Our 2nd grade is out of control!

Discussion in 'Behavior Management' started by ILoveMyCello, Aug 21, 2009.

  1. ILoveMyCello

    ILoveMyCello Companion

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    Aug 21, 2009

    I already posted about my mutiny but I think I need some more help than that.

    Our specialist team (white and from the north), are having MAJOR issues with our second grade. They are good for their teachers (this is a 98% black school), then they shut the door-about 5 minutes later is chaos. And this is with all three classes!! We see them 35 minutes a week per class. There is no suspension. The only punishment is a visit to the office, or stay home for a day.

    They are hitting the bejeezers out of each other and me, knocking my stuff over, punching each other, screaming at us, knocking desks over, etc. They are not scared of the principal either so going to the office is not a big deal. A child picked up my pencil cup and threw it at me today. The PE teacher had a fistfight in her class and sent a note with a girl that said what was happening and 911. He told her to handle it. The art teacher says he will not let them in his room again. The ones who want to be there are crying and putting their hands over their ears.

    I did not relocate 11 hours to get hit by 7 year olds. Our other grades are doing a little better-it's just the 2nd grade. The teachers won't come help us because its their planning period. I told them we should refuse to take them untill they straighten up. If they are racist, then the guidance counselor needs to step in as well, right? I have a stomachache thinking about them...help please.

    PS-All of the classes push 30 students (special ed are mixed in as well)
     
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  3. Zelda~*

    Zelda~* Devotee

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    Aug 21, 2009

    Oh heavens.....I do not envy you. No support is a horrible place to find yourself. I don't know how much help I can be, but I'll give it a try.

    Is there some way you can put a rewards system in place? Maybe a whole group/individual one? Whip out a bucket of M&Ms and start rewarding those sitting in "Musicians' Position" (aka Criss-Cross Applesauce). When these kiddos that are acting out stop, immediately praise/reward them. (Eventually you can put a greater wait time in, but to start, it'll have to be asap.)

    Also, can you have the classes compete with one another? The ones who behave get a sticker on a chart---see which class can earn the most stickers---then reward that class (one per grade level perhaps---or grade level vs grade level even).

    I know all of this is easier said than done. I wish you the best of luck! :)
     
  4. ILoveMyCello

    ILoveMyCello Companion

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    Aug 21, 2009

    Tried the sticker chart....they stole a sheet of my stickers and were putting them on THEMSELVES....it's only been ONE WEEK!
     
  5. Zelda~*

    Zelda~* Devotee

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    Aug 21, 2009

    Yikes.

    You said these kids are good for their homeroom teachers---what sort of behavior system are they implementing there? Can you carry it over into your room? Is there anyway you could get them to talk to the kids with you there?

    At my school--they use a behavoir wheel and it follows the class everywhere. I do things a little differently in the ED room--I also give out tickets for on-task behavoir, but I'm dealing with SBH kids in much, much, smaller groups.
     
  6. 1stGr8

    1stGr8 Companion

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    Aug 23, 2009

    Hmmmm. In my school we have a very rough population as well and situations you described can happen from time to time. Here's what I find works:

    1- You need to establish a relationship with them. Kids such as the ones you described are taught about only respecting people who respect them. Maybe take a day, scrap your plans, and ask them what they like, who they are, etc. Then use that info to get to know them better.
    2- Find what does work. For my kids, it's food. It's not a call home, it's not the principal, it's food. So I reward will pretzels.
    3- I am white and my students are primarily not. I have never found this to be a problem. I teach first and I have had a little boy tell me he doesn't like white people. I told him that in this classroom we all get along. It took time but he learned to trust me. A lot of that racism you might be experiencing comes from their parents views. You can't change that but you need to get them to respect you as well as you respecting them.
    4- Talk to the homeroom teacher. Find out why they respond well to her/him.
    5- Don't categorize them all as problems. Really look at it carefully and identify who you need to as a problem. Then work with those children while continually rewarding the others.
     
  7. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Aug 23, 2009

    Wow.:wow: First of all, race SHOULDN'T be part of the discussion here at all, nor should it influence attitudes in your school...Teachers need to be able to manage behaviors in order to teach. Period.

