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Dk7722 Dk7722 is offline
 
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Do not send letter. NEED HELP
Old 01-17-2010, 12:16 PM
 
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Hi,
I'm new to this site ,just started substitute teaching 4 months back.I moved to The States about 4 yrs back from India.

I subbed in a 4 grade last week :
A boy was interrupting me during my lessons after many verbal warnings ,I asked him why don't you be a teacher and me a student(my first mistake).

He came to my place and started teaching the lesson,after 3 mints I said." ok now i think You don't need me you have a teacher I should go out of the class and tell others that you have this boy as a teacher" (my second mistake).

I just said that to make them realize their mistake,never would hve left the class
.
After that I went back to my place and completed my lesson.

I left a note to the teacher that this boy was being disrespectful.

I got a call from my staffing agency that the school has sent a DO NOT SEND LETTER.
saying that " I threatened the students to leave them alone and poor management skills.
Now after analysing the situation I realize my choice of words were wrong,I have to call the vice principal next week.I am very upset as this letter spoils my record.

What should I exactly say to her? I want her to understand that i have no intention of leaving the students.My way of dealing the situation may be wrong but I didn't mean anything wrong ,I think its a cultural difference or commnication gap,I don't know.
I'm learning the ways and system of this country.
Thanks


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Old 01-17-2010, 01:05 PM
 
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Huh. I say stuff like that to kids all the time, and it's never been a problem. Maybe I smile or give some other nonverbal cue so they know I don't mean it? I don't know.

Anyway, I'd tell the AP exactly what you told us: You were kidding, and you're sorry it didn't come off that way to the students. You only need one child to take you seriously and become frightened. (Related story: When kids come to me whining about a minor injury, I often offer to use my "magic scissors" to cut off that body part so it won't hurt any more. 99% of the time, the kid laughs, forgets about his bumped knee or whatever, and gets on with his life, which of course was my goal. I have had a few kids take me seriously and get really freaked out, though; it's generally resolved by assuring them that I was kidding to try to make them laugh, that I'd never ever really do that to a child, and promising that I'll never use that particular joke on that particular child again.)

Honestly, I'd be more concerned about the "poor classroom management" side of things, because (no offense) it seems like there might be a bit more truth to that. When you talk to the AP, it might be a good idea to mention some of the lessons you've learned from working with that particular class, and then ask if s/he has any other suggestions for you. Good luck!
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Thanks grav_def
Old 01-17-2010, 01:47 PM
 
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Do you think I should apologize and ask if she could take the letter back? .I mean I'd not go to that school back as the AP doesn't want that but if I could request her to take the letter back.
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I too use this strategy at times
Old 01-17-2010, 03:25 PM
 
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when someone is acting up after repeated warnings--it is just a little reverse psychology to try to get the student(s) to think about someone outside of themselves a little. I think that even the other students realize you would not have left the room. Mine do and they are MR and LD students.

I also use this tactic at times when a students says they "already know everything" and therefore don't need to listen to me. If I think they have some of the concepts, I will let them tell about or question others about the topic at hand--They certainly have to know the materials to lead their peers. Sometimes the student led sessions are more easily understood and remembered than my own because any examples are either a repeat of something I've said or an example from the students in kid language.

It sounds like something you did that day was taken out of context and you were not allowed to explain.
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Dear Whatever
Old 01-17-2010, 05:36 PM
 
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Yeah ,but now I want to talk to the VP and I want to tell her that I never meant to leave the students and now I learn from this experience that I should be very careful while dealing with situations like that .I might be wrong at my approach and I accept that.

I don't know how in few words I can tell her as my agency told me that once a school send a DON'T SEND A LETTER,they don't want to communicate with the teacher.If I want to clear my record after talking to them I can give it a try.

I'm myself feeling very bad, I had been a teacher in my country for about 10 yrs.Things are al ot different here.Students are more open and expressive as compare to India.Moreover, may be I'm not very good at this time how to use correct words according to the situation..Though ,I learnt a lesson from this incidence but I want to request the VP if she could take the letter back even if she doesn't want me to come to the school.I'd not go to the school .What do you say?


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hmmm..
Old 01-17-2010, 09:12 PM
 
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With that age of kids, I usually just ignore them when they start to interrupt. I stop teaching, say nothing, go sit back at the teacher's desk and turn my chair around so I'm not looking at them. I wait until the kids start shushing each other! When they get quiet again I turn around and ask "Are you ready for me now?" Then keep teaching. It throws them off guard when you do that! And the best part is the kids quiet themselves and you can just sit in the chair and smile...you don't need to scold or yell

Also you could try humor. If someone is interrupting, talking over you, not answering questions...turn to the wall and say something like, "Well hello wall, can you answer my question because none of the kids in the room want to answer? Wall? Oh wall? " You'll hear the kids start giggling and getting quiet because you are acting so STRANGE! Then you can turn around and say..."The wall won't answer me! Who can answer my question?"

