Need help with MS classroom management!

Discussion in 'Middle School / Junior High' started by Blayze, Sep 12, 2012.

  1. Blayze

    Blayze New Member

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    Sep 12, 2012

    This is my 5th year teaching art in NYC public schools but my first in middle school. I never really had a problem with classroom management in elementary school as they were easily controlled. Middle school is a completely different animal. I come home so stressed, depressed and feel like crying because of the way these students treat me. It’s makes me want to quit. On the first day I was being bullied and challenged by a handful of students. They would call me names, refuse to listen, refuse to do their work and would try walking out of the classroom in the middle of class. I am a shorter person at 5' 6" and some of these kids are taller and bigger than me. I feel like I am in a losing battle as the days go on and i'm not sure how I am going to make it through this year.

    I have 5 classes 1 of which is 6th grade and the rest are 8th grade with an average of 30 students. The 6th grade class is fantastic as they listen and do their work. It's the 8th grade classes that are giving me trouble one of which is special needs. There are some good student in those 8th grade classes but some are giving into the peer pressure and are starting to act up and verbally attack me as well. I have already called 15 parents but things still aren’t getting resolved. I am tired of getting attitudes from student every day who don’t want to let me teach.

    There has to be thing that I can do to control these students. If anyone has any suggestions I sure could use them right now. I am keeping daily logs of things that go on just to cover myself and have info on daily occurrences. I feel like if I threaten them they will just retaliate back or simply not care. When the guidance counselor came in my classroom to talk to them they were all quiet and attentive. Why can't they do that for me? She is the same size and had the same voice level as I do. All she did was tell them to quiet down.

    I just want to run back to elementary school but I am committed to a year of this and I want to get through it. I have never felt do disrespected in my life.
     
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  3. PowerTeacher

    PowerTeacher Comrade

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    Sep 12, 2012

    Try HERE. Joining and downloading the support materials are all FREE! Feel free to ask any questions you have.
     
  4. Milsey

    Milsey Habitué

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    Sep 16, 2012

    I sympathize. Middle school can be a nightmare at times. I would crack down hard on the 5 or 6 ringleaders who try to wreck your class every day. Take away the things they enjoy - recess, lunch with friends, laptop time. Do it every day, and I'm sure they will get the message that you are the authority figure, you are not to be messed with. (The others are just followers.) Keep a record of what they do and call home during your prep time. Let them know you called home.
     
  5. roxstar

    roxstar Companion

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    Sep 18, 2012

    I am so sorry you are having such a difficult time. I know what that feels like; when the entire class is just spinning out of control. What do you do? Who do you reprimand? You can't use proximity when they are yelling back and forth to each other. You can't send 6 kids to the dean's office if you want to be taken seriously by your admin or have the respect of any of your students. It's a really tough thing. Here is my long winded response. Much of it comes from a book called Teaching with Love and Logic to give credit where credit is due, but I am finding this year that building relationships with my kids is the only thing I can do to keep things in order.

    I agree with Milsey, pin point the ring leaders and then decide who THEIR leader is. I'm not sure what your school's policy is on sending kids out of the room so this may or may not be ok but...talk to a teacher before hand and see if they have a desk for them to sit at during your class period. When they start up, walk up to your student and WHISPER something like "I allow students to stay in my room when they are following the rules or being respectful or etc. I HOPE YOU CHOOSE TO STAY. THANK YOU." And then walk away before he can reply because if you stand there you are asking for a reply. Walking way gives them the assumption of compliance. Now, the other kids might be acting up while you do this, but that's ok for the moment. Not in the long run, but in this moment, let it go. THen when this ringleader says something snarky to you from across the room (I am thinking worst cases here) You walk calmly over to him and say " there is a seat waiting for you in Mr./Mrs. Class, can't wait to see you back here when you think you're ready." (that last part is so important because it lets them know that you actually do WANT them in your room, just not their crappy behavior.) Now if he refused to go then you can calmly tell him, oh well and then call for him to be removed because he is just going to keep on going. You might even talk to your Admin about your plans so they know what you are planning to do.

    THEN: You walk over to one of the other turkeys that have probably been trying to instigate, and then you calmly ask him/or her in a whisper "are you going to be able to get yourself together, or do you need some time in another room?" Then walk away before he or she can answer. You keep doing this in a respectful, quiet way until you get them all either out of your room to cool off or compliant. Either way, you can now teach. You need to show them that the behavior will not be tolerated, but that you still respect them as people. You said New York so I am assuming your kids are low SES. Respect is big. You need to earn it from them.

    You need to show them that you can handle what they are throwing at you because they are trying to hurt you. They are trying to push you over the edge. It might be the only thing they can control in their lives. :(

    THEN: You need to in the long run start to build relationships with these kids who obviously have a problem with you for no other reason than the fact that you are there and telling them what to do. So those same kids that you had to send away, you notice them every day outside your room and make a comment. Not compliments because they will see that manipulation coming, just things that you notice. "Joe, I notice you have a lot of friends. I noticed that." "Mark, I noticed you wearing that football Jersey. You must like the Giants (or whatever)" Keep doing this, even though you may continually have problems with them in class. Keep taking care of the problems in class with dignity and over time, I believe you will have a better experience.


