Your Wonderful Advice Needed Please!!!

Discussion in 'Kindergarten' started by MissMaurie, Jun 20, 2008.

  1. MissMaurie

    MissMaurie Companion

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    Jun 20, 2008

    I had posted this in the Behavior Management section and didn't get any responses so I wanted to try the Kinder teachers...

    I just finished my first year of teaching Kindergarten at a Title I school and am determined that next year will be better. Other than the normal first year teacher problems, I dealt with students that had extreme emotional problems and students who physically hurt themselves, others, and myself during the day. I know that every class is different which is why I am optimistic about next year.

    However, I want to drastically change the way I manage my class because I never had a real plan last year and it showed. I have read Harry Wong's book and am planning on reading The First Six Weeks of School over the summer. From what I have seen, these books appear to be almost opposite in their theory.

    What direction should I go? What worked for you? I want my students to realize that I am in charge and have them respect me, but I want them to be a community and respect each other as well. We suffered in that department last year and my kids had no respect for each other.

    Sorry for the long post and thanks in advance!!!!
     
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  3. Master Pre-K

    Master Pre-K Virtuoso

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    Jun 20, 2008


    somewhere down the road, there was no control and...at that point, I would have been writing pages of notes. I can't allow myself to see others get hurt, or have somebody hurt me. If a sp. ed child does not have an aide, he will have some list of do's and don'ts, and I will not let him terrorize the room, and if the admin refuses to do anything...I have to move on.
     
  4. vannapk

    vannapk Groupie

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    Jun 21, 2008

    Hi: I also teach in a title 1, very low income/high ESL school so I know exactly where you're coming from. I work with many new, first year teachers every year and they all struggle with classroom management so know that you are not alone. Really good classroom management is a skill that you have to master with time and experience.

    I have a few resources that you might find helpful. The first is my page for new teachers. It's all about starting from day one by putting very solid routines and procedures into place. If the kids sense that you're not sure about the routines and procedures they're going to sense that and take advantage of you. If something doesn't work on the first try don't give up, keep trying and find way to make it better.

    The second is my classroom management page. There you will find info about how to introduce classroom rules on the first day of school. The biggest mistake I see new teachers make with introducing rules is that they only introduce them once and move on, expecting the kids to remember what each rule means and the consequence involved. But in reality that introduction sequence needs to be done every single day until the kids know the rules and consequences inside and out. Then they still need to be reviewed throughout the year periodically.

    Don't be afraid to act out the rules in front of the class, act silly and misbehave and have kids identify what you are doing that is wrong, ask them to tell you the consequence. These types of lessons are ones that will really stick with them. Once they've seen you act them out several times invite them to role play for the class, they love to see their friends "misbehave" :)

    My last piece of advice is self-reflection. I know it sounds corny and I used to think so too, but after 15 years in the classroom I have come to learn that self-reflection is really the key to successful teaching. Every time something doesn't work or turn out the way I expected I always self-reflect and think "What can I do differently next time?" or "What did I do wrong?". I never blame the children for my mistakes, that is one thing I see often as well. New teachers are quick to blame "bad kids" for their inexperience and are rarely willing to accept any blame. Those that are most successful are those who ask themselves "what did I do wrong and how can I fix it next time?"
    Best of luck to you!
     
  5. MissMaurie

    MissMaurie Companion

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    Jun 21, 2008

    I can definitely attest to the fact that the reason my students had no respect was that they saw how this student acted and that he was never really "punished" for it. When it first started, he was only aggressive towards inanimate objects. I had no problem with him releasing his anger and we talked about it as a class. But then he began directing it towards himself and I became worried. I set him up for counseling, discussed things with my principal, and requested parent conferences. Unfortunately, our counselor was not the right type of person to deal with this problem (babied too much). The parents never responded to my request for a conference the entire year. However, they did meet with my principal, but I was not informed that they did until the end of the year (that's another issue completely). As far as office help, I would send him to the office when he became out of control, but he had calmed down by that point and they just sent him back. Same thing when he began directing his anger towards myself and other adults. They suspended him several times, but he loved that and would try to get suspended. He would come back to school telling about all the fun things he did and the other kids thought it was great. Finally, I just quit sending him to the office and tried to keep him as calm as possible throughout the day. We had lots of class meetings about what the kids experienced and talked about the right and wrong ways to express our anger and frustration. Since I had no help, I wanted the kids to understand what was going on in their classroom. But it angered me so much that 21 kids were being robbed of their class time due to the antics of one. I know that I made mistakes in how I dealt with it at the beginning only because of my inexperience and shock at what was going on in front of me. I debated whether or not to find another school, but want so much to prove to myself that I can deal with these types of problems when they come up. Wow...that was long. Sorry!!!
     
