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if you let the chips fall where thay may?

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Discussion Review (newest messages first)
Summerwillcom 11-11-2019 10:56 AM

is right on! I taught 3/4 for almost 30 yrs. To me, they were the best grades, but everyone has their own preference, I know.
If they could not find the paper I found 1 that they could copy. I explained nicely that it was my last 1 and that we needed to conserve paper.
They'd have to copy the entire worksheet onto lined paper if they lost theirs.
It works! At first a kid might not find their paper, but they learned to keep track of things better. Also, it did help some "look for it much quicker."
I am sorry your year is going so bad!
Sometimes kids like that do better when you tell them this needs to be done and then you can ______. ( something they really like to do, maybe a computer game or fun extension activity. Then make sure some are successful at first which may take a bit of "enabling".)
I have had to restart years before like that when I had lazy kids. Some will step up. Then you can have some role models. I think 99% of these types of problems have to do w/ lazy parents and admin who don't believe kids should have any consequence.

Lakeside 11-11-2019 04:26 AM

We did these" All About My City, MY Family, and My Community" books in my class. About half the kids needed me to tell them their address and how to spell their street, and 6 kind DIDNT KNOW THEIR OWN MIDDLE NAMES-they asked me to look them up and spell them for them.
Yikes!! Both of my districts work on address (spoken, not written) with preschoolers!

Apple annie, great idea about copying the worksheets!

And amen to Violets2 and seenthelight about the expectations! This:
Kids are not learning the life and social skills they need to be successful in the lower grades because academics are being shoved down their throats as fast as possible.
is so true! (And I like the phrase "customer service culture" too - it describes the state of things perfectly.)
seenthelight 11-10-2019 08:49 PM

We had to know our full name, address including city, state, and zip code, as well as our full phone number in first grade.

I think the problem has a lot of causes, but the big three to me are:

1. Developmentally inappropriate curriculums - Kids are not learning the life and social skills they need to be successful in the lower grades because academics are being shoved down their throats as fast as possible.

2. Customer service culture - Schools are now operating like businesses. Parents are ruling the school and admin backs them up. I recently had a conversation with someone in which I explained that customer service is fine and dandy, but the parents are not our customers, their children are the true “customers.” My job should not be to please parents. It is to do right by children. Billy keeps getting A’s to keep Mommy and Daddy happy even though he can’t read. Then everyone is shocked when Billy is still reading at a first grade level in high school.

3. Teachers - Yes, teachers. I know far too many teachers that play the political game. They keep handing out those A’s for little to no work. It keeps the parents happy and makes those teachers very popular. Then the kids get to a tested grade level and it all falls apart. We can’t ignore the fact that Billy can’t read because Billy has to take the test at the end of the year. Problem? Billy has never actually had to do any work at school, and Billy’s parents are in a tizzy because, “Billy’s never had any problems before getting to your class.” Which brings in to play #2 above when they go complaining to admin.

Kinder doesn’t have these issues because neither the kids nor the parents have yet been conditioned by the school system. You get a blank slate to train your way.

apple annie 11-10-2019 07:45 PM

I remember when I was in second grade (fifty years ago) every student in my class had to recite their phone number and full address and parents’ names.

I could have written the original post in this thread. Here’s one tiny thing I do that sometimes works for ONE of the many issues listed. When I have kids that say they can’t find their worksheet, I give them a piece of loose leaf paper and tell them start copying the questions/problems/paragraphs. Amazingly they almost always find the “lost” worksheet that they were too lazy to actually look for. And if they DID actually lose it, well, having to copy will help them remember to keep up with their stuff. I don’t hand out extra copies anymore.

Kinderkr4zy 11-10-2019 02:46 PM

Now, not being able to spell your last name and you're 8? No. Not knowing your birthday and you're 8? No. That's laziness on the part of those at home.
Oh yes, this! We did these" All About My City, MY Family, and My Community" books in my class. About half the kids needed me to tell them their address and how to spell their street, and 6 kind DIDNT KNOW THEIR OWN MIDDLE NAMES-they asked me to look them up and spell them for them.
Violets2 11-10-2019 10:02 AM

I wonder if this is another consequence of having "high expectations"? Meaning, let's move the curriculum down a grade level because our American students are so far behind! What was once taught in grades above us, are now in our grades. No wonder these students can't be independent, curriculum is often written for students a year older than them I feel it's a type of learned helplessness because they truly can't do some of this work yet, developmentally. I feel I too am spoon feeding most of the required curriculum and doing it with them because they have no clue how to do some of it yet.

