Ready to throw in the towel...

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by SomeCallMeTeach, Sep 21, 2007.

  1. SomeCallMeTeach

    SomeCallMeTeach New Member

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    Sep 21, 2007

    **a little long...
    I'm almost to the point that I want to give up. My entire class is one big problem. I have 3 or 4 students who are ALWAYS on their best behavior and consistently do their work. I have no complaints there! However, the rest of my class is a disaster waiting to happen. From the very beginning, I had the classroom procedures, rules and consequences in place. We practiced, practiced, and practiced some more; and we continue to review them daily. I am very consistent with the routine and carrying out rules and procedures. Many of my students, though, refuse to do their work and hardly ever do anything at all. We finished a unit in Reading last week, so we reviewed and tested this week. As the students were doing the unit test today, I could see that many of them were just filling in bubbles for the first thing that came to mind, "Oh, I think I'll pick B on this one." It's making me crazy. A few of the students are extremely lazy and it rubs off on my better students. I have tried giving 0s for missing assignments, notes home, calls to parents, meetings with parents, meetings with the principal, trying to discuss it with the student individually to find ways we can work together so they can get the best out of their education. I have tried consequences that go along with special classes and free time, I've praised the good students, have given incentive cards. They just don't care. Parent-teacher conferences were last week and I had 8 parents show up (out of 26). Out of the 8 parents, only one of those was a parent I actually had to discuss any real issues with. Some of them don't care either.
    Along with the academic issues goes the arguing and fighting that is constantly going on, as well as stealing and defacing school property. I'm just not sure what to do any more. I'm running out of strategies.
    How do I reach students who don't want to be there? What can I do to put out some of these fires before they get started? The principal said that 3 of my students should be in alternative school because of their behavior, but that's the same thing he said last year. Nothing will be done to deal with it. Things just don't seem to be getting better and I'm beginning to dislike my job.
    I'm sure I'll be criticized for a lack of discipline or something that someone will find wrong, but I would really appreciate any advice that might make this situation a little better.
     
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  3. lnewbigging

    lnewbigging Companion

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    Sep 21, 2007

    I am sorry that you are having such a tough time, I can't give much advice, cause it seems like you are doing everything right, but I just wanted to let you know that even though it is hard, and you are at your wits end, we are here for you. :hugs:
     
  4. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    Sep 22, 2007

    Like the OP, I can't give you much advice. Everytime I would come with something, you mentioned in your post somewhere else. It sounds like this is just a rough bunch to work with. It's hard when the parents aren't onboard. We had a similar situation last year with a child that should have been in alternative school. They knew this in kinder, but couldn't really do anything. Thankfully, in May, with 3 weeks left in the school year, they were able to get her in. Of course, that didn't help the teacher or the other class during the year, but this year, the 3rd grade teachers don't have to worry about it. Just know that if you have to vent, there's always somebody here to "listen". There will be some great advice coming though, I'm sure!
     
  5. Proud2BATeacher

    Proud2BATeacher Phenom

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    Sep 22, 2007

    Have you thought about asking an adminstrator to come sit in your class and give suggestions about behavior management or ask them if you can have a teacher come in to observe your class while you are teaching. They might see something that you are missing.
     
  6. SomeCallMeTeach

    SomeCallMeTeach New Member

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    Sep 22, 2007

    2 other 5th grade teachers have sat in my room as well as the principal. He has talked to my class on a couple of different occasions and still has nothing to offer to help me. "Just continue what you're doing and hopefully they'll step in and follow" is about as much as I can get from anybody. I teach in a low income school and many of the parents give very little or no support at all. Many kids don't live with their parents and if they do, they rarely see them because of work and such.
    I hate waking up in the morning because I have to deal with this all day. I don't enjoy teaching anymore.
     
  7. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    Sep 22, 2007

    Try changing up how they give you the information.

    Have them cut and paste the answers. It's lower elementary style but it might jar them into thinking if they have to do more than bubble in.

