The end of my rope.

Discussion in 'Behavior Management' started by BeckyPie7, Nov 21, 2007.

  1. BeckyPie7

    BeckyPie7 Companion

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    Nov 21, 2007

    Recently my students have been getting worse and worse (9th and 10th graders). For example, today a student was talking back to me and demanding that I do _____________. I looked at him and said "I don't speak to you that way so I would appreciate it if you didn't speak to me in that manner." He proceeded to say," Go ahead, call my mom. You're a joke. She thinks you're a joke, I think you're a joke, this class thinks you're a joke. No one will take you seriously." This isn't the first time he's said that to me. I've called his mother about it, spoken to him about his behavior. He is basically, nasty toward me no matter what. I have a number of other students who are that way. They tell me I smell fishy...to not walk around so much because they can smell me, that I'm a nasty b****. The hits keep coming.
    Usually I speak to them first about the incident. I then call their parents. I document all of this. When it comes down to the last straw, as it did today, I write them up and try to let the administration deal with it.
    I don't know what more I can do. I handle it as best I can. I always treat them kindly and model the types of behaviors that are appropriate.
    I believe the problem is in the administration. They are not consistent. They handle things differently for different students. I wrote a few up today and I know that some of them will be given a talking to, others will have in school detention. In school detention is a joke. They basically get to do whatever they want to in the trailer behind the school. It's more of a free day than anything and the students come back worse, confident that the worst thing that will happen when they act up is that they will get a "free day." I've even had the principle or asst. principle bring a child back to my class and tell me that I need to apologize to the student or that I shouldn't provoke the student. If my, trying to teach, is provoking...sorry...I thought that was my job. I just get so upset because the students know that the teachers have no say here. They know were are the low man on the totem pole and that they can talk their way out of punishment. As a result they behave any old way they want to, and if they do get in trouble they get mom in here to get them out of it. Basically, the administration, babies them, there are no consequences. I don't know what to do. I feel I've tried everything. Other teachers here have even tried to speak with the superintendent and we were told that we were not "allowed" to try to contact him. He doesn't want to talk to us until we've talked to the very people who aren't doing a thing.
    Any suggestions? Your opinion is valuable to me right now!
     
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  3. desari

    desari Rookie

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    Nov 21, 2007

    In my honest opinion i would talk to your Union Rep. You are being harrased and that should never be taken lightly. You may want to see about relocating them into other english classes if there are any that teach the same you teach. i would also take the time to maybe look into relocating in the district. i wish i could be there for you to set them straight.
     
  4. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    Nov 21, 2007

    Becky, I'm sorry that you have to deal with this. I think I would cry!!! I agree that you need to contact your union rep (if you have one). Desari's right, this is harassment and you shouldn't have to tolerate it! If they say you have to go up the chain, then do it. Talk to the principal about what's going on with the students when they come back to class. Then if something isn't right the next day, go to the next person. Then you can say you've covered your bases before going to the superintendent. If he won't listen to you, go to your school board. They wouldn't want this to continue. If you expel all your resources and nothing gets done, then I would look into relocating in the district or maybe start looking outside the district.

    Is there only one class that does this or is it some in every class?
     
  5. WaterfallLady

    WaterfallLady Enthusiast

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    Nov 21, 2007

    I am sorry you are going through that. Kids can be so rude. If a kid said something like that at my school, they would be suspended and get a hearing to possibly go to the alternative school.

    Your administrators need to be doing something. You need to write a referral everytime the children say something like that. It's time to be really, really, really strict.
     
  6. Budaka

    Budaka Cohort

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    Nov 21, 2007

    Wow! That is beyond the pale! Wow again, way beyond normal teenager nastiness. I have taught at some pretty bad schools and I have been called the b word before but it was usually just done out of anger.
    It is doesn't excuse their behavior in any way, but maybe you are being too nice them. If they are going to act that way to you your only obligation is to teach them professionally. Don't stoop to their level and don't let them know that their comments bother you. I would also heavily lay on the work so there could be no comments about your class being a joke. And then fail anyone who deserves to fail.
    I have annoying behaviour from seventh graders but they are seventh graders! And the whole school is working on guiding them and modeling for them correct behaviour. This kind of behaviour is unacceptable from 9/10 graders! If your administration is not willing to support you it may be time to find another school!