Now, not being able to spell your last name and you're 8? No. Not knowing your birthday and you're 8? No. That's laziness on the part of those at home.

Summerwillcom 11-09-2019 09:31 AM

It brought up a sick feeling in me about parents and the educational system. I am so sorry you are in the trenches like you are. When I look and see what has happened to kids because of the lack of consequences and helicopter parents, it makes me sick.
Last yr, I had a class that was the 2nd to the worst in 30 yrs. Over 1/2 were diagnosed w/serious emotional problems. I am not a sped teacher. Parents were all enablers except 2. I am doing something different this yr
I love kids, but I will not enable them IF I can help it. Enabling has been 1 of my biggest gripes over the past 10 yrs. P's, parents, and even some teachers think we are being "kind" by doing everything FOR them. Repeating directions 100x, sitting by them step by step to make sure every problem is right, never letting them feel a consequence for their actions, or feel embarrassed because what they did was wrong. Feelings are needed for kids to grow into healthy adults. They need to develop empathy for others.. ( Just as bad, tear the practice you'd expect into 4ths and only have them do that because they are unhappy having to do 12 questions. Yeah, that was what I was told to do..) I had to in some ways last yr because of major pressure .
I understand being stuck between a rock and a hard place as you are describing. It is so frustrating knowing you have no choice, but to enable if you need a paycheck and do not feel like dealing w/ what has become of this system, lack of parenting, and society as a whole. We have to be careful not to buy into the system and teach kids the wrong things. I know it is almost impossible in some schools.
Since you never had this problem in K, which is shocking to me, I'd try to move back to K. Better yet start thinking about other options. I never really thought I had an option, or much of 1, before last yr. If you have to work in those conditions, take nothing personally if you can.
I'd like to say never enable, but was forced to in order to survive sometimes last yr. I still though have never tied a dirty shoe lace for any kid other than my own when they were young. I was always willing to teach the kids how to do it. I guess that was my bottom line! Good luck and I hope things get better for you!

annie_g 11-09-2019 09:20 AM

I'm retired now, but I saw more and more of this over my career. It got worse every year. 6th graders who cannot follow simple directions that have been explained, modeled, and written down for them. I truly believe kids have changed from being over indulged and too much time spent on screens.

teachnkids 11-09-2019 09:08 AM

. For example that year I have been asked to not ask students to stop talking and interrupting me when I am teaching because it hurts their feelings
WHAT??????? Get over it cupcake! Your boss in the real world is not going to just let you Yammer away instead of doing your job.

Third grade is a big transition year. They are used to being guided more in the lower grades, but by 3rd it's time to buckle up and get to work INDEPENDENTLY! I taught 3rd for several years. Some years that transition form 2nd to 3rd almost killed me or them

I'd be real consistent and reward those who do what's asked. Come up with some incentive that would be enticing to group as a whole and those who don't reach expectation don't get incentive.
Song of Joy 11-09-2019 08:55 AM

I had a year like this once and the parents were offended when I tried to enlist their help. The kids had zero intellectual persistence.

Since you can't take away specials, or probably recess, I would strip down the curriculum to the bare basics and offer some kind of really cool hands on project for the kids who finish early. Hopefully SOMEBODY will step up to the plate.

I feel your pain, though.

kitekrazy 11-09-2019 06:42 AM

How many other professions where people are trained to think "At what point am I contributing to the problem?"

Lakeside 11-09-2019 04:50 AM

I wish I knew what to tell you!

I firmly believe children are changing. Due to a lack of free play and useful contribution when they are very young, I think they are missing a window during which their brains used to get wired for achievement - for getting a good feeling from figuring things out and accomplishing things.

There are many reasons - safety fears, electronic entertainment, scheduled activities, changing family priorities...the list goes on. We are giving kids too much control over the wrong things, and not enough control over the right ones.

It's definitely not your fault! But like you, I don't know where to draw the line between "meeting them where they are" and trying to "re-wire" them with the skills they've missed.