  6. franny

    franny Rookie

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    Jun 21, 2008

    I agree with much that has been said already. There are two things I want to add in case they are helpful. I am a special ed teacher but have my own self-contained class. I started off the school year with a similar kind of student except he is cognitively impaired. He was excessively violent hitting me, my paras, my students, throwing furniture, tearing things off walls, etc. The advice I was given by a more experienced special ed teacher was to call the principal down to my class every time there was a problem (which was every 5 minutes) instead of just trying to deal with it myself. She said until I made it their problem, no help would be given and no change in placement would occur. It had to be an inconvenience for them, time out of their busy schedule to deal with an ongoing problem for any serious intervention to take place. As long as you keep trying to handle it, they're content to let it happen because it's of no consequence to them (unless of course parents of the other students start to complain which never happened in my case because none of my parents had any idea this was going on, my students were too cognitively impaired to share what was happening in class everyday). My second piece of advice is to document the situation to a ridiculous degree. I made a documentation sheet on which I listed all the possible behaviors with check boxes next to each one so I could quickly check off what happened. I made a place where I could record the time of day it occurred. I recorded every single incident. I had little sticky notes in my pocket I would put tally marks on to help me remember all the incidents when I was too busy to fill out a sheet. At the end of the day, I made sure every incident was recorded, even if they were only a minute apart, and then made copies for my principal, my school pschologist, and myself. Every morning, that was the first thing they would see in their boxes, a stack of documentation sheets. They have to keep that documentation on file and believe me it made an impact when the file became too thick and they had to start another one. Documenting the behaviors makes you look good- it does not imply you can't control your students.

    I know that doesn't address your question about classroom management as a whole, but if you ever get a kid like that again, hopefull my advice will help you out.
     
  7. Silmarienne

    Silmarienne Cohort

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    Jun 23, 2008

    Excellent advice, but my $.02 is that you MUST have a plan in place at the beginning of the year. Lee Canters Assertive discipline (I know, the apostrophe on my keyboard isnt working!) really helped me. One of his statements is to the effect that, YOU have the right to teach, and children to learn; no ones right to disrupt supercedes that; so they not you or the other children need to pay consequences for disruptive behavior.

    There is a pretty good article on assertive discipline here:
    http://maxweber.hunter.cuny.edu/pub/eres/EDSPC715_MCINTYRE/AssertiveDiscipline.html

    Here is the easy steps to start:
    1. Establish behavior rules for your classroom. (I.e., Keep hands, feet, and objects to yourself, etc.)
    2. Determine disciplinary consequences (first time name on board, second time time out, 3rd time no recess, or whatever)
    3. Determine positive reinforcement (praise, privileges, etc. BUT you have to be careful with this with Ks, I find once you give a reward there are some kids who will hound you for the same!)
    4. Present your discipline plan in writing to your administrator (I also send parents home a copy)
    5. Make a chart for the classroom (works well with cards, clips etc)

    Start DAY ONE with your rules. The harder you work on them at the beginning, the easier the rest of the year will be!! :)
     
  8. kimrandy1

    kimrandy1 Enthusiast

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    Jun 23, 2008

    I teach in a very high poverty/ high ESL Pre-K program. Start with the rules and focus only one the rules for the first week of school. Feel free to continue to talk about and model the rules every day for as long as needed. I know this sounds silly, but I model every single thing I expect in my classroom...I even show them how I expect them to use the blocks in the block area. I figure that I can't hold them responsible for knowing proper behavior unless I've showed them. The first day of school, we talk about how to sit in the circle, I model, we practice. We talk about how to use the blocks, the house set, the books, etc. Then, for the next couple of days, we model different centers and rules and routines until we've talked about the entire room. I only give them a small amount of the centers to start with, and add more later in the month. Each time I add a center, I sit the class down and model the expected behaviors again.

    I'd bet that with the one kid you're describing, if he doesn't change a lot as his experience with school increases, he's going to need pyschological evals. sooner or later.
    Kim
     

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