Students love me...but don't respect me

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by JAM101, Sep 3, 2016.

  1. JAM101

    JAM101 Rookie

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    Sep 3, 2016

    hi everyone, new teacher here. This is my first year teaching and I currently teach all high school levels but my problem is with my freshmen.

    We've been in school for two weeks, they know me pretty well. I've been really nice and approachable. I've also made an effort to get to know them and their interests. So the first couple of weeks I didn't mind spending some class time talking about things not related to school, I wanted them to see that I was interested in them and not just in their test grades.

    This has had two effects. #1, they walk into my class and exclaim how happy they are to see me, how happy they are to be in my class, how much they love my class and love the way I teach, that I'm the only teacher that really pays attention to them and helps them learn material and etc. All of those comments obviously make me feel warm and fuzzy inside. #2. They don't seem to respect me. I think they see me more as a friend than a teacher (I'm 25 btw). One student says "hey girl" whenever she sees me, which I don't mind but I'm guessing my administrators would. Today, students were looking me up on social media before class and looking at my pictures and commenting on them throughout class even though I kept telling them to put their phones away. They are soooo loud, I have to quiet them repeatedly throughout class, there's always side conversations, it takes me at least ten minutes to actually get class started, they always ask questions that don't relate to the content to try and get me off track, I could go on and on. These are sweet kids and I've never been the mean type that can discipline someone but they just don't seem to care if I tell them to be quiet. Any advice?? Particularly from teachers who are also known as the "sweet/nice" ones. I don't have the personality to be strict or mean. I've been considering giving them detentions next week if they don't settle down but id like for there to be a step before that.
     
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  3. phillyteacher

    phillyteacher Comrade

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    Sep 3, 2016

    I have never taught above 7th grade, so take this with that in mind.

    I would have a sincere conversation with them and let them know that you really care about them as their teacher and you want to see them do well. That is not going to happen if things stay as they are because you cannot teach effectively when they are on phones or talking during your class.

    Then I would lay out your expectations super clearly, maybe even in writing on a poster or something. It sounds like you may not have made it clear that you really expect phones to be away and talking to stop when you're speaking. Before you start enforcing those expectation with detentions, you should make sure they are clear by stating them explicitly in advance.

    This way, you can feel better later when you have to issue consequences because you will know that they know what you expect based on this conversation. It isn't being "mean," it's reinforcing what you told them you expect.

    I wanted to add - I think this will help with the respect in the way they speak to you, but if you still get students who are speaking to you too casually, I would just pull them aside in the moment or soon after and let them know that whatever they said (e.g. "hey girl") is not an appropriate way to speak to a teacher and instead they could say "hey ms. jam" or whatever you would like them to substitute. You can say that super nicely, in line with your personality, and still let them know to change it.
     
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  4. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    Sep 3, 2016

    One of my main concerns...why are your personal social media sites so accessible to them?!

    You are acting too friendly and that will not bode well. As the other poster said, you can be open and approachable, but still keep your teacher persona.

    It sounds like your students will be open to the procedures and rules that you will want to implement and it is still early enough in the year to make positive changes. Good luck and have a good year.
     
  5. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Sep 3, 2016

    Lock down all of your social media--your students should not be able to see your pictures.
    Calling you, "hey girl" is not appropriate and you need to let them know that. You are not their peer.
    Let them know that class time is not for chatting; deflect off-topic questions ("We can talk about your opinions of that movie after school for a couple of minutes if you'd like.").
     
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  6. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    Sep 3, 2016

    You're going to have to learn to be strict. You're their teacher, not their friend. I'm pretty sure that your principal won't like it taking "at least ten minutes to actually get class started". The step before detentions? I have no high school experience, but maybe a phone call home? In the future, you need to set the tone from the beginning. Yes, it's good to build relationships and let them know you care about them as people, but you have to do that in tandem with setting up your classroom expectations. They are now under the impression that it's expected for them to talk about things off-topic because you established it as appropriate from day one. Next time, show them right away that off-topic conversations are not appropriate during learning time. Get to know them during passing periods or through learning activities but not instead of learning activities.
     
  7. kaitydid

    kaitydid Rookie

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    Sep 3, 2016

    Make all your social media accounts private or close them all together. My students never had access to my social media accounts without my explicit permission.

    I'm 23 and currently teach grades 6 - 10. I look 16 and even had a parent tell me he thought I was a student when I walked past him, even with me wearing a dress and the students wearing uniforms. I would never, ever allow my students to say "hey, girl" to me. My students are to call me Miss X, and they knew that from Day 1. You need to nip that in the bud now.

