please help... classroom management

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by Purplegoby, Sep 8, 2012.

  1. Purplegoby

    Purplegoby Rookie

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    Sep 8, 2012

    Hello, I am new to this forum and This is my first year as a teacher. I am working at a charter school and teaching 8th grade science, 10 grade chemistry and 11th grade science. I am a soft teacher, I have no voice projection.

    The 10 and 11th graders are wonderful. I having trouble with the management of my 8th grade class. This is the first week of school and I've only seen this class twice. The class has 34 students and we are in a very tight small class room. I cannot move in between the rolls nor can I arrange the room in any other way, there is no room.

    I don't think the students are rude, they don't say mean things nor do they swear, they ignore me. They talk all hour and If I try to speak they'll talk louder. I have a para pro in the room with me and they also, do not listen to her. I've spoken to another teacher who told me to use incentives. I brought jolly ranchers as an incentive for a trivial game. some students were interested, but most students did not.

    I did a seating chart and it was an awful experience. The students were all over the place and still not sitting in their assign seats. They don't have Id's I can't learn any names. I'm just really stressed out. I can't teach anything if this class remains this way. Please give me some advice on what I can do. :confused:
     
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  3. Ms.SLS

    Ms.SLS Cohort

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    Sep 8, 2012

    Do you have a consequence system in place? If not, create one ASAP. Have you set clear expectations for student behavior? If not, do that first thing Monday morning.

    Incentives are great, but there also need to be consequences for kids who ignore the boundaries.

    For example, in my classroom, I give students a 5 count to wrap up their conversations and get ready to listen to me. If they are still talking when I get to 1, they get a check mark by their name and have to stay after class. If they get a second check mark, they owe me more time. If they get a third check mark, they owe me detention.
     
  4. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Sep 8, 2012

    Yes, you need a consequence system.
    1. find out what you can do, and what would be important to them? Detention? phone call home?
    2. find out how much you want to put up with: 2 warnings? 3? You have a lot of students, so even just 2 warnings means there will be 34 x 2= 68 disruptions before anything may happen.
    But, I think 2 or 3 warnings at the most is ok, this way the student has been properly warned, had the chance to correct his behavior and chose not to. He can't even argue that 'I wasn't even talking this time, it was so and so next to me', because he already misbehaved once or twice anyways.
    3. get a system that will allow you to keep track of misbehavior and address them timely and consistently. a seating chart works great - you're going to have to find a way to have the students sit in a certain place, because you do need to learn their names and you need to be able to track problems.
    4. be consistent, and enforce the rules. Follow through with consequences. Things might become worse for a while (few days, a week?), but then it should improve greatly.

    5. another thought: you can have individual consequences, but also group consequences. When it feels like the whole class or most of them are against you, it's easier to punish them together.
    One group consequence may be to stay after class. You can't always do this, because they'll be late for their next class. but if this class is right before lunch, or the last class of the day, keeping them for 5-10 minutes is great. I've done this and worked great! I had one class that was the first class of the day. I made arrangements with the teacher who had them right before lunch. I'd go to that class and stay with them for 5-10 minutes. It was awesome! They hated it because they had to sit silently (if they spoke, I restarted the time), and eventually they got a lot better. I don't like the fact that the few innocent ones will be treated unfairly, but you do what you gotta do. (as long as you don't do it too often). After awhile you will be able to tell the few good ones apart, and it's great if you exclude them from the group punishment. I got pretty good at this, and can always tell who were the good ones, and always exclude them. They really like it, because I'm fair.

    Incentives are great, first of all you don't only want to punish, and a lot of kids will respond better to incentives. But you need consequences, too, so if you have both, you can have a really good system.

    it's good that you don't have disrespect or rudeness, in my opinion that's a whole other issue. Talking, ignoring the teacher and small issues can be easier fixed, than when they have an attitude.
     
  5. treefrogs

    treefrogs Rookie

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    Sep 9, 2012

    I really found the book Teaching Outside the Box helpful with management. I rolled my eyes when I first read it in college, but now with a few years in I was nodding in agreement while rereading it.

    Here's a neat blog post by the author about classroom management. http://www.louannejohnson.com/blog.htm?post=776747
     
  6. Purplegoby

    Purplegoby Rookie

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    Sep 9, 2012

    Thank you so much for your advice. I just feel like locking myself in the bathroom and crying my eyes out after this class. I have tried to go over the rules and expectations packet with the students (both days), but I have no luck. I had the students take home the packet and it is to be returned with their signature and their parents signature. There is a due date written on the packet. I have rules posted in the room, but I only have five rules.

    Do I need to make a giant poster that says things like, "Stay in your assigned seat at all times." "raise your hand to speak" "do not stand on chairs" "Do not touch anyone" "Do not leave the room without permission" "Do not swear" etc.

    Do I need to make a poster with the consequences?
     
  7. treefrogs

    treefrogs Rookie

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    Sep 9, 2012

    I would recommend practicing routines with students, and posting reminders. I'm not a management guru, but I do feel good about routines. I create PowerPoints about my classroom routines and model them for the class. Then as a class we practice them. I've even done a checklist for a movie day, with permission from the VP. When the class accomplished the routine I would put a check-mark. I would make it almost into a game, challenging them to complete certain transitions in a set time. When they filled up the sheet we watched a movie related to the unit and I brought in popcorn (relatively cheap.) I used this my first year, and I may bring it back because it worked really well with a few more resistant classes.
     