    What is needed is some good behavior management strategies, cooperation among the teachers in that whatever happens in a 'special' is shared with the classroom teacher and consequences are assigned and followed through, and support from the administration in terms of setting expectations for behavior, code of conduct and schoolwide consequences. Maybe that means an administrator sitting in on or at least dropping by specials. Maybe that means the classroom teacher maintaining some kind of point system or positive reinforcement system whereby students earn 'rewards' for behaviors. There is a lot of opportunity here for some creative, positive solutions...be part of that solution. Bottom line, the kids need to know you are the BOSS in your room and that you and their classroom teacher are on the 'same page' as far as behaviors and consequences go...There is absolutely NO reason why 2nd graders should be 'stealing' your stickers and 'rewarding' themselves- you need to get control NOW.
     
  8. 1stGr8

    1stGr8 Companion

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    Aug 23, 2009

    I really agree with czacza. I didn't write this explicitly in my above post but race shouldn't be an issue. You mentioned in both this post and the mutiny post that they are African American. I just don't see how this is relevant.
     
  9. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    Aug 23, 2009

    It can be relevant if it is relevant to the students. I have been told several times, "I don't have to listen to you because I'm black." Or even, "My momma said I don't have listen to the stupid white teachers up here." In that case, race was playing a pretty big role in my problems with reaching those students.

    In general, though, I would not mention the race of the students involved. Unfortunately, in some places it is the culture of the school or community that white teachers do not get the same amount of respect as black teachers.
     
  10. ILoveMyCello

    ILoveMyCello Companion

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    Aug 23, 2009

     
  11. WindyCityGal606

    WindyCityGal606 Enthusiast

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    Aug 23, 2009

    Oh...race is more than likely the issue here. I am of mixed heritage, part of that being black, and I was treated like garbage at a predominantly black school by black students and other teachers who all saw me as inferior and weak. The other teachers handled their students with treats, insults, abrasive language, and sometimes, corporal punishment. I, on the other hand, established classroom rules with positive consequences. I did not yell, scream, shove, push, belittle, or abuse my students. They, in return for my kindness, wiped the floor up with me on a daily basis. My room was torn up daily. The kids fought each other in class. they cussed, the broke things, they basically did everything they knew was inappropriate in a classroom. When questioned as to why they misbehaved, I was told by the kids, "We want you to quit because you don't belong here. You act like you're white and white people are dumb." These were 5th graders. Yeah...so race does matter in some schools and wrong as it is, I wasn't going to stick around to "save the world". I stayed for the year and never looked back. I have since worked in my current school and I will NEVER go back to that type of disrespectful environment again. In defense of those children, it was their entire community and the adults in their lives that perpetuated this level of disrespect and mistrust of white people. I live in a major midwestern city and this just happened 4 years ago. It goes on. Self-segregation is alive and well and living in many towns and cities across this country. You don't cross that line unless you have a strong support system in place led by your administration.
     
  12. schoolteacher

    schoolteacher Habitué

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    Aug 24, 2009

    I think you need to take a step back and separate the issues here.

    I would like to respectfully ask was the way you were treated due to race, or was it due to the fact that you did not have classroom control?

    I ask this because I worked at a predominantly black school for over six years. I am white. My students were very respectful to me. I treated them very respectfully, and I was also firm and in charge. I had positive consequences, but I also had negative ones. I backed up my authority with action. Not once was my race mentioned in any way.

    My sister came to teach at the school. She is the same race as I am, but had a very different experience. Her experience was very similar to yours. Her students were out of control. They made derogatory comments about her race. I had just gone out on maternity leave, and was only able to provide her with support over the phone. She lacked skills in classroom control. She quit in the middle of a year. She has since gained these skills over the years, but works in a suburban district now.

    So my question is this: how could two teachers of the same race, working at the same school with the same student population, have two such different experiences? Was it an issue of race, or was it an issue of classroom control?

    I am not negating the assertion that there are race issues in schools, or that you have experienced race issues at your school. But I would like to gently get you to think about how some of your actions or lack thereof may have caused some of the problems in your situation.
     
  13. SpecSub

    SpecSub Comrade

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    Aug 24, 2009

    Special area teachers are certified professionals just like the classroom teachers are. I understand that because you have the kids for less time, consequences are harder to enforce, but you need to do it. The students will never respect you unless they see that you are in control, which will never happen if you have to run to the classroom teachers for discipline. I would also be surprised if you were allowed to refuse a class because the classroom teachers do not have that choice.