    And remember you are the teacher. You are the expert in the classroom. You must have an air of confidence and the knowledge that you are doing the right thing. They are not!
     
  7. Budaka

    Budaka Cohort

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    Nov 21, 2007

    Oh, I just read the part about where the admin wanted you to apologize to the students! Oh, man. I have apologized to students. I am not perfect and sometimes things don't come out the way I thought they would. But the administration should support you.
    I will never forget the time I had to have a principal remove a student from my classroom because she refused to leave. Later, when I talked to him he said I don't care what she did that lead to you asking her to leave. It doesn't really make any difference. If a student is asked to leave by the teacher he or she should leave. End of conversation. That is the kind of support you should get!
     
  8. GrandHighWitch

    GrandHighWitch Companion

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    Nov 21, 2007

    I can't believe the kids say such horrible things to you, their teacher!! We may have made jokes about certain teachers behind their backs when I was in school, but no one, not even the "bad kids" I knew, would have dared to say those kinds of things to one!! That is AWFUL! I would cry. I couldn't teach with that kind of utter disrespect going on. I don't think I could teach high school anyway, but that goes WAY beyond normal high school behavior.

    I think if I were in that situation, with students like that and a completely unsupportive administration, I'd be looking for a new position in a different district.
     
  9. cmw

    cmw Groupie

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    Nov 21, 2007

    :hugs: That is awful - the students & the action of the admin! I can't imagine students treating me like like. I would be soooo upset. I also am shocked that admin. want you to apologize. :eek:hmy: How long have you taught there? It sounds like this is a school wide issue. I agree with contacing your union rep. Hopefully staff has copies of the write ups to show lack of enforcement by admin. Good luck!
     
  10. MissFrizzle

    MissFrizzle Virtuoso

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    Nov 21, 2007

    Do not apologize! You did nothing wrong. You are being harassed. Get a union rep and stand your ground. You don't deserve this...
     
  11. wunderwhy

    wunderwhy Comrade

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    Nov 22, 2007

    I agree . . . talk to your union rep. The administration is not making things any better for you.

    But I'm also going to look at your post from another perspective . . .

    Do you think that kids "think you're a joke" or feel they can call you names because you are so nice and patient? I know you are trying to avoid situations where the adminstration shows up and tells you to apologize, but you are allowed to stand up for yourself as a human, just as you wouldn't blame a student for saying, "Hey! You can't talk to me like that!" if he or she was being picked on.

    Some classes will just get on your nerves all year . . . too many behavioral issues, too many kids with ADHD, too many bodies in one room . . . But I do think that in most circumstances you can establish a good rapport with the class so that there is no intentional nastiness directed at you. Do you feel that there were some moments early on when you gave them the impression they could walk all over you, so to speak?

    I don't in any way mean to blame you. I just believe that even with a supportive administration, if the class doesn't respect you, nothing can change that. And knowing that you teach in a rural area in a small town, options for transferring to a more supportive school might be slim. So you might just need to figure out a way to turn yourself into one of those teachers all the kids love, or you might need to find a different profession/move to a new area.

    My first two years of teaching, I only had a good rapport with maybe half of my classes. In the others, I overreacted to some things, underreacted to others, and lost their respect. In some, they could tell I didn't like them, and just as we would do, they didn't like me in return. In my worst class, they'd make sounds just to be annoying, or they'd raise their hand just to say, "Your tag is showing!" in an obnoxious way. At the time, I reacted the "wrong" way -- flustered and mad. Now I'd just say, "Oh, thank you for that important educational tip" and wink.