Kinderkr4zy 11-08-2019 07:10 PM

Just to clarify I teach 3rd grade now-I never had issues getting kids to grow and improve when I taught K which is making me quite nostalgic to get back to early learning. I had a similar group with no work ethic and total apathy a few years ago in third and I guess I thought it was a fluke-I have since listened to the teachers each year complain about them and say they are the worst-so I was especially sure it was just a fluke...and then the same issues are back for round 2 this year. I taught little kiddos for 10 years and never saw apathy like this which is kind of making me want to leave third grade and go back to the little kids who actually WANT to learn.

Sbkangas5 11-08-2019 03:00 PM

I'm so sorry, and totally hear your frustration! As a K teacher, I feel that one of my most important jobs is teaching them how to be students and how to be independent.

I think in your shoes, when it's a whole class facing the same issue, I'd start over like day 1. Break things up into very small parts, but with the expectation that they function on their own. Even if that means "take the paper to your seat, put your name on it, and come back to the rug".

Under no circumstances would I stop asking kids to stop talking and interrupting. That is a part of the learning process. You wouldn't sit in a staff meeting and talk the whole time, and that behavior was learned at some point. Kinder is the start of learning these things.

I would come up with some whole class incentives. I find that when working on specific, class-wide behaviors then a whole class incentive gives that positive peer pressure that some need. Start small, in small increments with small rewards, and build.

Focus your praise and attention on effort and hard work, not on results. Maybe choose a specific behavior each day that you are going to look for and praise, or choose 2 or 3 students that you will give praise to each day.

I'm so sorry you are feeling so down about the year. I guarantee you that they are growing, just maybe not in the ways you have hoped. Don't lower your standards or accept less or they will know you have given up. It just might take a vastly different path to get there this year.

ConnieWI 11-08-2019 02:55 PM

Rewards for those who deserve it.

Consequences for those who do not. These consequences may include no recess, no free time, no computer time, head resting, time-out chair, whatever.

Life is full of rewards for doing the right things.

Life is full of consequences for doing the wrong thing and making poor choices.

Kinderkr4czy...Make sure your report card comments reflect a few things the child is doing well...but also reflect all the things the child is doing wrong and ways parents should be helping the child at home to become more independent and hard working. The parents need to see it in writing, and in the coming years, future teachers will appreciate that you addressed these needs in kindergarten.

happygal 11-08-2019 02:11 PM

Are you any part of the problem.

I suggest studying the Montessori method and employ it. This will lengthen their attention spans. I would nix any screen time.

I would offer more water and snack breaks.

I would teach in a low-key soft spoken manner. I would open a student store.

Once a week or once every week and a half choose the best behaved student to sit with you at your store. you then give this child undivided attention. Teach the others that they are to keep doing their jobs while you run your store

The kids earn your classroom dollars. Random reward system but keep detailed records on who got a buck, when, and why. I say this because too often some kids never get noticed doing something right. Use a clipboard and have a list of names ready.

On parents. ... they want to be seen and heard. Mostly just let them say their peace... look directly at them making great interested eye contact. Then ask clarifying questions. Never show defensiveness. Make sure to breathe deeply and have pleasant body language. Ask them to sit down. Offer coffee tea or water. Parents often look to their child's teacher as a guide. Rope them in to work in your room. You will gain instant respect when they experience running a center, etc.

Your job is not an easy one. This is why teachers really do rule.

Hang in there and be sure you are taking excellent care of your health. Body mind and spirit

We are here for you

Surly 11-08-2019 12:44 PM

From administrators to enable poor work ethic and short attention spans just to make their lives easier. I totally know what you mean about fear of getting in trouble for actually trying to hold kids accountable in ways that are in their best interest. It’s just something you get a sense of, and you’ve seen other people pay serious consequences for trying to get the most out of kids because doing so sometimes generates parent complaints. Administrators rarely come out and directly say to give all kids As and let them do whatever they want, but that is by far the smoothest approach to take. At least, that’s been my experience.

The fact that you are asking yourself that question shows you’re not part of that problem

Hawkeyegirl1 11-08-2019 10:44 AM

if you let the chips fall where thay may?

LuvsPixieDust 11-08-2019 10:01 AM

You must have read my mind. I do the same with my 6th grade computer classes. We are losing a lot of instructional time because of this. I am also getting SO interrupted while giving instructions that I I lose my train of thought. It is seriously like an emergency room triage without the blood!!!

