Terrible Evaluation

Discussion in 'New Teachers' started by Genmai, Jan 26, 2010.

  1. Genmai

    Genmai Companion

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    Jan 26, 2010

    Well, I got my first evaluation and bombed it. Predictably, I scored zeroes in the classroom management areas. Officially, I'm unfit to teach. My supervisor is really pissed off, and I'm really drained because I can't teach because my classes are a hot mess. The worst part is that each day feels like a chore and has become completely joyless. I dread going into work in the morning and I have always liked working in the non-education life. Largely, I feel this way because most of my time is spent disciplining kids to stay in their seats, stop talking, stop cursing, stop hitting, stop running around, stop playing, etc. I've gotten advice about emphasizing my rewards and consequence system, but I think that my classroom culture is really broken right now and nothing will work this year. I'm in part survival mode and part save my instruction mode. I need to get the kids ready for the state test and am completely lost. If I get fired, the school may be doing a good thing because I'm such a terrible teacher right now.

    :|
     
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  3. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Jan 26, 2010

    I'm sorry you had a bad eval. :hugs:

    Do you feel comfortable posting some of the specifics of the eval and/or specifically what behaviors you see in class and how you address them as they arise? I know that the fine folks here can help brainstorm ideas and give suggestions about how to get your classroom back on track.
     
  4. Peachyness

    Peachyness Virtuoso

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    Jan 26, 2010

    I'm also sorry that you are having such a difficult time right now. Since you teach middle school, I know that it is SOOOO important to start the year off right. That means, being strict, getting your expectations across, and sticking to your rules and consequences. Middle school is such a tough grade to teach...... Is the administration helpful at all? Are they willing to work with you and perhaps regain some control and to show that you are worth coming back next year?? Anything we can help you with?
     
  5. ecl

    ecl Rookie

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    Jan 26, 2010

    I sympathize with your situation. You deserve so much more in the way of support from your administration. As a new teacher in an inner city middle school, you should have been given loads of support right from the beginning, so that you wouldn't have dropped into such a deep hole.

    Can you pull yourself out of this hole? Yes. But first discard the notion that you are a terrible teacher, and understand that your situation would be trying to any new teacher, that not many people could be successful in your shoes.

    Second, get rid of the idea that your classroom culture is broken, and that nothing will work. You can take steps that will cause positive change, but first you have to get your head around the fact that this is indeed possible.

    At this point in the year, you may not be able to have a completely calm and peaceful classroom. But you may be able to achieve an acceptable atmosphere that will hold you through until the end of the year.
     
  6. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    Jan 26, 2010

    One of the case studies we did in my PSY class dealt with a teacher feeling much the same way you do now. Her classroom was in chaos and she spent all day shouting and disciplining the kids instead of teaching them. She was burning out fast and didn't like the person she had become. Then, on her way to school one day, she just decided she would ignore all the "bad stuff" and only acknowledge (and verbally reward) the good behavior in class.

    She would openly compliment the girl that got right on task while ignoring the boys making faces in the corner. When she asked a question and a student actually raised their hand, she thanked the student for raising their hand and asked them the answer without mentioning or acknowledging the other four students that blurted out the answer instead of raising their hands.

    According to her article, it didn't take long for the students to recognize the "cues" that were being rewarded and they soon changed their behavior on their own.

    Now, I'll be the first to admit that (a) I'm still brand new to the teaching experience myself and (b) case studies in college don't always work in actual classroom applications. But it's worth a try to save your sanity and maybe salvage what is left of the school year. At the very least, it doesn't sound like it can any worse than what is happening now.

    Middle school kids are an incredible challenge, but they will also often surprise you. They know what they are SUPPOSED to be doing and, if they see you acknowledging appropriate behavior and just ignoring improper behavior (as much as possible, anyway), then very soon, they will hopefully start changing their behavior themselves so they also get "noticed" for doing things right.

    And, if you DO get the class under control and on task, your supervisor will likely take note of that for future reference.

    I'm betting you're not the ONLY teacher having problems with this group, so if you can be the one teacher that gets them to behave, that will definitely be noticed by the admin.
     
  7. KateL

    KateL Habitué

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    Jan 26, 2010

    So the students didn't even behave with whoever was in the room observing you? However my students behave with me, they always shape up when the principal or AP is in the room. If they're still acting out with admin in the room, it's probably not you.