    I've been trying an interesting experiment this year: trying really hard to like and appreciate the kids who would have bugged me in the past. I figured out how to handle the low-level kids years ago, so while they will never be model students who can sit still in their seats for 85 minutes and never speak without being called on, I could eliminate the things that they would do just to be rude and nasty by having a good rapport with them. But in my honors classes, I could still get frustrated by the kids who acted out because they felt out of place in honors, or the kids who acted "too cool" to be there. So this year when I had those first little tests where they'd say something under their breath, I just made a point to joke around with those kids, express interest in them, find something they were good at, tell them I liked what they wrote in their journal . . . And it's really worked! Being an honors class, the behavior was never really that atrocious, but I like those classes so much more. OK, so not everyone is a sweet dorky kid like I was . . . OK, so you're on the football team and think I assign too much work . . . but we can establish an inclusive, positive vibe without everybody having to be the same.

    I really, truly am not saying that the way they are behaving is your fault. But if the administration sucking is a given, then you can get the greatest return for your investment if you focus on changing your classroom dynamics.

    I am the adviser for the school's prestigious honor society, and character is one of the criteria. On one hand, it's frustrating to see students who don't get in on the basis of negative character comments from faculty (bad attitude, rude, disruptive, etc.) because I am the one who has to explain this to the student, and I feel like I'm saying, I'm sorry, some of your teachers don't like you. And often it's the same teachers over and over saying it, teachers who sometimes have a reputation for having out of control classes anyway.

    But here's the part where I support those teachers and agree the students should be kept out of the society for behaving like that . . . OK, so maybe you encounter bosses you think are idiots or teachers you think are "a joke" in life, but that still doesn't mean you can treat them badly, does it? So in the end, I know those students really are lacking in character, because character isn't how you act when it's easy to be truthful or polite or respectful. Character is how you act when it isn't easy because everyone else is making bad choices.

    Honestly, I'd have a heart to heart with the class as a whole. Appeal to the part of the kid who wants to be a good person. Say, "Guys, have I really done anything so terrible to deserve being treated like this?" And some boy might say, "Yeah, you suck!" or something, but I wouldn't let it go until you've won this logic battle. You could say, "Just because you think somebody sucks, you get to treat them like dirt?" or "Your parents taught you that you can tell a woman she's a b---- or her breath stinks just because you think her class is a little boring?" If this part of the conversation goes well, you can brainstorm a class list of rules and consequences together. If any students try to be rude, keep after the point logically until the kid breaks. Ask the class, "Is [whatever the kid just said] an appropriate thing to say?" As you assert yourself as a caring person who has feelings and a right to be treated with dignity, the class should begin to turn on the few knuckleheads who try to keep lashing out.

    If the brainstorming doesn't go well or the time doesn't seem right, you can come up with your own approach and simply tell them, ok, everyone is receiving a 100 test grade per term for participation. Participation involves actively listening, making appropriate comments, and being prepared for class. Every instance of not listening, making inappropriate comments, or being unprepared will result in the loss of 10 points. To make up these ten points, students must write a 250 word paper. Make up about twenty different prompts such as, "What is character?" or "How can a teenager make positive choices in today's world?" and have them on hand at all times. So you'll essentially be assigning them detention-type work since it seems that detention doesn't mean much to them, and you'll have their grades as collateral. And if they don't do the assignment, their grade will drop the ten points.

    I really hope the union rep is able to provide some help on the administrative side. Good luck!
     
  12. wunderwhy

    wunderwhy Comrade

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    Nov 22, 2007

    P.S. I just reread your comment about how the kid was bossing you around. I had a couple of boys in my honors classes this year basically demand that I give them a pencil or another copy of a handout they'd lost, announcing, "I need a pencil!" or "I need another copy!" I don't think they were being purposely rude, just unthinking. So if I'd said, "Excuse me! Don't talk to me like that!" that would have turned what was probably just how they talk to their mom at home into something that could create antagonism between us. But on the other hand, I'm not going to run and fetch just because some 16 year old came to my honors class unprepared. So I said something like, "I need a new copy! Fetch me a new copy Mrs. [Wunderwhy]! Now!" But I said it in a lighthearted way, so the other kids chuckled at the kid's indiscretion, but without the kid feeling too embarrassed. And the kid said, "Oh, oops, may I please have another copy?" and I said, "Yes, of course you may." Sometimes it's just those little things that add up to how the class treats you for the rest of the year. After my first couple of years, I had to learn this middle ground -- don't underreact by running and fetching when some kid is rude to you, but don't overreact by flipping out and giving a lecture when the kid just blurted it out without meaning to order you around. I had the satisfaction of hearing the kid next to him say, "Dude, you totally tried to boss our teacher around."
     
