front asked to see me so that she could better understand what I was talking about. I agreed to let her look at me but not before I went to my car and put on another skirt I probably wouldn't have worn otherwise. She then looked me over and told me to go wash a white spot off of the skirt. I wasn't that happy considering the skirt I put on was recently washed anyway, but it was better than explaining needing to go home because I put on stained clothing. This particular lady has gotten into the habit of helping me criticize my work related fashion choices. I don't know if it's good or bad, really. After that, I went back to my classroom and tried to hold class. The behavior wasn't great, though. The tutor who comes and visits my classroom once in a while even had to write one of my students up. I didn't witness the things she claimed, but I allowed her to write the student up, because I don't think they should disrespect any adult in the classroom. I don't always hear what they say, though, and that's another good reason for my no talking without permission rule.

    I think the students have actually gotten worse with me after the veteran teacher started visiting. I don't understand the goal, but it feels like they hate me. They don't give me a lot of respect and just generally try to take advantage of me. A few of them were loud and disruptive today. I reminded them of the rules several times, but it seems like they were ignoring me. I finally sent two or three out of the classroom. One of the students I put out threatened to write another complaint, and another one threatened me with "wait until tomorrow." I don't get it; it's like they delight in frustrating and exhausting me. Some of them accuse me of getting into their "personal space" when I get close enough to try to help them with work, and some of them do even more overtly rude things, like covering their mouths with their shirts when I approach. They don't show these signs of disrespect to the other teachers. They also say really rude things about me and sometimes other people in the classroom. I have a no talking without permission rule, but they break it all of the time. I don't really know how to enforce it effectively; I don't want to write up the whole class. I actually tried writing up the talkers, but they just turned around and filed more complaints.

    At this point, everything is excessive. There are constant deliberate disruptions. The students don't obey the classroom rules even though I remind them of them constantly. I even gave each one of my students a typed copy to keep in their folders in case they forget. They still break the rules and then whine when they're finally punished for it. This is pretty frustrating.

    My supervisor says the complaints are causing the detention center to question my competency. They don't like getting too many of those complaints. I don't know why the kids feel like they need to file them against me. It's become sort of a "tit for tat" with students filing formal complaints every time I attempt to discipline them.

    If they did this to the other teachers I would maybe feel a bit better, but the kids have this nasty habit to this extent only with me. Sure, the other teachers may get complaints, but they don't get as many as I do. I'm scratching my head, too. Why do I get so many complaints? If the kids are using them as a weapon against me, why aren't they using them against the other teachers as well?

    Maybe it's the same reason teens gossip about and bully some kids while leaving the others alone? Social dynamics sometimes really confuse me.
     
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2017
  30. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    Here's my impression...the kids you teach can't control much in their environment. They are in a highly regulated institution with guards watching them. They have found one thing they can control and that is YOU. They have found your weak spots and are taking full advantage.

    At this point in time, I hope you are looking for another teaching opportunity. I don't think these kids are going to let up because they are having so much fun annoying you and getting under your skin.
     
    Luv2TeachInTX likes this.
  31. Kenz501

    Kenz501 Cohort

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    I get that most people would probably tell me that I'm the one who is responsible; if the kids do it to me it's because I'm letting them, but I wish I knew what that really meant, especially since I can be indirectly "punished" by these complaints. So far, if I enforce my rules, I'm being "mean" and the kids complain to the detention center. If I ignore some of the poor behavior and only enforce rules when something "big" happens, the kids who are punished accuse me of being "unfair," but everyone else ignores it and doesn't complain. How can I win?

    Having that veteran teacher in my room makes me feel so inferior. I've tried to mimic some of what she does, but the kids react differently to me than to her.
     
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2017
  32. GPC0321

    GPC0321 Companion

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    They are insecure, and in an effort to make themselves feel better, they target someone they perceive as being even more insecure than they are. They see you as that target now.

    At this point, I agree with swansong1. These kids have tasted blood and it's going to be hard to change that dynamic now. This is a game to them, and they're winning the game.

    I don't know if any advice is even helpful at this point, but I will say that having a rule like 'no talking without permission' is pretty pointless if there is no consistent consequence for breaking the rule. By setting that rule, and then allowing them to break the rule over and over, you're basically teaching them that your rules are meaningless and they don't have to pay attention to you.

    A better rule might be something along the lines of "Do not disrupt class" or "Respect your teacher, classmates, and classroom." Because it's not very realistic that these students are going to go the entire day only talking when you give them permission. And the minute one of them says anything, even something as harmless as asking a classmate how to get to an assignment on the computer, they've broken the rule.

    I have five rules in my classroom:
    1. Follow all school rules.
    2. Let your teacher teach.
    3. Let your classmates learn.
    4. Be responsible for your own learning.
    5. Accept the consequences of your actions.

    These pretty much cover ever scenario that could pop up in my class, but they don't micromanage the students and place unrealistic restrictions on them.
     
  33. Kenz501

    Kenz501 Cohort

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    I'm watching more Ron Clark Academy commentary videos, and I'm just so upset with myself. I at this point do not feel like I could take a group of inner-city kids and get them interested in anything. I almost feel like my students bristle when I'm around. Either that or they smile evil smiles of delight. I'm obviously very frustrated. I want to teach these kids how to travel to the moon, but they don't trust that I'm able to drive a car, if that metaphor is correct. I don't get it, and my bosses and coworkers are probably getting frustrated with me as well.
     
  34. Kenz501

    Kenz501 Cohort

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    The teacher who was in this classroom before me had rules like that, but I had students who tested those rules and argued that they were so vague that I couldn't enforce them. When I wrote them up, they claimed that it was for "no reason." I thought it made sense to spell out those vague rules so that the students understood. After I had a fight or two erupt in my classroom after a student got a smart mouth with another, I decided that talking shouldn't be allowed unless it was monitored. The other teachers somehow enforce similar rules. At least it appears that way. Their classrooms are mostly quiet. It feels like trying to put out fires with me, though, and the kids are always happy to test me by giggling, breathing loudly, whispering, and so forth, even though they are given break time to talk and they are allowed to talk when we do group assignments.

    I guess I'm really not in their shoes. How difficult is it to ask for permission to speak? I even sometimes allow group work so that they can talk quietly among themselves. I just don't want them to bully each other and cause another fight.
     
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2017
  35. geoteacher

    geoteacher Habitué

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    I mean this as a serious question. Do you see this environment as one where you can be successful? Only you can answer that, but after reading your posts and hearing about your difficulties, you may be at a point where you want to think about an exit strategy.
     
  36. Kenz501

    Kenz501 Cohort

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    I can be more successful here than as a sub. I've gotten more respect from the kids here than out there, but this is just a tough group. The problem, though, is they are hitting me where it really hurts. Those complaint forms aren't ignored, and if the detention center wants to get rid of me, there's nothing my boss or the people who hired me can do. I wish classroom management wasn't such a mystery to me.
     
  37. pommom

    pommom Comrade

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    Sorry if you stated already. Are you teaching at a year round school? When does your school year end?
     
  38. Kenz501

    Kenz501 Cohort

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    It's a year-round mandatory supplemental education program at a detention center.
     
  39. pommom

    pommom Comrade

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    Are you getting paid teacher salary? If not, then put your 2 weeks, and do not tell the kids anything. Get a job as a teaching assistant for the upcoming school year or working in the office if you want to stay in education.
     
  40. Kenz501

    Kenz501 Cohort

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    Jun 27, 2017

    I get paid about twice as much as I made as a sub, and a teacher's assistant would only be making minimum wage.
     

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