    Regarding Cerek's case study, one of my class periods is like what you describe. I tried ignoring the bad behavior, and it worked with the misbehaving girls and of course with all the students who always behave. The misbehaving boys, though, just got louder and louder and ended up throwing markers at each other (this is 7th grade). So ignoring bad behavior and rewarding good isn't the whole solution, at least in my case. I wish I knew what the whole solution was, though, because this one class is driving me up the wall!
     
  8. Genmai

    Genmai Companion

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    Jan 27, 2010

    Bad as it sounds, I may quit. Since I signed my contract recently after having complained about no contract, quitting will be a bad move. Quitting mid-year is never a good thing regardless. But, I'm starting to feel really lost right now. The odd part is that I've given my opinion on this situation to other posts on this board but am unable to fix my own situation. Admittedly, my situation is not nearly as bad as the situations that others have. In fact, I have it pretty good by some standards. This doesn't make me feel any better because I still feel miserable.
     
  9. Special-t

    Special-t Enthusiast

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    Jan 27, 2010

    Do you have any disciplinary support from administration? Can the dean come sit in on your worst classes? Or even just stop by at the beginning of all your periods for a few weeks?

    The school wants your kids to perform well on the state tests. They should be willing to help you get the classes under control so that can happen.

    About how many students do you have in each class who start the challenging behaviors - usually there are leaders and followers.

    I agree that ignoring the bad behavior doesn't always work for middle school kids because they are often driven by peer attention.

    You can make a strong case for removing the disruptive kids because they are making it impossible for the other students to learn (which is their legal right). Send them out of class with prepared daily packets. They can do their work in the dean's office, during detention, or as homework. If they don't do the work - they fail. Make this a clear policy with the kids and their parents.
     
  10. HeatherY

    HeatherY Habitué

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    Jan 27, 2010

    I once subbing in a middle school for 2 days in a row (committed before i met the class) and I went home crying both days. i would not wish that kind of experience on anyone.

    Is there an instigator? One time a subbed a few days in a class and I quickly learned that one student was setting the entire tone. So I made up a note that I needed someone to take to a teacher and get a response and then take to somewhere else etc.. It got the kid out of the room for about 15 minutes. I pulled the class back on track and when the kid returned he no longer had the hold over the class. Just 2 cents if that could help at all.

    This week I was having a rough time with some kids. So before I started a lesson I told them that I could teach them what they needed to know in 10 minutes if they behaved and were attentive and then we would have time for them to practice for their drama performance (a reward). If they were disruptive I would give them boring seatwork to work on. When the first student started talking to his neighbor and being disruptive I called his name told him to grab a pencil and I handed him the packet of seatwork to take next door. I removed 3 kids before the end and the rest of us happily got to do our drama stuff. I thought it went well and I did not have to punish the majority of the class for a couple kids bad choices.
     
  11. ChristyF

    ChristyF Moderator

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    Jan 28, 2010

    First, don't base everything on this one evaluation. If you look, there are a dozen threads talking about how bad the kids are right now. You aren't alone in all of this and don't give up. Do you have a mentor? You say this is your first evaluation so I am assuming you are a new teacher. If you don't have an assigned mentor, seek one out. Find a teacher that teaches a content area/grade similar to yours and seek advice. Ask to observe other teachers to see how they manage their classrooms. My last suggest is to severely tighten the control in your room. It's a little like reining in a runaway horse - hard to do, but possible. Set boundaries, stick to your rules, and have consequences.
    Take a few breaths, go read a book that has nothing to do with school, take a bubble bath, go for a hike, just relax. Then, come back in and give 'em heck! Good luck!
     
  12. wrice

    wrice Habitué

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    Jan 28, 2010

    Sorry, and hang in there!

    My first inclination any time I had management issues was to look at the lesson and transitions. A lot of behavioral concerns seem to me to have come from students who were not engaged- a boring lesson, too easy, too hard, or too much free time between lesson segments.

    Sounds like you have nowhere to go but up! Find some friends and get some advice and help. Quitting now would leave you defeated and full of regrets, stick it out until you know you've tried your best.
     
  13. Genmai

    Genmai Companion

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    Jan 29, 2010

    I'm probably melodramatic about quitting right now. I'll complain about quitting from time to time on the board because I can't do it at school. In practice, I will stick it out unless true disaster strikes. January passed amazingly quickly, and I'm dreading the little time that I have left until our big state test. No learning is occurring in class because it is a complete zoo, and I must get my class under control.
     