  13. etrain

    etrain New Member

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    Nov 22, 2007

    I cannot believe that you have to put up with that from both your students and the administration! You are trying to gain respect from your students and the administration makes YOU apologize to the student for your behavior I think that is ridiculous. I also agree with you on the need for consistency from what you are saying there is no discipline or consequence for the students actions. There needs to be a system set up where if a student does something inappropriate then there is a specific consequence that follows more so than a "free day". I think that you definitely need to talk to someone above the school principle about this because you should not have to put up with this from anyone!
     
  14. WindyCityGal606

    WindyCityGal606 Enthusiast

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    Nov 22, 2007

    This is terrible that anyone would speak to you that way...especially students. I would seriously weigh how badly I needed the paycheck and posibly put in my resignation after carefully documenting and reporting everything both from the students and the administratiin. Unacceptable. Please don't allow yourself to be treated this way. It is wrong and it is harrassment. File charges against the students if yiu can. Then, if there is any flack from above, maybe you'll finally get some face time with the superintendants. Shame on all of them. I'm so sorry for you but pleasse be strong and do not take this without a fight.
     
  15. arelia

    arelia Rookie

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    Nov 23, 2007

    It sounds like you are having a terrible time of it...

    If it was me, I probably would have walked out and left them to it...or told them that if they are not there to learn, they know where the door is, don't let it hit them on the backside on their way out...:)

    I am about to start my first yr full time teaching in the new yr, and some advice the principal gave me, is don't go 'softly softly' with the kids, go in hard, because at the end of the day, it is the teachers that are hard on them that they like the most, not the 'soft' teachers...

    I wonder if that applies across the board? I teach only in junior classes
     
  16. wunderwhy

    wunderwhy Comrade

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    Nov 23, 2007

    I do agree that it's much, much better to be too hard on them than too soft in your expectations. Don't let them convince you to extend a due date or postpone a quiz unless you really believe it's appropriate. Don't let them convince you to "do nothing." I do think that the best teachers are the butt-busters where the class is just almost too challenging for the students but is a great learning experience in the end.

    But in terms of disciplining the class, I agree not to be a softee, but I also think it doesn't get you anywhere you to be a dictator and punish every little thing. The kids won't respect the underreactor or the overreactor. The key is to figure out which battles you must fight to keep order, then make sure you win those.

    I think most new teachers let too many things slide. The new teacher next door during one period last year did. I heard a kid yell, "I f---ing hate you!" at her and she kept on teaching. She taught in my room another period, and if I popped in to grab something, I'd hear her droning on sarcastically while kids played on their computers or slept. And my mentee this year, oh boy. When I observed her, it was pretty bad. The only silver lining is that unlike me and my two friends at work who were first year teachers when I was in my third year, she doesn't seem to notice. My friends and I were on the overreactor end of the spectrum, where gosh darn it we were not going to allow some kid to talk over us or throw paper across the room even if we had to look like shrill you know whats!

    But my mentee seems to think she is in on "the joke" with them. They were listening to rap and sitting ON their desks when the bell rang. Some of them escaped into the hall in the middle of the class. I would have been the teacher barking, "Get back in your seat!" at the poor kid just trying to sharpen his pencil. They talked in the middle of their quiz. They talked for six out of ten minutes during their "free writes." Somebody's friend walked by in the hall, so one girl shouted out her name, and another girl shouted at the shouter, "You so ghetto!" My mentee would try to explain the next assignment, and they would shout at their friend across the room asking for a pencil or paper. Then they would get quiet finally, and some boy would ask my mentee about her favorite sports team, and it was all shot to you know where.