  8. McParadigm

    McParadigm Companion

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    Sep 10, 2012

    I second this. The more you develop and enforce a process for every event, the better off you'll be. You might have to do a sort of "restart" on the year, changing the physical environment some Friday afternoon and investing two days in really teaching and rehearsing the new procedures. Once you've had a few days of talk-time go by, anything less is going to be a fight and an incomplete success.

    You can focus on non-behavioral routines when you do this, as well. If students perceive it as "oh, soft teacher is gonna try and toughen up," they'll test you. If you present it as a total rebirth and incorporate some student ownership opportunities, they'll eat it right up.
     
  9. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Sep 10, 2012

    Stop with the incentives immediately. Never give food to 8th graders unless they have been exceptionally awesome. They'll see you as unfair for not always giving it to them.

    Being a quiet teacher is not a weakness. In some cases, it's a strength.

    Next time you see them, stand there quietly while they are doing whatever it is they are doing (by the way ignoring you is a sign of EXTREME disrespect and MUST stop). Write down names.

    Some may quiet down at this point. Keep their name written down. Then find the first student's name on your clipboard, find their parents' phone number, and call them right there in front of the class. Make sure the students' can hear you calling the parent. Tell the parent only what the students' behavior is. (i.e. not sitting in their seat, talking over the teacher, not being prepared to learn), and ask them to ensure that their student is ready to learn by tomorrow.

    Most will get the hint by this point, and quiet down. If students are still not sitting down and prepared for instruction, call up one of their parents, and ask the parent if they would like to talk to the student. Show them the list, and inform them that this is the list of people whose parents you will be calling today.

    Go over your expectations again. They should be something along the lines of "Showing respect to the teacher by being prepared to learn, and waiting their turn to speak by raising their hands to be called on." Go through your rules. You should have all rules and expectations done before the beginning of the year.

    Inform them of your consequence system. Inform them that you will be following it strictly, and if you see a student out of their seat or talking while you are talking, you will follow through with it.

    Do this in a quiet and calm voice. If someone begins talking, just wait. If it continues, write down their name. It is extremely scary to them when a teacher just stares at them and asks them to do something quietly. If you are not loud, anybody talking up will be noticed immediately, and all you have to do is look at them.

    You need to be strong with 8th graders, and they really need to see who is in charge. I would also recommend coming to an agreement with your principal. Ask if you can have students escorted to the principal if necessary.

    Be fair, and be consistent. If you give one student a consequence for something, and a student you like does it, give them a consequence as well. You probably don't need to follow this exactly, but the main point is to show them who is in charge, and that you are not afraid of enforcing rules, and that every rule has a consequence.
     
  10. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Sep 10, 2012

    Yes to both. A poster for the rules and a poster for the consequences. If they break a rule, quietly point to the poster, and maybe point to the consequence poster.
     
  11. Purplegoby

    Purplegoby Rookie

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    Sep 12, 2012

    I am doing exactly as you wrote Peregrin5... for the past two days it has worked. I have spend over an hour everday after school calling parents, to tell them their child was disruptive in class and that I privately spoke to their child and that they improved after the talk. The parents seem to really love the negative and positive news, so do the kids. :rolleyes:

    THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!
     
  12. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Sep 13, 2012

    Your welcome! I glad it worked. Now it's just up to you to follow through with it and stay consistent with your consequences.

    Also the best behavior management is simply classroom procedures. Have procedures for everything, write them out, and practice them (both by yourself and with your kids).

    I would read "The First Days of School" by Harry Wong. Try to find the section about procedures. He has a list of everything to make procedures for there.

    Create posters so kids know what the procedures are and post them around your room, then teach and practice them.

    They will only respect you if you stay consistent. Don't be too strict all the time, or else, they will turn off, and not listen to anything you say. Let them know that you care about their learning and them as students. Be fair. Only apply consequences to the individuals who require it. Be consistent. Even if you like a kid, you have to give him the same consequences for the same actions that another kid who is always breaking the rule gets.

    Good luck, and READ THAT BOOK. It's the Bible for most teachers.
     
  13. Furthuron

    Furthuron Companion

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    Sep 17, 2012

    I'd also strongly recommend Fred Jones' Positive Classroom Management (I think that's what it's called). It saved my life and made my job SO much easier! :)
     
  14. luv2teachmath

    luv2teachmath Rookie

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    Sep 26, 2012

    Hello there,
    I am having similar issues with my 9th grade remedial math class. Peregrin, I want to implement your system, but I'm a little confused. Do you call parents right there in class, or do you talk to the student privately after class or both? I thought you called in class, but then Purplegobly said she called after class, that's why I'm confused.

    Please help! I haven't been able to get any sleep because of my classroom management woes!!

    Thanks!
    S
     
  15. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Sep 26, 2012

    Before you implement that plan, it would probably be a good idea to start your own thread and provide the specifics of what's going on in your classroom first, and get ideas from all of the members here.

    I had a good idea of how to deal with Purple's situation because I've been in a similar situation but sometimes there are little things that would make this an inappropriate solution. I am a new teacher as well and am probably not the best person to ask for advice about classroom management yet.

    But to clarify, I asked her to start off by coming off strong by calling the parents of one or two students in class first, and then use that as a segue, once they all realize that you mean business, into informing students that you will be calling the list of parents AFTER school, and definitely follow up on it.

    But I definitely recommend providing more detail about your situation and getting ideas from everyone before you start calling parents. You may like their ideas better, or they might appeal more to your teaching style.
     
  16. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Sep 26, 2012

    I just bought this book, and am going to read it when it gets here! =]
     

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