    My point is, you are certified teachers. I don't want to sound harsh, but you need to step up to the plate and figure out how to manage the kids. Don't use poverty or race as a barrier - the children may be echoing their parents' racist views, but you need to make it clear that won't be tolerated.
     
  14. ILoveMyCello

    ILoveMyCello Companion

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    Aug 24, 2009

    Thanks for the responses. I am a 2nd year teacher so I am still new. The special area teachers met together and devised a good plan that hopefully will work out!
     
  15. WindyCityGal606

    WindyCityGal606 Enthusiast

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    Aug 25, 2009

    I disagree. It definitely was a matter of race at this school. Classroom management was not the issue. This particular group of kids did not have any respect for white people or mixed race people. They would laugh when they saw images of white people and make fun of the way they looked.
    Like I said before, I was not interested in sticking around another ear to be around that kind of racism. I am of mixed race and I have plenty of experience with people reacting negatively to me being part white. It's not acceptable in many parts of this country. Like it or not, it's the truth. You may just never have heard about it or experienced it, and why would you? It's real.
    Stepping up to the plate to deal with this is not my preference. Someone else can have the job. This is so not an issue of classroom management. I would walk away from any form of racism. I'm not going to be involved in that mess. People who want to live in that ignorant mindset can do so without me.
    The only "action of lack thereof" in my situation is that I don't deal with stupid people and some people do. Yes they were kids but that whole school and community was self-segregated meaning they WANTED to be segregated. You don't walk into that type of environment when you are part black and part white. It's suicide. They thought that was the grossest thing in the world. That's how disgusting they thought white people were. There was no way I was going to try to do a "KUMBA Ya" circle with them. Too scary.
     
  16. heartofateacher

    heartofateacher Companion

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    Aug 27, 2009

    I'm not going to get into a big race discussion because I don't know that I agree that it's race. I am black and work at a predominately black school. There are 4 white teachers (1 teaches K, 1 teaches 5th, 1 teaches PE and the other teaches Music, 1 hispanic (she teaches 1st grade). 3 of them have no problems out of the kids but 2 sometimes do. Our Hispanic teacher is probably one of the best and she's only been teaching 3 years. She has very good control of her class with few problems. Now these same kids are just as rowdy with the black teachers if they are allowed to be. It has nothing to do with race here. It has to do with who lets them get away with the foolishness. I've never heard the other teachers yell at the kids like many of the black teachers do. And yet, they still respect them as they do the black teachers that MAKE them do it. If the teacher is black and she let's them get away with it, they will run over her too.

    One thing that I will note here. Many black parents are stern with their children. So this is what the kids are used to. So suffice it to say, many times the teacher has to be stern as well because this is what they know or they will try to run over you. It may not be the way you want to go about it, but sometimes you have to adjust to the situation. The kids aren't going to change so we have to. JMHO...

    I almost walked out my first year but someone took me under their wing before I did. Now I've been there 6 year. You are only in your 2nd year of teaching and still have quite a bit to learn. Hopefully you will get some support and you can win your kids over.
     
  17. schoolteacher

    schoolteacher Habitué

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    Thanks for your excellent post, heartofateacher. It took me awhile to get good at classroom management. I actually turned in my resignation in the middle of my second year of teaching. My human resources director told me she wanted me to use the school district's resources before I took that step (counselors, mentors, etc.). I'm glad I listened to her, because once I gained the classroom management skills, I found that I loved teaching.
     
  18. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Aug 28, 2009

    You can't demand respect- you have to earn it.

    Chalking this up to the "kids' racism" doesn't earn you any respect in my book. Teachers are the PROFESSIONALS and should take the high road. Find ways to make connections to the kids. Tell them that while they may think that they don't have to listen to you because they are black that you care about them and only want the best for them- and then make them believe what you say. It's so easy to throw up your hands and say the kids and their families are racist, they have no respect for me, I'm leaving this district-it takes a strong person to earn the respect, to make a difference. Do you have what it takes?
     
