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Ball Three's Message:

I enjoy your posts. I've endured my share of disrespect, and I'm certainly no
master of classroom management, but I do have a couple of suggestions about
the situation you've described.

First, as a police officer I was taught it's okay for a cop to accept a little polite
argument from someone he's addressing, even with bystanders around. But
there's ZERO tolerance for heckling from bystanders, because once that gets
started, the cop has lost control, and may get his butt stomped into the sidewalk
by the crowd. In your case, the second heckler was likewise emboldened, and
piled on.

The situation you describe is outrageous. This was not someone sticking up for
himself; this was someone STARTING a confrontation with you for no reason, and
ENDING the help his classmate had requested. I'd have sent the first heckler to
the office immediately, to send a message to him and the rest of the class.

Second, Dr. Fred Jones, in his excellent book on classroom management "Tools for Teaching, says the best response to a single student talking back is SILENCE. That leaves the student arguing with himself. If the student is also refusing to follow directions, of course, that can be dealt with separately.

Subbing in MS is tough; sort of like being a policeman in a town with no jail.

Good luck!

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Discussion Review (newest messages first)
Ball Three 12-03-2009 07:50 PM

I enjoy your posts. I've endured my share of disrespect, and I'm certainly no
master of classroom management, but I do have a couple of suggestions about
the situation you've described.

First, as a police officer I was taught it's okay for a cop to accept a little polite
argument from someone he's addressing, even with bystanders around. But
there's ZERO tolerance for heckling from bystanders, because once that gets
started, the cop has lost control, and may get his butt stomped into the sidewalk
by the crowd. In your case, the second heckler was likewise emboldened, and
piled on.

The situation you describe is outrageous. This was not someone sticking up for
himself; this was someone STARTING a confrontation with you for no reason, and
ENDING the help his classmate had requested. I'd have sent the first heckler to
the office immediately, to send a message to him and the rest of the class.

Second, Dr. Fred Jones, in his excellent book on classroom management "Tools for Teaching, says the best response to a single student talking back is SILENCE. That leaves the student arguing with himself. If the student is also refusing to follow directions, of course, that can be dealt with separately.

Subbing in MS is tough; sort of like being a policeman in a town with no jail.

Good luck!

yoohoo 12-01-2009 07:21 PM

I can feel all your frustrations about the lack of empathy and respect teachers and human beings get from the kids... Here's my 2 cents:

I was subbing in a MS today, 8th grade, and I was talking to a student because she asked me to help her with a question, I'm standing by her desk and talking all of the sudden from behind me I hear "Well, she didn't need to ask you that!!! so I ignore the response and go on to help the student.

again, another response from behind my back, "oh you didn't need to do that blah blah blah!!!!"

this time I turned to the person behind me and said to him, "Am I talkkng to you?"
students response: "No, I wasn't talking to you either I was talking to her."
my response: "Well, thank you very much but you need to work on your own paper."
student's response:"I was and I heard that blah blah blah..."
my response (at this time I'm poed at this student): "do you talk to your parents this way?
his response, "Yeah!"
my response: "Well, I'm NOT your mom, I'm NOT your dad, I'm not related to you and I DON"T need your backtalk."

We have to stick up for ourselves; or they will see us as weak

Kataqueens 12-01-2009 06:57 PM

I could really care less about whether or not students are texting or listening to music during class, but I have to remain vigilant in case an A.P. or other administrator visits the room. But then again, if the school allows students to roam the hallways, I doubt anyone would cry boo if they saw me in a class full of students on their Sidekicks. Or would they?

Most days, I surrender to the fact that I'm only there for a paycheck, and know that I can only truly make a difference once I have my own classroom.

I've already decided that I would rather teach on the MS level; section sheets and homeroom teachers keep the students accountable for their actions, and as one of you pointed out, middle schoolers are not as indifferent to their education. Middle schoolers are also friendlier; I am greeted and bid farewell as they enter and leave the classroom; not one H.S. student acknowledged me unless they needed help or wanted to talk back to me. It's depressing being in a school where apathy rules the hallways and empty classrooms.

