I have lost the battle for discipline with my 8th grade classes. (I teach 6th & 7th grades also, but I have more control with them.) I am a first year teacher working at a largely hispanic & black inner city school with a new principal. There is a tremendous school wide discipline problem. The other teachers agree that the students are out of control though some veteran teachers (core subject) seem to be doing OK. (To illustrate how bad conditions are:the newly appointed principal and her 2 VPs are leaving by the end of this year.) I am told many teachers leave each year. Most of my students simply refuse to do the work I assign. The 8th grade curriculum consists of careers and relationships. I tried rewards, but it is clear they have simply taken over. They don't care to work toward any reward because they do what they please anyway. Many are loud, rude and foul mouthed. They sit wherever they want even though I have tried to maintain a seating chart. They are bullies. If I give them the grades they deserve, I would be failing 2/3 of the class. They tell me my class doesn't matter, it's "boring" or "too hard". Yesterday, two students (one who does do the work and one who doesn't ) told me other classes are fun and mine is not. I've tried to come up with engaging lessons, but so far have not found anything that works. There is no such thing as class discussion (I can't get them quiet), they refuse to participate in activities I've planned. I can't begin to describe how bad the situation is. Every 6 weeks I get a new cycle of students and it's always ends up the same. My classes are mixed ability and are behind educationally. Many have trouble reading and each class has a few ESL students. (Oddly, the students who are doing the best in my classes range from the lowest to the highest abilities). My administration deals with only the worst behavior since they are overwhelmed. I am told to handle it in my classroom. Calls home have helped very little. The parents are tired of getting called. The kids are used to detention and that doesn't seem to help either. In reality, I can't keep up with the consequences I set up with my class rules. They have me spinning and they know it. Common advice from the other teachers has been to dumb it down, give lots of worksheets and word searches. These kids are so far behind as it is. I hate to sucumb to that. I apologize for the lengthy post but I am ready to crack. If you can't offer advice, it's OK. Thanks for allowing me to vent.