    I think it's time to re-establish some procedures and expectations and go over it again with your students. It sounds like you aren't establishing your expectations for their behavior and how you conduct your class. It also sounds like there aren't any consequences for not following those expectations. That doesn't mean you need to start handing out detentions right away, but your students need to know what you expect from them and the procedures for not following those expectations (warning, teacher/student conference, call/email home, detention, etc.). This is something a teacher taught me last year when I was going through my first year of teaching: Your students can't do what they don't know. In other words, make your invisible expectations visible. This goes for middle and high schoolers too! We like to assume they're old enough to know how to do it, but that's not always the case. I had to teach my 7th and 8th graders how to carry a chair because they didn't know how to carry them without banging into each other or running into walls! Tell them what you expect. Show them how to do it. Follow through with your procedures and be consistent. If something's not working, change it and try something else.

    Right now you're acting too much like their friend when you need to be their teacher. You are going to have to learn how to be strict. You can still be sweet, nice, and personable with your students while also establishing that you are the teacher and you are in charge. It can be done. I promise you that you aren't a mean teacher by establishing boundaries and giving them consequences, no matter how much they complain. (They're teenagers. They'll be mad in the moment, but I promise you that they won't hold a grudge forever.) But by toughening up now, you're going to have a much smoother year--and you'll get the respect you deserve.
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2016
  8. vickilyn

    vickilyn Magnifico

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    Sep 3, 2016

    I am going to state the obvious. They may like you, but they like NOT doing school work while the subject is blocking instruction even more. Expect some serious push back when you go from being "hey girl" to Ms SSSSS. As for the social media, I would hope you are too smart and educated to post anything that students can access or find. Apparently you haven't figured out that this is a bell that can't be unrung. You will be highly negligent and reckless to leave your social media accessible to anyone other than your closest friends. Don't like, don't share, don't friend associates or people you truly don't know. If in doubt, Google yourself and see what is out there, because they will. I saw a teacher get fired over some sexually inappropriate comments made on FB, and her only defense was that she didn't know they could access it. The termination may have been more about being stupid, IMO, than the comments. HR had spent hours over the course of 3 days of orientation telling us to lock it down, why, what the outcomes could be, etc. I am guessing that she was on social media and not listening, because she was in my orientation.

    Become the teacher, the adult in the room. Interest is one thing, but putting learning on the back burner as you try to connect is a very bad idea. Expect muttering, gripes, and attitude as you establish yourself as the leader, the alpha. You can be open to stepping out of that role on occasion once firmly established because it will be recognized as out of the norm instead of the norm. Huge difference.

    I like HS, but you are only fooling yourself if you trying to be in their world. Instead, get them into yours. You have the power to do this, but you have, up until now, given all of that power away. Good luck becoming the responsible leader in the room.
     
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  9. Luv2TeachInTX

    Luv2TeachInTX Comrade

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    Sep 3, 2016

    From someone who has always been "sweet/nice" with the people in my life, take it from me, you absolutely cannot take that approach with your students. They will walk all over you. You are not there to be their friend or even to be liked. You are there to teach them first and foremost.

    Am I saying not to build relationships? Absolutely not. Building relationships is very important, but not at the cost of establishing yourself as their teacher. You need to be able and manage your classroom effectively, establish strong routines and procedures, set up expectations and follow through with consequences when those expectations are not met. That cannot be done if students don't respect you and see you as their friend.

    First thing Tuesday, you need to scrap your plans for the day and start over with them. Pull your friends down on the floor and talk to them. Establish your non-negotiables (such as getting phones out during instruction, calling you Ms. So and So, etc.). Tell the students your expectations and have a plan in place if they don't follow those expectations. For example, the first step could be a verbal reminder/warning.

    You can say, "please remember that we do not use phones during class. Put it away, or the consequence is XYZ. Then, issue a consequence such as a call home or lunch detention if they do it again. Once your rules and expectations are firmly established, you should not need the warning.

    Create the rest of the rules together and put them on an anchor chart. Have them sign it. Hang it up somewhere as a visual reminder and refer to it as needed.

    Please don't get caught up with being nice with your students. That comes later. After you've established yourself as the adult in the room and have your routines and procedures in place. Remember it's never too late to start over. Will they grumble and complain? Yes. But will your class end up running much more smoothly and will you be able to build even better relationships with your students? Yes and yes.

    Good luck to you. :)
     
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  10. socalenglish

    socalenglish Rookie

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    Sep 3, 2016

    Totally agree with previous posts. You have a long weekend to prepare for Tuesday. I learned during my first year of teaching -- a long time ago-- that if you do not instill respect and establish classroom expectations, you will not be an effective teacher. And if you are not an effective teacher, you won't be happy and neither will your school's administrators. Shut down social media right away.
    Best of luck!
     
  11. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    My biggest suggestion as a good middle ground (they CAN still love you and know you love them back) is to read Teaching with Love & Logic. It sounds like it would absolutely work for you as a classroom management system. Now that I'm back in a semi-traditional setting, I'm reviewing it myself.
     