  14. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

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    Jan 30, 2010

    Have you sat down with each of your classes and talked to them human being to human being? Have you shared with them how you are personally feeling, showing them that you care so much about them that their poor behavior and lack of learning is destroying you? Do your students even know exactly what you expect of them? Have you shared with their parents and advisors/homeroom teachers their behavior?

    1. Sit down with them and spill how you're feeling. I had to do that this past week actually and I told them that I can not continue letting the class happen like this because I do not want to be crying every day after they leave. I'm a human being, I deserve respect... I'm more than just a teacher they see for 45 minutes a day. I'm a person who goes to sleep thinking about how to teach them better and who wakes up thinking about lessons and each of them individually and I mean that.

    2. Write up your expectations for them on a poster board and review it. Keep it up on a wall where each student can see it daily. When the majority of the class is not doing what they're expected to, stop the lesson, don't say anything, go the list of expectations and stand there pointing at it. For that one class I mentioned, I now stand still without giving them any eye contact and they self-monitor themselves as a class. THEY tell one another to quiet down, stop playing with this or that, etc. I have no reason to kill myself over telling them to behave. 5th graders can handle this, I'm sure higher grades can handle it too.

    3. Since you have to prepare them for the test, start talking with a teacher who has to do the same thing and get advice. Even if you only have a short time to start a plan, its better than nothing. You owe that to the students. Make sure ANY assignment from now on--- classwork or homework--- prepares them for THAT test. (I hate tests btw, but in order to keep your job I understand that THAT is what you have to do)

    4. Students need routines and I've dealt with behavior issues but sticking to a routine: When I know a class is going to go crazy, I have a Do Now on the board ready to go for them and I'm playing classical music. Sounds crazy but the music does really make them focus better or just shut up completely because they're wondering what the heck you're doing. (I have a classic music station on pandora so I don't have to buy anything for it) We review it, it lets me understand better what I have to review. I do my lesson (I usually write the lesson plan on the board so the students know exactly what we're doing and they don't have to ask "are we done yet?") and then I have an exit card. For the exit card they have to answer some questions about the lesson, something quick and then check it with me. If its wrong they have to go back and fix it, if its right they can leave class or earn some other kind of appropriate reward.

    As bad as all of this is, once you get it under control you'll feel a lot better about yourself as a teacher. I had major behavior issues my first year of teaching (this is my 2nd and you learn SOOOOO much in the first years) and I now see behavior issues as challenges that are fun to sit down and tackle. It's a huge shame that your admins are not giving you the proper support you need--- they should be offering up advice, coming in to observe how you're doing, even co-teaching a class to show you the actual methods, or at least have you observe some of their classes. With my behavior issues, my supervisor has been a blessing in helping me by co-teaching a class with me and letting me observe her and other teachers to learn how to be a better teacher.

    So please see this as a way to improve in your own teaching-- you are NOT a bad teacher, you just had no clue and you know what, that's okay. I had no clue either, none of my classes prepared me for this--- I just had to get support and learn through doing. I wish you the best-- feel free to drop me a pm if you have questions or anything. :)
     
  15. timsterino

    timsterino Comrade

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    Feb 7, 2010

    Ok, first breathe. I am sorry about the bad review, but you can still recover and it is not hopeless. You first have to change your negative attitude. "It is broken...Nothing will work..." That is hogwash but if you believe it, it will happen.

    What POSITIVE interventions have you attempted? From what you wrote, the only interventions that I can make out are NEGATIVE. When you see stop, stop, stop, stop that is indicitive to me of a negative environment. You can not tell a middle schooler to stop and expect them to immediately stop. You have to offer them POSITIVE alternatives to their behaviors. I use a point system in my class with rewards at the end of the quarter. This works rather well. Kids love to compete and be rewarded. You should bring some of their natural energy out in a POSITIVE manner and not be reactive to their behavior but instead take a pro-active approach.
     
  16. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Feb 7, 2010

    BioAngel, that is one of the best, most helpful posts I've seen in ages.

    Kudos to you!!! Not only for taking control, but for being kind enough to break down the steps!!
     
  17. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

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    Feb 9, 2010

    Thank you kindly--- its nice to hear I'm giving good advice since I'm still in the "doubt everything I do is right" stage :wub:
     
  18. leighbball

    leighbball Virtuoso

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    Feb 11, 2010

    I couldn't have said it any better than BioAngel did. :hugs:
     

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