    But I really don't think she thinks their behavior is a problem. She said that they were her middle of the road class -- she had one much worse and two better -- and that this class was especially well behaved that day (???), probably because I was there. I asked her if their behavior compared to the really bad class, and she said, oh no, that class is much worse. So I asked if perhaps the kids didn't really need to ask her about sports or shout across the room for paper or a pencil and maybe were just doing that to derail class, and she said, oh no, she didn't think they realized they were being disruptive. No, honey, they realize what they are doing and it is NOT necessary!

    So I'm just rambling away now . . . but my point is that new teachers should figure out where they fall on the spectrum. Underreactors should work on establishing and maintaining control and not letting things slide, and overreactors should work on establishing a good rapport and learning what to let slide.
     
  17. arelia

    arelia Rookie

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    Nov 23, 2007

    I was just reading 'wunderwhy's' post and reread my own from last not and realised that perhaps I was not quite clear on what I meant.

    I meant that when you go in 'hard' that you need to be firm but fair, and always consistent. So if you make a threat...eg I'm sending you to the principal if you do that one more time...then send them, don't give them another chance.

    I learnt that through relieving (subbing) that trying to be the kids best friend when you go in doesn't work.

    In fact just the other day I had a class...from the moment I walked in the door before meeting any of the kids I could tell it was going to be a difficult day and that I would need to be strict.

    When I walked in the class first thing, I noticed that it was in a disarray from the day before, teachers desk was a mess, the class had paper, equipement and pencils lying all over the floor still from the day before, library books uncared for.

    I have always found that if I walk into a class that is in a mess, usually means no organisation and that the kids will most likely have no real routine, structure or respect for things or each other...

    Sure enough before 9.30 am a little boy got up and punched another little boy in the head, I managed to stop him before he hit another kid, but he took a swing at me, it glanced off my arm, I told him that I was going to take him to the 'office' he screamed and kicked some more telling me he didn't want to go....I explained what he did was not acceptable behavior and promptly got up and carried him over the the principal, when he came back to class after morning tea...he was a perfect angel for the rest of the day.

    With that the kids realised I meant business..not that they did not try it on...

    The end of the day was the funniest...they a all thought that once the bell went and because they could see their parents they could just get up and leave...nope, I made them all and I mean all sit down and wait until I released them for the day...they were all a little upset at that, but I explained no one leaves until I say,and if their parents or caregivers are waiting then its their own fault for not doing what I asked quickly enough...they got the message and the chance to leave school 5minutes after the hometime bell.

    But after all said and done, before they all left I got hugs and asked if I would be back the next day and they made said faces when i said no.

    Now I know a lot of that wouldn't apply to a high school class, but its just about setting really firm boundaries and not moving on them. set your expectations and and let them know their will be consequences if they do not adhere to them, and show them you expect to be respected, in fact tell them.

    I have a teenage son with ADD, so I know about setting firm boundaries and demanding respect from teens.

    I hope things have got better for you and some people have given some really super advice in this thread.
     
  18. LA/FLnewbie

    LA/FLnewbie Companion

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    Dec 5, 2007

    This is so true. I'm in my first year and struggling. My homeroom class is OK for me but I get occasional "attitude" from a few (nothing CLOSE to what was described in the first post, though). The 6th grade I go into is at the point of just talking over me. I'm pretty sure it's the result of being too "nice" in the beginning and now needing to tighten up. It's just so hard to walk that line - being tough and a disciplinarian, but also building rapport. I guess this is why your first year is so hard, and why no one can really get better except by experience?

    I have been asking for help from my admin and other teachers, and have been observed, and no one can really give me a straight answer on what to do differently. I think it is part "presence" and part knowing how to walk that line of over/underreacting you have described. Too bad there isn't a "how-to manual" of how to react to kids!
     
