you lost my paper!

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by Kenz501, Dec 2, 2017.

  1. Kenz501

    Kenz501 Cohort

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    I teach seventh grade, and this is a complaint I hear quite often from students who don't turn things in, don't put their names on it, or turn things in to the wrong place. It's my first year teaching at a junior high school, and I don't want to put up with extra reasons for anyone to think I'm an incompetent educator. Unfortunately, though, I'm a little disorganized and have trouble multitasking, so this is something I guess the kids think they can get away with pretty easily.

    The students have designated binders that they keep in the classroom at all times. I was wondering if it would be too lazy of me just to have the students transfer their homework into their binders instead of turn it in and then just let me come around and check the binders every day or every other day. That way, the paper will never leave the student's binder, and it will only mean that I have to stay after school an additional hour or so getting everything graded. Plus, I get the added benefit of helping my students stay organized. What do you think?

    I guess that's a terrible strategy for this age group, as it teaches them that they can be lazy and get away with it, but right now it feels like if a student loses a paper, the responsibility ends up falling back on me, anyway. They know I'll give them extensions, print out new worksheets, and basically do what I can to help them catch up, and I just want to stop this. I'm disorganized enough and have had to make major adjustments just to effectively do this job. Expecting me to help a thirteen year-old get organized is just not a good expectation to have when I'm still struggling to get myself organized.
     
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2017
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  3. Kenz501

    Kenz501 Cohort

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    Speaking of getting organized, I also have trouble taking roll in enough time to accurately mark tardy students. It's not easy for me to greet students at the door, hand them their morning work, and make sure backpacks are put away properly, while making sure everyone is in my classroom on time, as my students only get five minutes of transition time.

    I guess I could start putting their names on their morning work and that way I would have a visual reminder of who is not in the room once they all sit down, but that might again be a way of teaching them to be lazy.
     
  4. CherryOak

    CherryOak Companion

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    There are lots of options out there and yes, shifting things to students can be helpful for you both. The binders idea, while harder to check, could help you not lose papers. Plus, it would give them a easy way to review their homework collectively. You can consider a folder for each student to pick up upon entry and leave upon exit. You'd be free to focus on the students. You get a quick visual way to check attendance, you can put all the paperwork to be passed out - saving precious time. You could have them turn in their papers within it. But, that requires loading them with papers and unloading them. One turn-in option I've seen was each paper had a folder with a class roster stapled to it up front. Not only were students required to put theirs in it, but they also should highlight or mark their name on the list. They're all in one location and the exterior has a quick way to identify the missing ones. Bonus points given for making them put them in number/alpha order. I'd love to hear other ideas!
     
  5. vickilyn

    vickilyn Magnifico

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    Dec 2, 2017

    Literally make yourself a sign. If attendance is taken via computer, tack it to the screen. If it is paper, attach it to the board, or desk, or counter you work off of most frequently, where you will see it at the beginning of class. Have cups with tongue depressors at the door. They all start in the A cup (absent), and the students are responsible for moving them to the P cup (present) as they walk in the door. Make one reliable student, and a backup, responsible for bringing the sticks still in the A cup to you at the start of class. You have to do whatever is necessary to make this important and routine. Simply check that any sticks in your hand match up with the kids in front of you If someone forgot to move the stick, call them out on it and let them know they were about to me marked absent. The kids will be doing most of the work, and you will be reminded to send in attendance when the sticks are delivered to you. I would, in your situation, go so far as adding one more stick painted red that simply screams attendance. If it comes up alone, all are there. Either way, with student sticks or alone, you will get the reminder, while teaching your students some valuable lessons on expectations. FWIW, admin gets really pissed if you continue to mess this up, so you need to make it a priority.
     
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  6. Kenz501

    Kenz501 Cohort

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    The sixth grade teacher on my hall had them last year, and she is extremely organized. Her classroom may look like an ad on Pinterest. She's helped me with a little organization, but I don't want to look incompetent by asking for too much help. Disorganization isn't a good trait to have, after all, and there are some things I'm just expected to already know. I guess that's one good use of the internet. I really do wish she would help me more, though. If my classroom ran more like hers, maybe they would more easily follow the routines in place. I just think that they won't respond to some of the things I institute and will use them to take advantage of me.