    The writers of this book do not pay me :) I just believe so strongly in this approach and if nothing else, you will feel better and less stressed/drained at the end of the day. Just tell yourself whenever you need to correct a behavior (sad not mad. Sad not mad.) Deliver your consequences with empathy (oh, man, that's a shame) rather than anger. ( I have HAD it with you today!

    Of course, this is just my opinion :spitwater:
    Keep us posted on how things are going and stay positive. :thumb:
     
  6. Teachforlife

    Teachforlife Rookie

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    Sep 23, 2012

    Oh my, I feel your pain. My background is elementary school too. I am teaching middle school and it is a nightmare.

    I work at a school that is mostly minority students. I have one student in the entire grade that looks like me. The other teachers are also minority. My students, many of them, give me a hard time (such as threats of beating the ____ out of me) simply because I do not look or sound like them. This assumption has been reinforced by my co-teachers. They are respectful to the other teachers. I have been told by the other teachers to get down on the students' level. I have been told to throw books around, kick desks over, yell and to "get ghetto" on them. This is not what I would consider to be proper behavior for a teacher.

    I have honestly considered breaking my contract, but realized that this is NOT AN OPTION.

    Another note, administration is of no help at all. NONE. She rules by intimidation and fear. I do not fit in well with her style of management. I have never been disrespectful, but made a suggestion once and it has put a target on my back. So truly, I believe admn will do whatever it takes to get rid of me. I have been told by my union rep that admn has run off other teachers and that once im on the bad side of admin, my life will be a living hell.

    We are not allowed to send children out of our rooms. Our school has no ISS and no school police. Our school is 100% free lunches based upon income, so these children dont all come from a great situation.

    I am really working in a stressful situation.

    I really hope this didnt take away from the original poster. I pray we both get our situations worked out.
     
  7. perplexed

    perplexed Comrade

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    Sep 24, 2012

    I agree with everything roxstar said. After I read Love and Logic, my life has changed. I am no longer stressed about the behavior aspects of work.

    I also strongly believe in building positive relationships. Get to know your students. I shake each student's hand at the door and greet them each day. Even if a student comes in late, I welcome them and say good morning. I also spent the first week getting to know them and asking them questions about themselves.

    I also have procedures that must be followed and I don't back down on them.

    I stil have some days that are challenging, but then I reflect a lot. Usually if I had followed Love and Logic, it would have gone smoother. I usually just quickly revisit.
     
  8. roxstar

    roxstar Companion

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    Sep 24, 2012

    I wanted to let you know that the gods of classroom management must have read my post, and decided to teach me a lesson. I have had a difficult week where I have been feeling pretty ineffective. I just wanted to say that, to let you know that we all have great days in middle school and not so great. Especially in an urban setting. I have one class period that is really making me work. Every second of the period is teetering on the edge of collapse. (I have some jokers that shout things out, and then the ENTIRE class will erupt into laughter) So, Love and Logic or whatever works for you is great, but there are good and bad days. Hang in there.
     
  9. Rebel1

    Rebel1 Connoisseur

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    Sep 24, 2012

    So sorry Blayze to read about what you are going through. It is sad how a lot of the children nowadays are losing the respect for a lot of the teachers. It sounds like a lot of the children have found your weak spot. It's sad that the parents are not responding to your call for help. What is wrong with some of these parents? I will keep you in my prayers.
    Something's got to give.
    Rebel1
     
  10. roxstar

    roxstar Companion

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    Sep 24, 2012

    :thumb:
     
  11. pvcpa

    pvcpa Rookie

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    Sep 26, 2012

    May I offer an administrative (as well as a teacher's) perspective?

    First, I sympathize with both posters who are having problems. My problem was the reverse of these posters, I started out my student teaching in elementary and it was a nightmare, I love Middle school.

    "Teaching with Love and Logic" is a great resource and I recommend to all teachers, new and experienced.

    I feel first that if your administrator is not helping you then there lies a majority of your problems. As an administrator I do not consider it a teacher's weakness to send students to my office, in droves if necessary, at the beginning of a term, especially new teachers. By the teachers sending the students "Up the chain" it sends a clear message that my staff and I are on the same page.

    Do not think for one minute that students do not know it when an administrator's style differs from a particular teacher or when an administrator has a track record of not supporting teachers, the students know and will use it.

    I handle more referrals the first three weeks of school than the remainder of the year combined. If you school does not have an ISS or similar program that is a problem. In my school problem students sit in my office foyer for the day (I have few return visitors). We have a "No suspension" policy" but we have great detention and Saturday School program. Thankfully these programs are rarely used after October or so.

    I agree with much of what I hear. Isolate the leaders and make an example. If you cannot get support from administration than seek the help of other teachers. If it is male students I would suggest seeking help from one of the PE or athletic coaches.

    Be blessed.
     

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