  19. 1stGr8

    1stGr8 Companion

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    Aug 30, 2009

    I am so glad that other people agree that it's not race. While they may initially judge you based on race you can earn their respect and get better behavior. The things you described as the problem are, in my humble opinion, 100% classroom management. I am white in a non-white school. Sure, some of the kids make comments from time to time, but I earn their respect and it's never a black/white issue.
     
  20. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    I don't think race is the only issue. I don't think it was even one of the main issues. But, it likely is an issue in this case. Since it's an issue that can't be changed, she should not focus on it. She should focus on things she can change: systems in her classroom, her interactions with students, etc.
     
  21. ebrillblaiddes

    ebrillblaiddes Companion

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    If it were a black teacher with problems with white students in an area where (for example) the culture was influenced by the KKK, would we be saying it was her job to "be a professional," "get their respect," "focus on things she can change"? I'm not saying it couldn't happen, but is that really a reasonable thing to expect, especially of an early career teacher? Kids are not blank slates, they come in with a set of values and sometimes those values are actually against the teacher. There seems to be an assumption that the problem is always the white person's fault.

    I had this kind of situation, except it was mostly hispanic kids in a seriously gang-influenced area, at my last full-time position. I tried to set up consequences in-house but the kids just didn't do the consequence either and when I wrote them up nothing happened. The kids could wreck my room and one of the administrators would tell me not to waste a referral on that, so I stopped wasting classroom time on writing them up (right call on my part? I don't know, it felt right at the time to stop hitting my head against that wall though). Another administrator saw what was going on and pretended to work with me on consequences and stuff ("write the referral this way and we won't ignore it" basically, and they still ignored it) so that they could force me out when it didn't work.
     
  22. EMonkey

    EMonkey Connoisseur

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    Sep 19, 2009

    If you are having serious difficulties with the second graders you might stop all lessons and work on having them practice the expectations of how they should be in the class. You might take a look at Tools for Teaching by Fred Jones, Love and Logic (which I haven't read but sounds cool), and Power Teaching. All of them have good ideas of how to help the children in modifying behavior. I also would recommend getting to know the students and really showing that you follow through with your consequences and that you are consistant. I have worked in schools where if a teacher is not consistant the kids will gleefully torment them and it had nothing to do with the race of the teacher. I watched them do it to teachers of all colored skins.

    Race may be brought up as part of the test the kids use to test if you are a worthy person to show respect to but it is like any rude words from young mouths it is an attempt at a power struggle and if you get indignant or miffed you just lost the power struggle. Do not rise to their attempts at button pushing. I was at one point called whore in spanish by a child in my class, the whole class watched how I dealt with it if I had gotten mad I would have been tormented with rude words for the rest of the year. The fact I just looked at the kid and wrote a note to the office and said "go now". I did not have the issue continue. If a child tried to argue with me the easiest answer I came up with is "I do not argue in class, if you wish to discuss this with me you may stay in at recess and I am willing to continue discussing this then". I would then start training them to expect to stay in a minute for ever argumentative word the child said. It did not take long for them to not want to try to argue with me.

    Every time they try and get a rise purposefully unclench your jaw and take a few deep breathes before responding. My favorite thing to do when I get angry is to model the different methods I have been trying to get them to use when they are angry. I model taking deep breathes, counting to ten, and saying nice words to myself.
     
  23. Youngteacher226

    Youngteacher226 Enthusiast

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    Sep 20, 2009

    WOW!!!! I think the moral of the story today folks is: "Classroom Management & Discipline With Dignity",
    my 2 cents.
     
  24. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    I sort of have to agree with this. I have also had the experience of being a minority teacher. I did not enjoy my students telling me that they did not have to respect me so I had to figure out a way to show them that I respected them. One day one of my largest and strongest boys (over 6'...much taller than me) asked if they could arm wrestle during recess. He beat every boy in the class and then I asked if he would like to arm wrestle me. I beat him...and that was the end of the problems with respect. They saw me in a different light and we had a great year. So, sometimes, you just have to think outside the box for classroom management ideas.
     
  25. adria

    adria Comrade

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    Sep 20, 2009

    First thing you must do is implement a classroom behavior management strategy. Don't teach until all the students understand what is expected of them. If this takes two weeks then do so. It's better than two weeks than the rest of the year.
     

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