    I guess I'm just a little paranoid. My first full-time job was at a youth center, and the kids there were rough.
     
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2017
  7. MsMar

    MsMar Fanatic

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    I teach 6th grade and in regards to turning stuff in, I have in-bins for each period and all work is placed in the in-bin. No name papers get put on the back board until claimed. And as far as the "But I KNOW I turned it in" statement I just calmly respond with, "I graded every paper that was put into the in-bin. If you didn't get a grade it means you didn't turn it into your in-bin. You can also check the "no name" spot on the board," and then I don't give it any more thought. I can also add that after I'm insistent that they didn't turn it in, if I go with them to their binder and watch them flip through it, there's a super high amount of time that it's in their binder. Which usually results in a "Oh, I really thought I turned that in."
     
  8. vickilyn

    vickilyn Magnifico

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    People are more prone to help if it is an exchange of ideas, not a one sided take, with nothing in return. Don't know if that is appropriate in your case, but I have worked with someone who expected me to do all the heavy lifting, with the remarks about how she wasn't any good at virtually anything asked of her. And she said that to anyone, any content, who would help. We stopped and decided to let her sink or swim.

    I guess I should add that she never learned to "swim". New job, working elsewhere.
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2017
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  9. Kenz501

    Kenz501 Cohort

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    I don't know how to express this to any of my co-workers, but I would be willing to become a free part-time assistant if someone would just help me build some confidence. I feel like I can't teach. It's a learned skill that I haven't really been taught. This is a big deal to me.
     
  10. Always__Learning

    Always__Learning Comrade

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    Ken,

    It isn't your colleagues' job to teach you how to teach or how to be organized. You were hired and are being paid to teach. When I was in high school, I decided to attend an extra year because I wasn't ready for college. I just didn't feel ready. I do think we have to take responsibility for our own decisions. You could have worked as a supply teacher for a time or taken a job as an aide to get more experience. You chose to apply and accept a teaching job. So the teachers you are working with expect you to be able to teach. They probably aren't looking for a free part-time assistant. They want a colleague.

    In terms of the lost paper issue, if you have lost a few papers your students are going to use this, so you need a better system. I would suggest having something like an envelope. Take in all assignments when they are due. Seal the envelope. Once the day is over and the kids are gone open the envelope and mark off (against your class list) every assignment that was handed in. Mark the assignments. For each student without an assignment, have a standard sheet to hand back to them that says: x assignment wasn't handed in. For each student who handed it in, hand it back. Do that 10 times and kids will get that you aren't losing assignments anymore and the accusations will stop.
     
  11. Kenz501

    Kenz501 Cohort

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    I have worked as a sub already; it didn't really teach me anything about being a teacher. I've also worked at a youth center with troubled kids. It was rough, but it still didn't teach anything about actually teaching. Someone else did everything for me, and, yeah, the kids complained about me, but I managed to keep my job. I took this new job, the one I'm at now, because I was getting tired of being accused of stupid things by juvenile delinquents. This job is a lot better than that, but I do feel like I don't really know how to do it. I'm also pretty sure no one will teach me how. Believe me, I've tried to get experience through subbing and student teaching, but it's not the same when you have your own classroom; it's really not.

    Plus, I've heard that my problems aren't that different than what other new teachers face. I just feel like maybe ASD is playing a role in me not catching on quickly enough, and, yeah, I know no one has the responsibility to help me, but even though no one is to blame it still isn't fair. I tried to get the needed training after all. I still have student loan debt, and, well, I'm not getting any younger.
     
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2017
  12. Kenz501

    Kenz501 Cohort

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    I also think you are wrong. Any job is willing to train the new person. It may not be the responsibility of my colleagues to provide extra support, but there's probably someone who helps the new teacher acclimate. If what you were saying were true, no one would ever become a professional except for the people who already have experience, and you can only get experience by having the job.
     
