Noisy classes

Discussion in 'Substitute Teachers' started by Purrceyz, Jan 12, 2012.

  1. Purrceyz

    Purrceyz Rookie

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    Jan 12, 2012

    Being a brand new sub, I got my first assignment yesterday, I filled in for a gr 7/8 teacher. I did his homeroom class in the morning (language arts, math & drama) and a gr 6/7 & 7/8 science class in the afternoon. The teacher left detailed lesson plans and it went quite well. I did not have any severe behaviours and most kids completed their work.


    However, the big challenge I found was noise levels - especially the gr 6/7 class who were loud enough to disturb their teacher next door (who was on prep time) - they were noisier than the last class who had just returned from a field trip to the chocolate factory!


    I flicked the lights (which worked), uses proximity control (which helped) and positiive reminders ('the noise level needs to come down', 'quiet' "some people are working quietly but I need everyone working quietly" ) in a firm but calm voice. I also was in motion the entire time & never sat down and spoke to individual groupings and students as well. However I found that they weren't terribly responsive to me. (They do listen better to their regular teachers.)


    I realize that I have a much better tolerance for noise than many teachers (having a son with severe autism and volunteering in a special ed class, I'm used to a lot of noise) but if the noise is loud enough to bother other classes, it's too loud. (I also think the teacher next door on prep time was embarassed, she reminded individual students that she had hears me using their names when the period ended.)

    How do you handle noisy classes?
     
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  3. jen12

    jen12 Devotee

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    Jan 12, 2012

    Generally, I try to avoid fifth grade and up because they are so out and out rude to subs, but when I do take older kids and they're super loud like that, I do a few things:

    There's always one who decides to challenge me straight-up. It's usually shouting out "HERE!" when I take the roll. I ask right away if he'd like to spend the period in the office, and make sure that they're all aware that they can stay and be respectful or they can go. Usually they settle down, but you have to be ready to follow-thorugh on your threat if you get a smart-alek who decides to answer "yes" he would like to go to the office.

    Middle schoolers are mean. They're mean to their teachers, mean to their parents and most of all, mean to each other. I don't hesitate to use my knowledge of that fact. I remind them that they may not have quite as many friends as they believe they have willing to break rules to cover for them. I tell them that they'd be surprised by the number of students in the class with a strong conscience and parents who raised them to tell the truth, and that those students WILL report to their teacher just who started trouble and who worked as expected. Since middle schoolers ALL know how much THEY like to tattle and see each other in trouble, it's not hard for them to consider that someone might like to see them in trouble too. It usually works pretty well.

    And proximity works. If all else fails, and they're still loud, I walk around with a marker and hand it to the loudest ones and tell them to write their names on the board. They beg to know how they can get their names off the board again.

    I also know of someone who uses the overhead to write a "note" to the teacher explaining that third period was disrespectful, noisy, did not complete the assigned work, etc. When they all see this, it does wonders, but you have to have an overhead projector, of course. And you kind of have to be using it for a lesson and just "happen" to write the note under it...turning it on just to do this seems a little like overkill.
     
  4. Purrceyz

    Purrceyz Rookie

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    Jan 12, 2012

    Thank you for the suggestions. I'll remember the names on the board (no whiteboards here, just old fashioned blackboards at least in the classrooms I've seen) or the note to the teacher. I didn't see any overheads in the room I was in yesterday but I'll remember that if I use one.

    I do agree that middle schoolers can be mean but I've also seen real caring and empathy in middle schoolers at times. (I'm volunteering for my second year in a separate special ed class of middle school students - many of the kids I volunteer with there have behavioral issues but are good kids. There's one student in the class with frontal lobe damage who just totally loses it sometimes - the other kids have had his disability explained to them and have shown quite a bit of empathy to him despite their own issues/disabilities.)

    I talked to some of the special ed teachers at the school I volunteer in today when I was there today. They did say that 'regular' teachers *do* expect more quiet than special education teachers in specialized classes - I will be stricter next time about noise. One of the teacher said a lot of substitutes would not want middle school students on a chocolate high after a field trip and the fact I told the principal I enjoyed the day means I have a good chance of being called back. (I told him that they were good kids although noisy; he replied, they 'they're a very chatty group".)
     