  19. ebrillblaiddes

    ebrillblaiddes Companion

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    Dec 5, 2007

    *would, out of gratitude for its existence, buy 37,000,000 copies*
     
  20. sumnerfan

    sumnerfan Comrade

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    Dec 6, 2007

    Are you at my school? Ok, mine's not quite that bad but I could relate to so much of what you are saying. I have one girl who is so disrespectful. It's a good day if she goes to sleep. I don't have any advice for you but I totally understand about having a weak administration and dealing with each case individually. It's very frustrating. I'm so glad you posted this. I agree get tough, document everything and let the admin really see what you are going through each day. Maybe if they get tired of dealing with them you AP will actually do something to make the situation better.

    Good luck and keep us posted.

    Kim
     
  21. heatherleigh

    heatherleigh Companion

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    Dec 6, 2007

    i honestly feel like the worst part of this problem is administrators coming back with a child that you have referred for one reason or another and expecting YOU to apologize to them. i can see where they may discuss what the child reported as their 'side' of the story to you (without the presence of other students) but bringing a child that has misbehaved back to your room and having you apologize to them is probably a large part of why you have students that view you as "a joke." they are seeing other adults walk all over you and then following lead.
    i think wunderwhy (and some of the others) gave you some really good advice. i would be careful... it definitely makes for a challenge when you don't have the support of administrators... i would see if you can devise some other options. good luck!
     
  22. BeckyPie7

    BeckyPie7 Companion

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    Dec 7, 2007

    Wow, thanks for all of the responses! I know that I tend to overreact some days and under-react other days. It's my second year teaching but I don't seem to be able to find a happy medium between the two. For example, today, I haven't let them get away with anything but other days I'm in a jovial mood and let them do things I don't normally let them do.
    I know this is wrong! Yikes! I wish I could stop! I just need to find that medium. I need to find a way to be nice but firm and to have a rapport with them without "being their friends." It's so much easier said than done.
     
  23. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    Dec 7, 2007

    Becky, was the school like this with admin last year?
     
  24. used&abuseed

    used&abuseed New Member

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    Dec 8, 2007

    I understand totally

    I am also a new teacher and I am having a very hard time finding some middle ground. In my school kids are really allowed to say or do whatever they want as long as its not to the principal. He will not even punish them let alone give them detention or suspended them because he is only concerned about keeping up the appearance that his school is perfect. So as a result its the teachers who suffer and have to put up with crap. I once caught a student with a book open on his desk during a test so I gave him a zero. The student said he is going to take it to the administration which he did and I was made to seem like I was doing something wrong for giving him a zero. I cant stand it anymore suffice to say that I am contacting my union rep and looking for a new school
     
  25. bluelightstar

    bluelightstar Companion

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    Dec 9, 2007

    As many have said, there's no excuse for allowing that kind of behavior to slide. I see no reason for you even to call their parents or try to discuss such a matter with them civilly. I believe you should give them immediate referrals for behavior like that.

    As for unsupportive administrators, I think you should stand your ground. If the student was cheating, then he needs to keep that zero. Period. My first year teaching (this is my third), I was at a local middle school. The students were not great by any means, and many were failing my class with low F's. The principal told me that I needed to make sure EVERYONE had at least a 60 or he would put 'insubordinate' in my permanent file. Needless to say, I was more than happy to head to high school that next year.
     
  26. BeckyPie7

    BeckyPie7 Companion

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    Dec 10, 2007

    The administration was the same last year but they appear to be getting worse and not better. They don't want to discipline so many students because, apparently, they have to report that and then our school would be labeled as a troubled school. Well, if the shoe fits...
    Perhaps handling the problems and being labeled as a school with problems would get rid of the problems or improve the way the students behave. They behave the way they do because they are not disciplined. The principle and superintendent always say things like, "We don't have many fights at our school." I wonder what school they work at. It seems they are just keeping up appearances.
    Just last week the principle got angry at the teachers for "spreading rumors." He said that he heard all of these rumors from people in the community about how bad the students behave and he wants us to stop spreading those rumors. First of all, all the rumors are true; they did happen. Second, people talk to others in the community about it because they are desperate for change, not because they want to "get someone in trouble." It seems like the only ones who get disciplined at my school are the very teachers that are trying the best they can to make the best out of what they have; teachers who care about the students and wouldn't be here if they didn't. We get the impression that we're the "bad guy."
     