321me123 11-08-2019 07:26 AM

I totally agree with you! When I feel this way, which is alot this year, I am told, this is a Title 1 school, parents are not vested in education, etc. etc. etc. I feel like I am teaching my OWN curriculu EVERYDAY! Listen to directions, homework is to be done at home! AND turned in!, put your name on papers, follow directions, if you don't listen you can't learn. I could go on forever!! I believe parenting has changed, parents are their child's best friends, and the kids I see in the classroom can not do anything for themselves and have never been told NO before!!

kahluablast 11-08-2019 06:24 AM

I am working with 5th graders who are sitting in front of a computer and raise their hands to ask what the date is. After multiple mini-lessons on looking at the dock and seeing the em.

Trickles uphill and is doing none of us any favors. However, I hear your pain. If I don't "help" those who still can't figure out how to log in after we have done it for 10 weeks, *I stopped "reviewing" it at the beginning of class this week) I can't teach the next lesson - or I only teach it to a few. It is extremely frustrating.

In my lab this year I am working hard to encourage kids to read directions. I made videos with directions on it, taught them how to see the video and have another screen where they can follow the directions step by step as they are shown and they STILL can't do it. I started giving failing grades to a majority of several classes. I don't have 3 class sessions to have them do, redo, redo again, and approve the corrections I make so that their work is proficient.

What is the answer?

Kinderkr4zy 11-08-2019 05:59 AM

My class this year is NOT independent. They are not hard working. They are not self starters. They have no pride in a job well done. They are apathetic as a whole. They usually seem to be trying really hard to do nothing at all and "get out" of doing any work. They parents and horrible helicopters and enable and push me to enable them as well. For example that year I have been asked to not ask students to stop talking and interrupting me when I am teaching because it hurts their feelings and to sit by individual students with no learning problems and prompt them question by question on every test-stop them from rush through and failing, and verbal walk them through the process of remember the to use strategies.

I have spent the first trimester running around trying to get them to learn despite their best efforts not to. I have put on the dog and pony show. I have made everything into a game. I have given tons or rewards for for just getting basic work done. I have taken specials away from kids who dont get their work done and told them that they can join in the special when work is completed-then I was told I cant take away specials. I make 10 copies of assignments so kids have no excuse not to do it. I continually verbally cue them to get on task. I remind the kids what they are supposed to be doing ad nauseam, have them repeat it back, ask if everyone understands...and then I still tell the 5 kids that come up to me and say they dont know what we are doing what to do.

At what point do I throw my hands up and say that I and enabling their bad behavior and allowing it to persist and that they would be better off if I stop killing my self to fix their bad choice let the chips fall where they may-and let the kids experience failure and frustration. And yet-I would be in huge trouble if I did.

When I stay all over them to get work done do they never learn to stay on top of their work themselves? When I dance around and wiggle my jazz hands to get their attention when I teach am I sending the message that they dont need to pay attention UNLESS I am putting on a show? When I make even the most basic tasks into a game do they get the message that they shouldn't have to do work unless its fun and in the form of a game or other entertainment. Does rewarding even the most basic participation send the message that doing the basics is actually going above and beyond. When I make extra copies do I just enable them to not bother keeping track of their papers. When I repeat what we are supposed to be doing, then have the kids repeat it back to me, and still have 5 kids ask me what we are supposed to be doing am I just enabling the idea that they dont need to listen the first, second, and third time I said what we were doing. When I cue kids attention on 1/3 schedule (yep that's once every 3 minutes-how much teaching time is lost to me having to stop and prompt the kids to get on task every 3 minutes) and we are talking about kids with NO DIAGNOSED ATTENTION OR LEARNING PROBLEM-how much and I just allowing the behavior to NEVER GET ANY BETTER.

It's only been a few times over the years (and only ever with older kids-it never happened when I taught K) that I felt like I could not get a class to make ANY progress. It's awful to feel like they came in with bad habits and very low skills and they will leave the exact same way with zero progress made, but that is how I feel this year. I hate this year. I hate feeling like no one is growing and like they are training me to work with and except less rather than me getting them to improve a rise up to where they need to be. I hate feeling like I am just enabling them and being part of the reason they are the way they are.

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