Teachers who have difficult classes

Discussion in 'General Education' started by mkate, May 26, 2011.

  1. mkate

    mkate Comrade

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    May 26, 2011

    I've had the opportunity to work with three different classes this year, and two of the three have had a highly disproportionate share of students with major behavioural issues and other challenges for their grade level (only two classes per grade, and the students are distributed alphabetically, so it's pretty random.) I guess this just happens sometimes, and in the Infant cycle, the teacher loops with the group for three years (in this case, that means 3, 4, and 5 years old.)

    Anyway, being in their classrooms, I see how hard the teachers work, and how absolutely exhausting and draining it is to be dealing with it all day. (The third group is a good one-- normal kids, with normal behaviour issues, but nothing like the multiple problems in the other two.) Well, these two teachers don't complain a lot, but when they do talk about some of the challenges they are facing, they don't get a whole lot of support, and behind the scenes there seems to be an attitude of, "Yes, it's a bad class, but the teacher(s) are at fault, too-- if it were my class, I would handle it much better."

    While I agree that a teacher can do a lot to set the tone for a group, and that different management styles and techniques can have different effects, from what I've seen, I frankly don't think that any of these other teachers would have gotten drastically different results. So I'm left a bit disconcerted, wondering if this is common-- that not only does it sometimes happen that one teacher ends up with all/most of the "problems", but that if it does happen to you, you can probably expect little in the way of sympathy and a lot in the way of blame. Again, I'm sure that there are cases where a teacher's management style really does have a negative influence, but is this the general assumption?
     
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  3. crunchytxmama

    crunchytxmama Companion

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    May 26, 2011

    I have a difficult class. I was hired knowing I would have this difficult group. Our school has one class per grade, so their previous teachers are very understanding and sympathetic. I am actually looping with the same group next year, and the kinder teacher told me should would have quit if she'd had to teach them again. I really don't think they are that bad. I think they have matured a lot this year, and I am looking forward to next year!
     
  4. amakaye

    amakaye Enthusiast

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    May 26, 2011

    Our small school only has one class per grade. Every so often, you get a class that just has a lot of different needs. My class this year just seems to be that group--a lot of different issues (many that we don't often face at our small parochial school) including health, academic, emotional, and behavioral ones. They are just concentrated in this class. I have more kids on medication for ADHD than the rest of our k-8 school does! They are not 'bad kid' or a 'bad class,' just one with a LOT of challenges. It has been an exhausting year, and I appreciated being able to get a sympathetic ear from last year's teacher. While I am looking forward to next year's group (a very small one, quiet one! ;)), I will miss these kids. They have made a ton of progress this year.
     
  5. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Aficionado

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    May 26, 2011

    I have had a very challenging year. Everyone on my staff has been very supportive, but it is draining. Everyone has an opinion on how things should be handled, but unless you are in my room everyday, I don't always appreciate the feedback. Mangaing my class is a science - some of these kids have specific formulas that need to be followed in order to get compliance. I feel like they have made incredible progress this year. In general, they are a really neat class, but you have to learn to understand the dynamics. I am looking forward to a new grade and a new class next year!
     
  6. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    May 26, 2011

    I think you're probably only getting a snapshot.

    Each year is a different matter than the one before. This year I've absolutely coasted-- not a single detention all year long. So I'm guessing karma will throw some reall challenges my way next year.

    But if the same teachers continually end up with the "challenging classes" year after year, maybe it's not the kids. Maybe those exasperated teachers have seen those teachers year after year, with classes that are hard to handle, and there's something to what they say.
     
  7. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Maven

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    May 26, 2011

    This happens in my school frequently. The kids with the most behavior problems are not dispersed evenly and most of them end up all together in the same class. This is frustrating because it is hard to give attention to the other students who don't have the same problems. Anyway, we get many people coming in to give "advice". Well, I don't see how they can tell us what to do when they only spend about 5 minutes in the classroom then run out. I have learned you can't please everyone and I stopped trying. I have to do what's best for my students not what's easier for the speech teacher, OT or behavior support person.
     