  27. Blanche

    Blanche Rookie

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    Dec 16, 2007

    hey, I know exactly how you are feeling. I have stundents who are very disrespectful and are in Pre-K and I am receiving no help in my situation either. I have been doing a lot of research and if you have time over the holiday to do some reading these books may come in very helpful. They are geared more toward school aged students than 4 and 5 year olds but they still helped me calm myself and realize that there are methods out there that will work. One book is Setting Limits in the Classroomby Robert J MacKenzie ED.D. And the other 2 are written by Mendler they are What Do I Do When...? and Power Struggles. These all helped me in staying consistant and giving very clear expectations. I hope that this helps you.....Just stay strong and know that you are not alone
     
  28. RainStorm

    RainStorm Phenom

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    Dec 16, 2007

    Okay, I'll bite. How do you pronounce sdzbgdr? ;)
     
  29. FreeFalling

    FreeFalling New Member

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    Feb 26, 2008

    Hey, BeckyPie7!

    You don't work at my school, do you? 'Cause I could swear you are describing my school's principal/assistant principal.

    "..detention is a joke. They basically get to do whatever they want to in [a designated classroom on campus]. It's more of a free day than anything and the students come back worse, confident that the worst thing that will happen when they act up is that they will get a "free day." I've even had the principle or asst. principle bring a child back to my class and tell me that I need to apologize to the student or that I shouldn't provoke the student."

    Well, honestly, my students are not quite as bad as yours (but a few are pretty close) and I have never been forced to apologize to a student, but -- at least as I see it -- I have been compelled to do things just short of that. For example, when I contacted several of the students' parents over one episode of misconduct (in which multiple students were involved), which had to be done through a translator because the parents only spoke Spanish, the translator was told by about half of the parents that they had already spoken to the school counselor, who is bilingual, and therefore viewed by many of the parents as an advocate, which she understands gives her some political advantages and shamelessly exploits as an end to whatever means suits her at the time, and with whom I have had more than a few problems, because she routinely makes derogatory comments about the teachers at our school to parents AND students. They all claimed that they were told that they did not have to come meet with me to discuss their children's conduct, because they spoke with [insert counselor's name here] and their children had done "nothing wrong". They just blew me off! And, of course, this sends a clear message to those students that they need not take my threats of "there will be consequences" seriously, because there ARE no consequences for them. I am the only one suffering any consequences.

    If you don't have an administration that takes these problems seriously and is willing to back you up, or prefers sticking their heads in ... uh ... the sand in an attempt to maintain some sort of illusion that there are no behavior problems at your school, you are in a "lose lose" situation and it will only get worse.

    My advice to you is to get out of there as soon as possible.

    You have my sympathy and my best wishes for brighter days ahead.
     
  30. MrU82

    MrU82 Rookie

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    Mar 27, 2008

    Go in monday. Start over. New rules. New attitude. Lots of confidence. Take over and discipline switfly. No more warnings and low-level discipline tactics learned in your credential program. Show them who's boss. Sometimes, unfortunately, respect has to be earned through a little fear. Its just the way it works.

    Loading on more work helps too.

    Just keep 3 basic rules: Respect me, yourself and others, and property. Any time any of these rules are broken, they will be kicked out of the class or disciplined harshly.

    *by the way, im sorry if i come across a little brash and use harsh language. But we're all adults and can handle it. Yes we're pros but when I see good teachers and good people getting bullied around like this it really upsets me.

    sorry
     
  31. teacheratheart

    teacheratheart Companion

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    Mar 27, 2008

    The days I'm the harshest on the kids are the days it's quietest in my class. And more work gets done!! And usually the day after a really strict day, the kids bring me stuff like gum or cookies or even homemade chocolate cake!! The thing is, these kids know I like them. They see me at their games and cheering them on during assemblies. But they also respect me as a teacher and they know that when I say something, I mean it. It was hard work at the beginning of the year because I am young, but now that we are in the home stretch it is worth it because I don't have many problems with them messing around in my classroom.
     