    What about Jeopardy to see if collectively the class gets it. Then you might even make a worksheet that looks like Jeopardy, have them fill it in like "Who/What is________" and assign fake points to them and give them an option of doing 4 out of 5 in a category.

    Think of some creative ways to jar them out of complacency. Get their attention.
     
  8. SomeCallMeTeach

    SomeCallMeTeach New Member

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    Sep 22, 2007

    I do use many creative activities. The bubble test was a test we had to give through our Reading First program. We do hands-on, whole group, small group, individual, partner work, tic tac math, work and run...all kinds of stuff. It's not like they're sitting at their desk all day looking at a piece of paper. Even when we're doing some of those type activities, they're just not interested. I understand where you're coming from. Those are things I'm already doing though. Thanks everyone for your suggestions and support.
     
  9. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    Last year we had a group that wasn't easily motivated. In fact it was pretty darn hard. Unfortunately it stayed that way all year long. So I can't offer much help. We figured out what they liked but we couldn't do those TWO activities all the time. It's like we are having to do a puppet dance. Incidentally behavior management for this group was equally tough. Hopefully someone can give you some good tips to try. :) If nothing else, you know you aren't alone. :hugs:
     
  10. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    Have you tried sitting them down and saying that if their behavior continues then you will have to take the fun activities away from them and just do boring book work lessons? I'm sure that you are being consistant, and that is definitely important when dealing with a class like this. This might be a class that anything you do doesn't work on them. The only advice I can give on that is just to stick it out for the rest of the year, see it as making your a stronger,better teacher, and pray that next years group is better. Have you started counting down the days to Thanksgiving break? I did that my first year. Had a bad group(and it was my first year). I sat there and would count down the days to the next holiday, Thanksgiving, then Christmas, x days until MLK, x days until Spring Break, x days until Easter break....this actually helped the year a little better.
     
  11. marc92647

    marc92647 Rookie

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    Have you tried offering some kind of afterschool program to students in your class? If you teach some kind of after school enrichment activity I find that at frist only the well behaved and motivated students show up, but that after a while when the other students here about what you are doing and how much fun it is, some of the behaviour problem students will start to come. Those students who stay after or come in early are rarely the ones who continue to be behaviour problems.
     
  12. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    I just don't see what student (good behavior/bad behavior) would want to come in early or stay after unless they absolutely had to. I know that when I was a student I only wanted to be in school for as long as I HAD to be so I came right before the bell rang and left as soon as the last class was over. I was a well behaved, straight A student.
     
  13. marc92647

    marc92647 Rookie

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    Sep 22, 2007

    who would want to come in?

    Wow, have you tried it? This year I have about 15 out of 30 students who stay after school, and its only the 5th week. It starts out slow, but like I said when students start getting wind of some of the things you can do more start showing up. Like I said I dont really have any behaviour problems with kids that do stay after. Students coming in early is more challenging due to the fact that they ride the bus. However I open my doors 30 minutes before school starts(Im there already) and I have about 9 students that come in on a regular basis. I hope to have more by the end of the year. Some times I just put on a movie for them to watch... no work.

    I think you would be surprised and pleased with the results if you tried it.
    Good Luck
     
  14. Here2Learn

    Here2Learn Companion

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    Sep 23, 2007

    what grade are you teaching?
     
  15. SomeCallMeTeach

    SomeCallMeTeach New Member

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    Sep 23, 2007

    i have 27 fifth graders.
     
  16. MissFroggy

    MissFroggy Aficionado

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    I taught 4th grade in a school like yours and had similar circumstances. I feel for you! It was the hardest period of my life, and I almost quit teaching for good. We worked constantly on just one writing piece a month, because it was required that they were on display in the hallway each month from the principal. I was lucky to get 2/3 of my class to finish. I think we mostly ended up working on the writing piece, the required reading and math. We got very little other things accomplished, because they were so rowdy, we couldn't really do much else.

