What am I doing wrong?

Discussion in 'Elementary Education Archives' started by MissaG, Jan 20, 2007.

  1. MissaG

    MissaG Companion

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    Jan 20, 2007

    I have posted before about being miserable with my fifth grade student's behavior/disrespect. It isn't just their behavior either, the quality of their work is unacceptable. I almost feel as if somewhere along the lines, they were allowed to not turn in work or turn in poor quality work and still receive decent grades.

    Well, I just finished averaging grades and after dropping the lowest grade for each student, half of the class is failing my classes.

    But a couple are getting A's and the sixth graders are doing well (except a couple who refuse to do anything).

    The second quarter consisted of learning about the differences between fiction and nonfiction, writing in the expository domain, and we read the novel, Loser, by Jerry Spinelli. The kids enjoyed to book and could discuss it in class, but their grades are extremely low on a whole.

    They have assessments every nine weeks by the county and their reading test scores averaged 55% for the class.

    I feel like I bust my butt to plan lessons that meet their needs. I cannot do any kind of guided reading groups because no matter what I do, how many times I discuss the procedures and rules for this time, the classroom is literally a circus and nothing gets done.

    I can't help but feel like this is a reflection on me, but when I keep going over it in my mind, I come to the conclusion that I have reasonable expectations and there has got to be something else that I can do.

    Parents, on a whole, don't care, they don't respond to notes, phone calls, etc... They only seem to care when report cards come out and they are ready to come in and point blame. I am absolutely depressed, annoyed, and unhappy with the current situation.
     
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  3. ChristyF

    ChristyF Moderator

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    Jan 21, 2007

    MissaG, I feel your pain. First know that it's not you. Kids come through in cycles. One year you'll have an amazingly strong group and one year you'll have a class like you have now. For your own protection, document everything, including your request for parent meetings. Have you sat the kids who are failing down to tell them they are failing? Sometimes knowing is enough inspiration for them to get their acts together. As far as the discipline goes, I've been there, too. Some classes I can do group work and never have a problem (like the group I have this year), and others, we sit in rows and work individually because there is no way group work is going to happen. Just be fair, but firm. Set a line of rules and consequences and stick to them.
    Also, find some way for you to take at least a day and forget about school. You are going to push yourself to the burnout point at the rate you are going and then you won't be able to help anyone. Go for a walk, read a good book, watch a good movie, something to get your mind on something else for a while.
    I had a group 2 years ago that was very similar to the one you describe. That was the last year I taught 4th (state mandated testing). They were terribly weak and couldn't work together to save their lives. I went in one day and told them they were going to pass even if I had to drag them kicking and screaming. I stopped most of the extra things I did for fun (lots of the hands on, music, etc) and we were nose the grindstone. I don't know how much difference it made in the kids, but it made a lot for me. I knew I was doing everything I could, and if they didn't make it, they were choosing not to.
    Good luck!!!
     
  4. Fishgal

    Fishgal New Member

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    Jan 21, 2007

    Is their another teacher on sight that can give you a hand with reading groups to begin with? Another teacher did this with me in my first year and it was very helpful. She focussed on the other children while I took the reading group for the first couple of lessons.

    It may be a bigger problem than just your classroom? If their is a culture of disruptive behaviour and students have been getting away with this for a couple of years you have a cycle to break. Could you make the tasks a little easier to begin with for the writing tasks. I found with some of my poorer achievers their self confidence with their reading was so low that that they chose to save face and not complete the activity than give it a go.


    Remember how your children achieve in the county test is not just a reflection on your teaching but the teaching that the children in your class have had up until this point and the childrens own attitudes to learning. You cant blame yourself!
     
  5. abby1966

    abby1966 Rookie

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    Jan 21, 2007

    I know exactly how you feel. It's so discouraging!! My kids are exactly the same way. I don't know what else to do. Any suggestions?
     
  6. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    Jan 21, 2007

    You could also try giving an extra credit assignment. Those who really do care enough will make the effort. You can make it semi-time consuming but don't make it overly difficult. The kids who hae low self esteem and abilities sould be able to complete the assignment if they care enough. Then you've given them another chance (and the admin can't argue with that).
     

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