  13. Always__Learning

    Always__Learning Comrade

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    Just to clarify, I wasn't suggesting that no one will help a new teacher. I think most teachers are very willing to help new teachers but it sounds like you are asking for more support than is reasonable. And yes many schools have coaches to work with new teachers, but this is a job where you are assumed competent and engaged in ongoing learning as a new teacher. There isn't one "way" to teach so you aren't going to have someone walk you through how to do everything. That just isn't how professions work. I'm also just sharing my perspective. I'm not claiming to be "right" so I don't think it is necessary to say I'm "wrong."

    As a new teacher, I needed help with a lot of things. My mentor was taking a course that she was probably going to fail because she didn't know how to work assignments in the "new" way. So I worked with her on her course and she helped me figure out things like: parent phone calls, tracking homework and creating engaging lessons.

    I'm honestly surprised that supply teaching taught you nothing. I learned a ton supply teaching. I got to see how tons of different teachers ran their classrooms. I got to ask teachers questions about why they did things a particular way. I got to figure out a lot about how I would set up my classroom before I got to that point. I also got to make lots of mistakes as a supply that had me better prepared for my classroom. For example, I made many errors in judgement in terms of how to manage student behaviour. The result was that when I started teaching my own class my kids saw me as capable because I knew how to do a lot of things the right way. For example, the first day of teaching 2 kids played a trick on me. I caught them in the act and called the VP to come get them. The result was the kids decided I was both fair and not easily fooled. My ability to handle that situation totally was based in having supply taught.

    I would say we learn to teach by doing - in student teaching, in supply teaching, in support roles and in our own classrooms. So I agree with AlwaysAttend that if your own mental health is at risk, seek help. If you feel strong enough to continue teaching, you have to figure out what your big issues in class are and develop a plan to start addressing them. You have to break this down. You can't just say no one will teach me how. You have to say, these are the things I'm struggling with, these are the things I'm going to try. And if you want help figuring out what to focus on, lots of people here will be happy to help you brainstorm what might be worth trying.
     
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  14. Kenz501

    Kenz501 Cohort

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    Well, I wasn't a long-term sub. I could never find openings for that in my state. I just took daily substitute teaching jobs and worked as an "emergency substitute teacher," but I did that for about two years before I started working at the youth center. No, I didn't know what to do. Administration said they appreciated me coming in, but very seldom did anyone take enough trouble to show me their classroom management plan or anything. The kids took it as a free day, usually, and it was a pretty big blow to my self-esteem. I honestly think the kids would have been better behaved without me in the room; that was how bad it was, but I stuck with it, because I wanted to become a full-time teacher.
     
  15. Always__Learning

    Always__Learning Comrade

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    I am talking about day to day subbing in my examples. No one 'showed me their classroom management plan.' However, as someone who wanted to learn, I was always kind to everyone I encountered in the building and worked to build connections with people. If I'd been in someone's class and noticed an interesting organizational structure, when I was in again for another teacher I'd ask if they had 2 minutes and would ask them to explain how they used the structure in their class. When I was supplying, I was observant. I'd look at how teachers set up their classroom and think about how I might apply it. I also used the opportunity to learn how to manage a classroom on my own. As a supply teacher I didn't get to really build my planning skills but I really got to work on classroom management as that really is 90% of what supply teachers do - manage a classroom - so honestly I can only remember one class in my time as a supply where I really felt ineffective - I wasn't perfect but I built my skills. I think really that's my point - as professionals it is our job to identify what we need, seek out what we need and continue to build our skills. So if you want to do that, this board would be a great place to start.
     
  16. Kenz501

    Kenz501 Cohort

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    I asked questions, too, but the answers were unsatisfactory. One teacher even used me as an ear to complain to about some unrelated personal problem, and I always got to hear the gossip about the administrators and how unfair they were being to the teachers.

    The job I have now is the only fair teaching experience I've ever had in my life, I think. I'm no longer in a dog-eat-dog system that chews up the weak and spits them out. It's refreshing, but it's disappointing that maybe I've waited too late to learn what I need to know to really be an effective teacher. I mean, where was I supposed to learn it? I went to school. I did student teaching. I did substitute teaching.
     

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