What has happened to my class?! :(

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by DrivingPigeon, Feb 3, 2015.

  1. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2008
    Messages:
    4,212
    Likes Received:
    8

    Feb 3, 2015

    Today was probably one of the toughest days I've had all year. This group of 2nd graders as a whole is really difficult. They had a tough time splitting them up for this year, because there are so many behavior problems. I honestly have the best of the four classes overall. Prior to winter break, they were fairly well-behaved. I only had to contact parents a handful of times for behavior concerns. Some of the kids that I was warned were the toughest were actually behaving pretty well.

    Since returning from break on January 5th, however, everything has gone downhill. I don't know if it's cabin fever, the kids getting too comfortable, or what, but they have been just awful. I have written more majors and minors (our PBIS write-ups) in the past 4 weeks than I have in the first 4 months of school combined. Today I had one student steal property from another, and then lie about it. Another student, who is usually very well-behaved, kicked and punched someone at recess (playfully, but still). One girl, who is the most soft-spoken, sweetest little girl you'll ever meet, wrote an opinion piece about how much she hated another student in our class, and then lied and said someone else put it in her writing binder. :dizzy:

    I am getting so frustrated. I spent the entire month of January reviewing expectations, and working on transitions. For the past few weeks I have been giving little or no warnings, since they know the expectations. They receive a consequence, and I notify parents of the behavior. Many kids cry and seem visibly upset with getting in trouble, but they don't change.

    I guess I'm not really looking for answers, but has anyone else experienced this before? I'm honestly just shocked, because this is the time of year when things usually begin to fall into place, and my students are on their best behavior. I've never had a class that started out strong, and went crazy in January.
     
  2.  
  3. miss-m

    miss-m Devotee

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2014
    Messages:
    1,084
    Likes Received:
    509

    Feb 3, 2015

    This happened to me last year with my student teaching. Something about being gone for 2 weeks really freaks kids out and they go crazy when they come back.

    It sounds like you're handling it well though, even if the kids don't like it. It'll get better!
     
  4. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2011
    Messages:
    3,224
    Likes Received:
    147

    Feb 3, 2015

    Third quarter is always roughest for me. Part of it is the weather-there's just a lot of inconsistencies and changes. Part is the year just drags through those winter months. My kids usually come around in March, but I always see a slight dip in third quarter grades.
     
  5. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2014
    Messages:
    11,279
    Likes Received:
    2,807

    Feb 3, 2015

    Perhaps your students are visibly reminded every day that you will soon be leaving them in the hands of another. I don't know when you are due to exit and have your replacement take over, but my experience is that you can never be too sure the impact that imminent departure can have on students, whether they are 8 or 18. You stay the course, without doubt, but do consider that what you are talking about is not unlike some regressions experienced by older children within some families when a new brother or sister draws near. Unfortunately, as you get closer to your due date, your own emotions may also be on a roller coaster ride.

    My advice is to deal to the best of your abilities, give everyone a little benefit of the doubt, and know that some years are just like this. I bet they turn out great despite recent events!
     
  6. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2008
    Messages:
    4,212
    Likes Received:
    8

    Feb 3, 2015

    Yeah, that could be part of it. I'm due 4 weeks from today, so I just have to hang in for a little longer (thank God!). I think having a sub in the room may help. I think they need a change of scenery.
     
  7. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2010
    Messages:
    3,262
    Likes Received:
    748

    Feb 3, 2015

    Yes, although not this year. I have had years where the sharpest decline in behavior happens in January. Sounds like you are having one of those years. Not sure why this happens sometimes in January and early February...I just know it has been sometimes one of the tougher times of the year.
     
  8. Securis

    Securis Cohort

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2007
    Messages:
    695
    Likes Received:
    0

    Feb 3, 2015

    Nah, all the gifts are unwrapped and the behavior expectation to reward ratio has diminished.
     
  9. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Aficionado

    Joined:
    May 29, 2007
    Messages:
    3,061
    Likes Received:
    538

    Feb 4, 2015

    I always find this term to be the most tiring - for teachers and students. The excitement of Christmas has worn off and we are in a long, dark season. Being so far north we have very short hours of daylight. In fact unless I have recess duty, I don't actually see the sun. :dizzy:

    There are few interruptions so we work hard all day long. It's great for teaching and pulling out high interest units, but the kids are tired. Mine have been really scrappy this week. They are getting bored on the playground - we don't have much snow this year so there isn't much to do. I'm doing my best to keep juggling everything but we are all just cold and tired.
     
  10. ms.irene

    ms.irene Connoisseur

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2010
    Messages:
    1,564
    Likes Received:
    743

    Feb 4, 2015

    If it makes you feel any better, even the older kids have a tough time this year. I have started to get some a-t-t-i-t-u-d-e from kids who have been (mostly) great up to now. I think it's partly looking down a long, dark stretch of days without a break that makes them get squirrelly (and honestly, I feel it too some days!).
     