Try it!
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Old 01-18-2010, 06:34 AM
 
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It's a great strategy to emphacize the cultural differences. Cultural sensitivity and diversity are buzz words in this country and that will probably work in your favor. I mean we work hard to be sensitive - that's what being "politically correct" is all about. It does take some practice to fit behavior and language into the culture of a new country. Remind them of that.
I was born here and it still took me a little time to fit in to the culture of the classroom. If I make a mistake, I learn from it and move on. If it's a 'bad' one, I don't go back to that school for a while! Subbing takes a unique skill set even without the language and culture differences. Press on with good cheer! Everyone makes little gaffes and kids can exagerate those mistakes crazily!!
Good luck!
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meet and let it go
Old 01-18-2010, 07:47 PM
 
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I'm sure you're feeling awful about this; I got such a letter once and did not get over my upset for days!
In my case, when the 5th grade students I was teaching were misbehaving instead of focusing on the work they were supposed to be doing, I told them they were "behaving like spoiled brats"(which some certainly were) and to please stop the behavior. One student immediately complained to another teacher that I had called them spoiled brats, another told me about that complaint, and thereafter a group watched my every breath to see how I would take this... When she returned, the classroom teacher warned me that these students would complain to their parents, who would complain to the principal, etc. In due course the letter appeared, the sub placement organization told me not to worry about it (it was a first after years), and I ignored the principal's request to meet. I still believe that the principal's job was to back me up and to call out the students on their behavior.
So my advice to you would be, if you feel that you should, meet with the principal, explain that "cultural differences" kept you from realizing the effect your words would have on the students, take that school off your list and go on.

Others replying to your post have given excellent suggestions about handling such students. I use the stop and wait tactic myself, but there are times when this doesn't work. In one 5th grade class I often go to, there was such a young boy. I had been told that he had emotional problems, and did not do well if spoken to harshly. So when he keprt on interrupting, I told him that I was very distractible and would forget what I was saying if he interrupted, but that I'd call on him when I was done. This worked beautifully! The poor child empathised well with my distractibility (not entirely made up) and thereafter would stop others from interrupting, explaining that "she is very distractible"!
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Old 01-19-2010, 04:09 PM
 
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I am a sarcastic person too and have had to learn to bite my tongue b/c students (especially those w/ different backgrounds from mine) do not get my humor - they take things EXTREMELY literally.

I do think having the opportunity to discuss this w/ the principal is a good thing bc/ that means they have not written you off at this point.

I think the best way to handle this is to say as little as possible. Accept responsibility - you DID technically threaten to leave them alone and there is room for improvement on managemnet skills (couldn't we all use some??)

So I would not rehash much of what happened. I would not attempt to walk the through what was said and the circumstances - that won't translate well and may dig your hoel deeper. I would begin probably by just listening to what they had to say and if they asked me to recount what occured I would say," I was frustrated at the lack of attention the students were paying to the lesson and I was sarcastic in some of my comments. however, I would NEVER leave students alone and had not intended my comments to be threats. This is a miscommunication on my part and I have given this a lot of thought. I also agree I could use some more training in classroom managment and would be open to anything the district has to offer on this subject and I also plan on persuing additional education on mgmt myself. I am new to sub teaching as well as America and I hope you know I will work very hard to improve.

I mean, if you said all that and mean it - what else is there? Your offense was not that bad - at least w/ subs in our dist. lol and is an opportunity to improve. We all screw up - the kids did too - it is sad it got to this point b/c it sounds like you and the kids owrked through it.
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Old 01-20-2010, 06:24 AM
 
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When people criticize me, I try to remember that often people minimize and deny their own mistakes while exagerating the mistakes of others (mine!). Remembering that helps me, but when they are being so DRAMATIC about aspects of my LIVLIHOOD, that's a little more serious. Students can take things you say and blow it up; and admin is eager to look "proactive" and like they are "on it". They will ignore some serious problems (like teacher & student texting eachother as mentioned in another thread, or sticky bullying problems) and then go off in a flurry of activity over a dramatized non-issue.

maybe I should say some of this stuff anonymously......


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Thanks!!
Old 01-22-2010, 12:04 PM
 
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Dear inmichigan,
I was thinking the same thing that u said in your post.Infact, I talked to the AP last tuesday,and explained her everything and accepted where I was wrong. She said she really appreciate my call and would talk to my staffing agency.I'm not sure if she would call them as uptill today she hasn't.
My point is that sending a DO NOT SEND LETTER without hearing the other side doesn't seem fair.But yeah, you learn from ever situation so ,I think it taught me a good lesson also.
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Old 01-24-2010, 05:29 PM
 
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You will find that it happens a lot with subs, that the principal takes the word of the child (or complaint from the parent) without finding out the whole story, it is just easier for them sometimes to deal with it that way. It is not right of course.

4th Graders know that you wouldn't really leave, I just worked full time with that age group. But at that age they also have a tendency to go home and tell parents half of what was going on just to get a reaction.

Of course NEVER leave the room (or should I say never leave the kids alone).
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