  32. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    Mar 27, 2008

    Wow, there's tons of REALLY good advise here. I would definately speak to your union rep. These are exactly the types of situations they are there for. I also agree with changing your response to the students' behaviors.

    I have a colleague at the CC I work for who's the master at "non-answers". I told him about the apology thing and his response was, "well, she should have looked the student and principal in the eye, smiled, and said 'I'm so sorry that you were offended at my efforts to teach a class in a respectful atmosphere'".

    I do understand unruly kids. I teach in an inner city middle school and these kids can be quite rough. Thankfully, while I was new to teaching this age group, I was not new to teaching when I took the middle school job. I was able to quickly reorganize my classroom management techniques for these kids. I'm a tough cookie with certain things. Respect for everybody, including yourself, is non-negotiable, and will get you kicked out of my classroom without a second warning. They know this and rarely step out of line. They even call me sarge, yet at the same time, during a pep rally, when they introduced all the teachers, they applauded politely for most of the other teachers, but hit thier feet and yelled and cheered for me. It's kinda funny cause I can be so mean to them. But they know I care...enough to make them work, and to respect themselves and others.

    What works for me, or anybody else, may not work for you. You have to find how to manage your class to your own style. Maybe you're having trouble being consistent because you're trying too many different things that just aren't your style. When you do find what works and feels comfortable to you, stick with it.

    One other word of advise. The dirt usually comes out at some point in time. Heads will roll and maybe the first time it will be the teachers, but then some newspaper or something like that will get involved and start uncovering the truth. I live in the capitol of scandal and drama, and eventually, the right heads roll (even though it's not very fun while the wrong heads are rolling.)

    Good luck, I hope everything gets better for you soon.
     
  33. Beth561

    Beth561 Comrade

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    Mar 28, 2008

    Dear Becky,
    My first thought is that you are teaching in my school-I have experienced everything that you wrote about and so have many of my co-workers. I teach remedial reading to low level middle schoolers who obviously have behavioral issues as well. I have one student that is soo extremely defiant that I don't how he is going to be a productive part of society. This 7th grade boy actually took body waste from the bathroom and smeared it on the walls in the hallway! He did get suspended for that but most of the time, our administration acts exactly like yours. Fortunately for me, his parents are as appalled at his behavior as the rest of us, so I call his father every time he acts up- and I mean that I call his father during class and have him talk to his son. That gets the kid back under control. But, another parent told me that there is nothing more that she can do-her daughter says I pick on her and the mother said that she feels bad for her daughter. After that I decided to throw in the towel and not demand too much from her. She is not as disruptive as she used to be-but she is not learning anything either. You may want to try to give the kids a test every day; as soon as they walk in, hand them the test and make sure that there is a lot of reading involved so that they have to be quiet. I think that grades are very important to them and if you make them work every minute and grade everything they do every day, you may see a change in their behavior.
    I could go on and on describing the similarities between our schools but this reply is getting really long. Please let me know how things go for you next week.Oh, one more thing-keep in mind the people in your life that love you-I think of my husband and kids and that empowers me during the day when I am dealing with some of these rude children.
     
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2008
  34. LionGate5

    LionGate5 Rookie

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    Apr 1, 2008

    Here is what I think you should do.

    Next time something happens get him alone, preferably after school. Ask him frankly and compassionately why he thinks your a joke.

    Respond with: "Here's what I see in you. I see a young man with enough potential to do anything he wishes in life. (go on if he is smart say it, tell him he has potential to have highest grade in class. The important thing is to be sincere) Leave akward silence for about 4 seconds.

    The other teachers think you are a lost cause. They think i should give up on you. I dont want to. Why do you try to hurt me, when I'm the one trying to help you?"

    He will respond with he's not trying to hurt you etc.

    Cheers,

    let me know how it goes.
     

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