  11. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2010
    Messages:
    3,638
    Likes Received:
    1,936

    Feb 4, 2015

    This sounds like my class. I always had the "chatty" bunch of the grade, but they were otherwise very well behaved. January has been quite difficult with even my angels causing trouble.

    I guess I just say... hang in there!
     
  12. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2011
    Messages:
    5,770
    Likes Received:
    1,003

    Feb 4, 2015

    I'm not elementary, but I'm experiencing the same thing this year!

    I was AMAZED at how well behaved my class was this year.
    But this month, I have been noticing rather worrisome behaviors. It's not huge yet, just chatting when they shouldn't be, and rambunctious behavior in the halls, but I can tell it's getting worse.

    I came down hard on my first period class today, (and maybe it's something more to do with 8th graders) but they gave me such sour faces. I openly called one student out on it, asking her why she seemed so sullen lately.

    I also think that our 8th graders might be influenced by our 7th graders. The 7th graders this year are terrible. I wish I had them so I knew their names and could come down hard on them too, but I only ever see them at lunch and in the halls. It's hard for me to come down on them when I don't know their names.

    Anyway, some of them are hanging out with our 8th graders and worsening their behavior by egging them on.
     
  13. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2005
    Messages:
    14,057
    Likes Received:
    1,883

    Feb 4, 2015

    I have a great class this year, but they've been "off" the past couple of weeks. We're all experiencing a bad case of the winter blahs, so that's what I'm chalking it up to.
     
  14. TXTeacherW

    TXTeacherW Rookie

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2015
    Messages:
    18
    Likes Received:
    0

    Feb 14, 2015

    My class is very challenging right now as well.

    I received the worst sub note I've ever read (or written as a sub). It was shockingly embarrassing, and sadly completely believable. My ELA partner had them write letters to their parents (except for the EIGHT that were not "bad"). The letters all had to start with "Dear Mom & Dad, Today there was a sub in Mrs. W's room and I was extremely disrespectful. This is what I did: " and then the letter ended with a quote about self-discipline. The "good" list got an extra 45 min of a combo of computer time and outdoor recess. The next day I chatted with the "bad" ones while the "good" ones were out in the hallway playing with our class pet. I had to be extremely harsh and quite awful-- a teacher I never wanted to be. My kids knew this. I even became slightly emotional in front of them. They were all nearly in tears (some sobbing later about how awful they felt and they know they are wrong). It was dramatic for them, I think. I grouped together the eight desks for the "goods" and separated the rest of the "bads"...

    This is a group of individually sweet kids, but completely and over the top argumentative. I am able to squash things quickly, but some subs may not be prepared to. This was a reputable sub, and my class (generally speaking) lacks integrity and maturity-- therefore even the ones trying to argue for the "right side" create drama.

    I also did an entire day's lesson without the fun things I have every day -- songs, colorful welcome message, games, partner work.... They saw the difference and didn't like it-- but surprisingly I had the most participation I had in a while.

    When they ask for privileges-- "Can we hear the polygon song?" "Can we play with Buddy?" (our pet) "Can we work in partners?" I just tell them they have NOT earned any privileges today (or yet) and asking for privileges makes me want to say no. I tell them they still have a lot of trust to earn.

    I would have to be so harsh as to say "I feel like I have given EVERYONE ALL the info that's needed. NO QUESTIONS, NO COMMENTS, NO SUGGESTIONS. FIGURE IT OUT. GET STARTED." Not yelling, just firm-- because we WAY TOO OFTEN lose learning time with silly questions or questions that have been answered. I'm good with giving directions, checking with understanding of directions, having them repeat them, writing steps on board, etc. I just tell them at this point "figure it out, sink or swim".... So harsh, but so required at this point for this group.

    It was a rough week for me (I am the fun, firm, goofy teacher) and it was a rough week for them. They missed me, and I see a lot more respect from them and self-control. I feel it's not just them sucking up, either.

    I am a love and logic teacher, and my positive reinforcement techniques have almost always worked in the past-- unfortunately this group has been different. I have four kids with Individualized Behavior Plans, three AU kiddos, and that's just the beginning.

    For the record, I LOVE my kiddos-- every single one of them. They have just grown up with each other at the same school for years, so their "normal" is bickering, disrespect, etc... it's a contagious attitude.

    I'm working on it, I'm getting there, and I've been complimented by younger grade level teachers of the changes they see--- but we have a long way to go.
     

Share This Page

Members Online Now

  1. miss-m,
  2. astonmark
Total: 355 (members: 2, guests: 325, robots: 28)
test