  12. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    two weeks of 'getting to know them' is TOO long... you are not their friend, you are not their 'girl'. You are young and that only makes it all the more important for you to set the tone from day one....Since you didn't do that, you MUSt do it on Tuesday. Have a class code of conduct, expectations, grading policy and syllabus ready to go when they walk in the door on Tuesday....go over it and then get into content. Heavy into content....Like assigning homework on Tuesday due on Wednesday homework. Fun and games are over...you should have done this on day one...but it's not too late.
     
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  13. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    Sep 4, 2016

    What you are going through is what lots (if not most) new teachers go through. You start off really nice and then realize that you have to become more strict. As others have said, you must do this or you will find it is going to get a lot worse for you. What to do?

    First, realize it isn't your age or personality. It is how you are dealing with their behavior that is interrupting your teaching and their right to learn. I would suggest doing the following come Tuesday morning.

    1. Let them know that the classroom must be a place where students can learn and no one can interrupt that. In order to have this take place you will have the following rules:
    1. Students must raise their hand to speak to you in your class.
    2. When working in class they will need to have all voices off while working independently and use quiet "2 feet" voices in working with partners or groups. (2 feet voices are voices that can only be heard when you are within 2 feet from them.)
    3. No cell phones are allowed to be out during class.

    These by themselves mean almost nothing. They won't expect you to apply any consequences. That is why you must make clear consequences of what you will do if they choose to break the above rules.
    Some possibilities:

    1. If they do this they will lose some lunch recess, sit alone at lunch, or some other consequence. The consequence needs to be something you can live with and they dislike. It shouldn't be overly harsh. If you don't have any consequences besides reminders, than in many of your students minds you don't have any rules. It will be a very long year.

    2. This will require much practice. Start with a fun activity that they need to work together and see which group can do it the longest without talking loudly. Make it age appropriate with the content you teach. High school freshman enjoy contests.

    3. Find out from other teachers how they handle cell phones in your school. I would suggest a cell phone basket. Remind them to have cell phones put away or they can leave them in the basket--their choice. If they keep them and they choose to use them during class, they will need to put them in the basket. They may then get the cell phone at the end of class. Let them know that you will not be looking at their cell phone that you have better things to do than that. Only do this if you have a safe place to lock up the cell phones in your room. Especially at the high school level, I would never touch a student's cell phone. This is only a suggestion and there are many other ways to handle cell phones. Make it as simple as possible.

    Most new teachers have a tough time giving out consequences. One thing that helps is to make sure you have consequences that you feel you can live with and are not overly harsh. Giving out a dozen reminders will wear you out and will only work only on your best students. The others will ignore them. Consequences and rules are necessary for you to have a good year. Good luck to you!
     
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  14. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Agree with all the above. "Hey girl" is not ok, and must be corrected every time. Your social media should be pretty invisible to strangers, maybe a profile picture is ok on Facebook (I know sometimes you can't make it private), but that's it. Change it today.
     
  15. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Yeah. You're making a very very common mistake for first year teachers. I made the same mistakes, and I'm assuming a lot of other teachers here made the same mistake when they first started teaching.

    Something is going to click for you eventually in your teaching career when you realize that getting them to like you is not the same as getting them to learn and be prepared for their future. Your job as their teacher is not to be their friend but to be their mentor. If you don't respect someone there is NO way that you would ever regard that person as your mentor. It may take a while for this to click. Right now, you have that feeling that something is wrong and you need to turn something around, but you're probably still afraid that the kids won't like you anymore. Eventually it will become crystal clear to you and you will take every step necessary to turn this ship around even if it means that they will no longer like you.

    That said if it has clicked and you're ready to turn things around, philly's suggestion is a good one. You can take it slow at first by holding an honest conversation with the students about how your role as a teacher is to guide them through learning and to protect everyone's right to learn by ensuring that all students are following the classroom expectations. You can honestly tell them that you've failed in this role so far, but you're going to turn it around and ensure that everyone is able to learn productively in your classroom. You may even warn them that many of them will not like these changes, and may become upset with you, but you've made a commitment to teach, and despite how they feel about you, you still care about them enough to hold them accountable to the rules.

    Here are some good articles to read:
    http://www.smartclassroommanagement.com/2011/01/22/losing-control-of-your-classroom/

    Also beware of coming on too strong:
    http://www.smartclassroommanagement...strong-will-force-a-mutiny-in-your-classroom/

    I honestly would recommend reading that entire website. The most important thing is that after you tell them your boundaries and rules, you need to follow through and actually hold them accountable, meaning you WILL have to give them consequences, and they may resent you for a while. But swallow it and move on. You live and learn. It will be rough going for a while but it may get better later in the year (maybe months later, you may become their most hated teacher for a while because of your inconsistency, but there's nothing to be done about it since it's your first year and it takes these experiences to learn how to teach).