    There were a couple of things I did that they liked:

    Extra PE or recess when work was finished.. and this could not be a long term thing (even waiting until Friday) but had to be that day.

    Sometimes a "reward" was going out to the playground (which was a big concrete slab) and writing the x tables out, then having some art time with the sidewalk chalk. We did that a few times.

    I ordered pizza for lunch and had some kids join me as a special occasion about once a month. Anyone who had a 4 on their essay would join me. While I don't really believe food is a good reward (I don't use it at all in my current school- and actually don't use any rewards) it really worked with the kids I taught in the Bronx. Many were hungry and had very little food at home.

    People will probably criticize me, but in the end, I actually would walk around with mini-pretzels or fish crackers and pass them out to the kids who were working. Everyone wanted the food, and they would get to work. It sounds HORRIBLE, I know, but that was one of the only things that actually worked with the kids. And they would still be up every 10 minutes and beginning to have a fist fight, or start yelling across the room. But it kept about 2/3 of the class working.

    You probably wouldn't want to do the food thing.. or maybe aren't allowed, but in any case it worked. The year before I came, teachers constantly passed out candy, and the principal banned that (which is actually good.) Of course, the problem was the kids were conditioned to only work when given candy or something.

    I was given the bottom class (even though they say they don't track kids) and they really were the worst in the grade. Sometimes, drastic times call for drastic measures.
     
  17. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    littleschool, it does sound horrible in most situations but if kids are hungry and are facing unsafe conditions in general, they aren't going to be that tuned into school. So it isn't horrible, it's just sad (for them).
     
  18. mstnteacherlady

    mstnteacherlady Cohort

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    somecallmeteach, your class sounds very similar to mine. I have 26 students in a Title I school. Many of my students are as uninterested as they come, but there are still a few who are there and are ready to learn. I've tried to do the fun activities and find what I call "crazy" ways to get them interested, but I think we'll have to stick to book work for now. I cannot do the fun activities with them because there are always a couple of students are do not want to do the activity and begin causing problems in the room. Once that small group starts something, it creeps into the rest of the class and, before long, I have an arguing match going on right in the middle of a lesson. I have what our principal calls the bad behavior group this year. When they separated the kids into classes, they had to split so many kids up that the other two teachers ended up with the good half of the split. I don't really have any advice for you, as I am in the same boat, but I just wanted to encourage you to keep working hard. Try not to let the kids take the joy out of teaching! Make sure you always do something for yourself during the day. Take a break when they're in their special classes (I think you said you have those, not sure) and get yourself a soda and a snack or something. Do something that YOU love to do. :) Good luck and have a great week!
     
  19. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    littleschool, I don't think that is horrible at all. What may not be "acceptable" at one school, may be braced in another. I have known several teachers that have used skittles, m&ms, crackers as a reward for working hard.
     
  20. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    Hahah..you said it a lot more gracefully. Put that way, it doesn't sound horrible in any situation. LMBO. Many people use small food rewards. I do it very very occasionally. Funny how the change in words brings a different perspective. :cool:
     
  21. Ms.Jasztal

    Ms.Jasztal Maven

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    I've realized every year I have had the really receptive students as well as those who couldn't care less- despite my efforts in making PowerPoint Jeopardy, walk-on board game... etc. Eventually, though, all have come to appreciate my instruction- and sometimes it takes until April-May.
     
  22. janlee

    janlee Devotee

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    Sep 23, 2007

    If some of your students should be in alternative programs why don't they have IEP's? Have the school psychologist sit in your class for at least 2 hours. Have her write what she sees and let her show it to you. Then if it says what you see and feel in the room get it to the administration as well as a copy to your union rep. OR... take 2 or 3 mental health days. Let a substitute come. I am sure the sub will let it be known that your class is one that needs to be evaluated because of who is in it. Or better yet, I hope your principal would have to sub because they can't get anyone to come in.
     

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