  5. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Jan 12, 2012

    I think the most important thing is to make sure they are quiet right form the beginning. A lot of times when I was subbing, I would line them up outside, and talked to them before they entered the classroom. Told them they needed to enter quietly, without talking, go to their assigned seats and take out their supplies. Also let them know I didn't want to see any gum or electronic devises (they would be confiscated).
    This usually set the tone, and they realized this day would be different for them, they can't eat me alive.
    It usually worked, of course they are always a few, or even more who decided to challenge you, and that's when you come down on them hard. Send the kid out to enter the classroom again, this time the right way, etc., or ask for his name and write it down, etc.

    I am not a fan of writing kids' names on the board. I always liked to write on the clipboard. They didn't know what I was writing, and that was just eating them up. I told them I was making a good list and a bad list, so they all wanted to be on the good list.

    The main thing is to let them know what you expect and then enforce it.
     
  6. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Jan 12, 2012

    How very important to remember! Middle schoolers frequently get a bad rap, yet they can be the most amazingly kind people!!!

    Middle schoolers are mercurial. They can be marvelous to work with if they click with the teacher. Win their loyalty and you'll have it forever.
     
  7. Purrceyz

    Purrceyz Rookie

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    Jan 12, 2012

    Thanks for the further suggestions.

    I agree middle school students do have a bad rap which isn't always deserved. I must admit I did dislike this age group before I had children of my own (I was a children's/young adult librarian) but having seen my own kids grow through it (both are now grown), I don't think that kids this age always deserve their reputation.

    Unfortunately I was not there when they entered the classroom. I'm a supply without a teaching degree- in our province, they call substitutes with teaching degrees first, then if the spot is still open, they then call our list. When I received the call from the school, school had already started. I got there within 3 minutes and there was a regular teacher from a lower grade who was on her prep time already there. With the 2 afternoon classes, I greeted them at the door and had them line up to leave. Next time, I will have classes line up before entering the room.
     
  8. TeachingHistory

    TeachingHistory Companion

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    Jan 12, 2012

    Out of all the age groups, I have by far the easiest time with the middle school kids. Granted I'm usually in the school where I've bonded with probably 75% of the population.

    What helps me with the noise level:

    *If there are more than 2 things the kids have to complete, I write a list on the board of THINGS THAT MUST BE DONE OR ITS HOMEWORK. And then I talk it up about how its our mission to get through this and if they work with me we can have little to no homework. They usually suck it up and get to work.

    * As they come into the room I repeat over and over what I want them to do in addition to having it on the board. The second the bell rings I start. If the school doesn't have a late bell, we start as soon as humanely possible.

    *If they act up, I tell them that I will be writing a note to their teacher, don't blow it, and yes, if you act like a fool, I'm more than ok with letting them know. This is especially effective when I know the teacher and what the consequences are.

    *I move kids. When they do partner work, I tell them don't do something you know you'll get in trouble for and don't sit next to someone where you'll get yourself in trouble.

    *I learn names as fast as I possibly can. Some days I struggle more than others, but "Joe" is so much more effective than "hey you with the hair" Seating charts are my friend.

    *I bribe them with the last three minutes of class where they can talk.

    *I have fun with them if they can handle it. I don't mean turn it into a free for all, but I keep my sense of humor and let them laugh. After a while you learn when to laugh with them, when to tell them to knock it off, and when to pretend you didn't hear something and just mow them over.

    It usually works for me, but then there will always be some days where you will simply want to punt a few out the window. With love, of course. :angel:
     
  9. Purrceyz

    Purrceyz Rookie

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    Jan 13, 2012

    TeachingHistory thank you so much for your helpful suggestions. I will use them the next time I'm in a middle school classroom.
     
  10. TeachingHistory

    TeachingHistory Companion

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    Jan 13, 2012

    Your Welcome...

    A note on moving kids. I try to move them before they get themselves in trouble. The class I had today, which I know very well, I was moving kids all over the place, and several asked to move just so they wouldn't get in trouble. And I flat out say to them "I'm moving you, you didn't do anything. I'm moving you so you don't get yourself in trouble." We have a good enough relationship that they know and trust me.
     
  11. SetterHugger85

    SetterHugger85 Rookie

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    Jan 24, 2012

    Agreed. This is the grade level I desire to work with. I am working towards a broadfield science cert. to get there because my biology degree is not enough. I would rather teach middle school over high school because of their care, inquiry, and all out enthusiasm. If geared in the right ways, they make successful young people!:thumb: I LOVE their "Aha" moments!
     

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