  8. Joyful!

    Joyful! Habitué

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    May 26, 2011


    I agree, Alice. Perpetual trouble indicates systemic issues that may need tweaking or an overhauling. Great supervisors can pinpoint these people and help them overcome the things that may contribute to their ineffectiveness.
     
  9. Mrs. K.

    Mrs. K. Enthusiast

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    May 26, 2011

    I've got a tough class this year. They're lower-level freshmen, and there are only 12 in the class (when they all decide to come to school) but getting them to focus and get any work done is like herding cats.
     
  10. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    May 26, 2011

    The next to last year my mother taught was Not Fun: above and beyond the usual run of fifth grade angst, there were three boys in the class who had her tearing her hair out. The two other fifth grade teachers and the other colleagues began publicly wondering whether Mom were menopausal or flipping out or what.

    The next year, each of the boys was placed in a different sixth grade class. After a month or so, one by one each of the sixth grade teachers - and these were all veterans - came to Mom a bit sheepishly to concede, "Now I know what you were talking about last year when you had ____..."

    Sometimes the problem is the teacher: perhaps it's someone whose management skills need work, or someone whose grasp on the material and/or ability to present it compellingly need shoring up, or someone who just plain doesn't like kids well enough to be in the classroom. On the other hand, sometimes it's a classroom cohort that has more than a bit in common with a "perfect storm". It's not always easy or even possible to tell which is which on the fly.
     
  11. Curiouscat

    Curiouscat Comrade

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    May 26, 2011

    In the system I work in I work with a wonderful teacher who has deep ties in the community. This teacher grew up and graduated in the school system. This person's parent was a principal in the system. This person still lives in the community. I, on the other hand, am not from the area. Because many people know this teacher they request this particular person. This teacher ends up with a lot of students from very nice families.
    I have developed a reputation for being successful with difficult students because I have a strict routines and high expectations. The parents in the community know I get the troublemakers so they request the other teacher because they don't want their child with the difficult children. That in turn means I get all of the difficult students. I know this for a fact because parents tell me this to my face, and I have seen where they write this on the teacher request forms.
    Is this fair to me? Absolutely not! Does it mean I am a bad teacher? Absolutely not! How to solve the problem is the question. My principal refuses to deny teacher requests.
     
  12. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    May 26, 2011

    With my background, my principal places many of the more challenging students in my classroom. Most years, we do great! But sometimes, there is just a mix of students that don't work well together. This year, I have such a mix. I have been fighting since Oct to move the placement of one student and get an aide for another student, with little success.

    But can you really blame a teacher for having a rough go when the administrator admits to giving them difficult students and parents?
     
  13. funshine2381

    funshine2381 Companion

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    May 26, 2011

    I received a group of 9th graders right after Christmas break. These kids were hand selected from other teachers because they didn't want them. Is this fair to me? No....it is my last class of the day and I walk to my car trembling. I gave up smoking but started up again. Thank God I only see them one more time next week. I don't know if the other teachers are sympathetic because I don't complain. The AP isn't....I haven't actually complained, but the referrals I have sent....nothing has been done as far as I'm aware of.
     
  14. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    May 26, 2011

    I'm wi'm with the OP on this one.

    We have one middle school student who is literally more difficult and disruptive than all the rest (in all three grades) combined. My teammate had this student last year and finally reached the point where she just sent him to the office when he began acting out. At the beginning of this school year, his new teachers had the attitude that the previous teacher just didn't have the patience or skill to handle him. They started off loving and petting him when he acted up. After Christmas break, their attotude was more like "I'm gonna SCREAM if he does pne more thing!"

    Sometimes, it might be the teacher, but most of the time, it is the kid(s).
     
  15. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    May 26, 2011

    I think that this has a lot to do with professional respect as well. If teacher's respected each other, maybe more teachers would use the strategies or listen to tried strategies by previous teachers so that more continuity was seen from year to year.
     

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