    Believe me that when you get to the point in your career when you're confident that you have created a classroom environment where learning is happening every day and students feel safe in your classroom and productive, when a student tells you how much they enjoy your class and like you as a teacher despite the fact that you've held them accountable to high behavioral and academic standards, you will realize that the compliments you are receiving now are so very hollow and only being said to manipulate you. You will truly feel warm and fuzzy inside from the authenticity of a compliment given once you know that you've done your job as teacher and helped students reach their potential.
     
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2016
  16. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Sep 5, 2016

    Peregrin5 has probably grown more as a teacher than ANYONE I've seen in recent memory. His advice is golden.
     
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  17. onetwothreeteach

    onetwothreeteach Rookie

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    JAM101. I am in your exact predicament and it really can be frustrating. I do not know how many times I have to lay my expectations out their for my students before they being to understand. Each and everyday I am beginning to feel undefeated and that I am a "failure" at this job.

    I am sorry to hear that you are experiencing the same, but it is nice to know I am not alone.
     
  18. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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    ,
     
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  19. Puppet Debris

    Puppet Debris Rookie

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    Nov 5, 2016

    I think the first step is for you to feel like you deserve respect. Do you teach in the US? Where? Do you believe the United States of America has the right to force students to take the subject you are teaching. Maybe some of your students have been torn away from family farms, forced to live in the city or even go to a nearby town where social geniuses rule and grow stronger with their constant talking. Maybe they are working hard on the farm just to survive and the education is a drag on their ability to survive. Maybe they have no idea why they are in "prison" and now have to study something never needed on the farm. You must figure out why you have the right to force a student to learn.

    Once you believe that you rule and today's education is the only route to happiness, well I think you can at least make them think you know more about life than they do and get their respect.

    I personally never figured this out for myself. Personally I have tried to stay with subjects that students want to learn.
     
  20. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    Nov 5, 2016

    ?
     
  21. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Umm, this is kinda weird.

    1. The didn't give us the impression that he/she is not in the US.
    2. Education is not the only route to happiness, and I say that as an educator. Students will definitely not believe that lol
    3. Staying with subjects students want to learn is not always an option, and you will never find a a subject every single subject wants to learn.

    The problem here is what most of us did in our first years - trying to ensure that students like us because if they do, we'll have less problems in the classroom.
    This is obviously not true in that sense.

    The most important things for an educator are (especially if new, or at a new school) is to establish fair and consistent rules and follow through with everything, consistently. This will provide a safe and comfortable leaning environment (students will know what is expected of them, praise and negative consequences will be predictable) and because of this students will respect you, and a lot will like you. Respect is more important. You will get to know each other as time goes by and they will like you.
    But if your classroom does not have structure, a good vibe, and the obvious fact that you are the leader, students will not respect you and most will not like you (no one likes a place / person where there is constant criticism, negativity, loud voices, chaos, and no structure.)
     
  22. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Nov 6, 2016

    You do know that homeschooling exists right?

    Anyway the government mandate of mandatory schooling for every student is in the interest of the state and for individuals. Mandatory schooling provides students with social and economic mobility so that they can choose to leave the farm if they wish. If they don't, they can of course stay. And technically, schooling is really only mandatory up until 8th grade. Yes, legally, they're supposed to go to 12th grade, but dropping out in high school is an option that some students do take. Because it's only required until 8th grade it really only affects the employability of minors, and forced child labor is illegal and immoral anyway.

    Their viability is often not affected as programs provide food and support to families in deep poverty who need financial support in rearing their children while at the same time giving them an education.

    Requiring citizens of the US to maintain a basic education is beneficial in producing citizens that have greater ability to make decisions especially as voters and decision makers of the policies and representatives within our government, and in the long run it provides them with the benefit of being more knowledgeable and making decisions that affect them personally.

    I understand where you are coming from though. One of my students is leaving school to work and live on a farm rearing horses. He just got paperwork through to drop out of HS at grade 10, and do this.

    Personally, I believe this will greatly hinder any future pathways he might be interested in later in his life, but I also know that not everyone can go to college or even graduate high school. Though multitudes of studies show that the earning potential of people who graduate both HS and college earn millions more in their life in the long run on average. (though things might have changed since those studies) One thing I am glad to be seeing especially where I am are increases in career and technical programs (welding, agriculture, shop classes) that give students certifications for skilled-manual labor positions right after high school. Students who struggle with highly intellectual academics often succeed in these programs (and they're often extremely fun! I wish these programs were around when I was a kid.).

    This is also not really pertinent to the OPs post, so you might want to consider creating a different thread to discuss this, though I think it's a very interesting topic to discuss.
     
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2016

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