Augustus 12-01-2009 06:15 PM

about half the time this describes the schools I go into, more or less. Not so much lack of lesson plans, just students who don't care. Take the seventh graders last week. I pass out the math worksheet the teacher left and go over the first four problems with the kids. It is a job to keep them focused. Sent one boy out. Four or so of his buddies want to go with him. Today I keep them. At the end of the period they leave and half the worksheets are on the floor. Often if I send someone out he will be sent back before the end of the period. Same district, but in HS. Kids come into the room to talk to friends or "cousins" ( not cousin at all but girlfriend). Few sit where they belong, if they belong anywhere. You want to really watch your belongings in this high school. You have to be very careful to not challenge some kid in this school, they will react and not in a way you want.
Scores posted on wall show half are failing or getting "D"s. Grades are monkeyed with for the high performing athletes. School pats itself on the back for a job well done. Even puts out notices to the paper on how well it is doing.
Why do I go there and how do I manage? It is easy if you just go with the flow. Don't rock the boat. One teacher there told me to just get through the day and don't sweat it. I don't. And I don't blame the teachers or the principal. I blame the parents. But everyone is playing the game.

Kataqueens 12-01-2009 01:48 PM

I don't know about being on their preferred list, but when I contacted them last week about it, I was told that the school is using only ATR's (absent teacher reserve) teachers who are on the city payroll as full-time teachers, but have lost their jobs due to school closures. I guess the only reason I was called yesterday morning was due to their unavailability. (?) In other words, I highly doubt they'll call me unless it so happens that all of them will be unavailable again.

Rowe 12-01-2009 11:57 AM

This is truly a sad story and example of too many American schools in which the expectations for students are too low and whatever is taking place inside and outside the school is not being addressed. It's also the reason why I only substitute at the elementary-school level. I think it's easier to keep young children productive than it is to keep older children productive. You cannot fool older students. It quickly becomes apparent to them when a teacher is not prepared, and it seems they are less likely to do what an adult asks them to do simply because an adult asks them to do it. The reverence and fear of adults seems to wane as children grow older.

Would you be willing to not return to this school, and possibly have the school's administrative staff take you off their preferred sub list? You can ask them to do this, you know. And if someone asks why, be upfront and tell them about your experiences at the school. And don't hold back. Maybe if enough subsitututes tell the principal and the admininstrative staff about their experiences, the school will muster up enough nerve to do something drastic about it.

After substituting at a local school that was beyond disgusting in terms of the school's condition, I spoke with the school's principal. I told the school's principal in person that the children who attend this school deserve a much better place to learn. At the end of the day, I even told the school's administrative staff to take me off of their preferred sub list, and I gave them the reasons why I was making that request. I don't return to schools that are going to be unpleasant working experiences for me, especially considering the hilarious pay that substitutes receive. I mean - as substitutes, we should at least like the school and children we're teaching. What else is there?

Kataqueens 12-01-2009 06:10 AM

One more thing: the school's graduation rate is 45%, so the teachers have given up on the kids. I didn't go home feeling like an incompetent sub/teacher, because none of the actions that took place were my fault. The teachers dispel their misery onto the students, so by the time they get to my class, they're so frustrated that they don't even care if you're understanding to their needs. By the time 10th period rolled around, I bargained with them; I said if they did they quiz quietly, they could listen to their iPods. Most of them took me up on my offer and told me that they appreciated the gesture.

Kataqueens 12-01-2009 06:04 AM

As some of you remember from the thread I started about having an assignment cancelled and getting a direct call from a HS I subbed at a lot this year: I regret calling the HS back and telling them I was available!

I subbed for a Spanish teacher, and her emergency lesson plan consisted of a Spanish quiz for all 5 of her classes. Not only were the quiz instructions ambiguous, but this teacher gave them a quiz and a test the week before, and they were not having it!

In the first class, 3 of the 35 students completed the quiz. As the day wore on, the number of students who took the quiz increased, but the number of students in each class also dwindled. I tried explaining the instructions to the best of my ability to individual students, but most of them were plugged in one way or another. If I told a girl to put away her cell phone, she had it out a minute later. And forget calling one of the handy numbers that was given to me! During 10th period, one of the wild boys started hitting his friend in the head; I immediately went for the phones to call security. Within a minute, two security guards came to the door; one peered in with a big smile on his face and asked the boy "why did you hit him?" After the boy said he didn't do nuthin, the guards walked away!

The entire day, students wandered in and out of my classroom, are where were the hall duty monitors/teacher/security? I mentioned all of this in my notes to the teacher, but I doubt she's going to do so much as laugh about it with the students. Indifferent staff=indifferent, rude students. It's a shame these teachers gave up on the kids.




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