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first year is not going well at all
Old 01-11-2016, 07:14 PM
 
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Well this is the 2nd half of my first year. I have a very tough class. I have heard that the principal created this class to give the last teacher a bad year because they didn't get along. Well I have tried not to believe that, but it is hard with all the problems I am having. I want to quit all the time, but I love teaching. My students do not listen. They talk all the time and just do not respect me. I do not know what to do. I have worked on my consistence of punishment and following procedures, but it seems too far gone. I do not feel like I am helping the kids get ready for the next grade. I have asked for help but the principal says she didn't have the problems I am having so she doesn't know how to help. I have a mentor teacher, but she hasn't helped much either. I don't know what to do. I am mentally exhausted. Any suggestions on how to get them to respect me and turn my first year of teaching around, for my students and myself?


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I'm sorry
Old 01-11-2016, 08:22 PM
 
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You are going through this. I'm in the same boat. Mentor is useless and coT says she never had problems. That's not what I heard! They always say that. What lies.

Anyway, I am a LTS and new teacher. Contract is ending. But I have a few suggestions for you.

I. I have class meetings and re explain classroom procedures to them
2. I use a reward system
3. When they talk I stop speaking and stare
4. I stand in front of the offender and fold my arms
5. I don't yell but I use various props to get their attention
6. I give more h w wheN they misbehave
7. I use "i" statements. I feel sad when......

Things got better when I did these things but still not perfect.
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(((Hugs)))
Old 01-12-2016, 02:35 AM
 
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OH, you poor thing! The first year is SO hard, on so many levels. It sounds like you need to take a deep breath and go back to square one. Have you read Harry Wongs The First Days of School? Or watched Whole Brain Teaching videos by Chris Biffle? Depending on your style, pretend it's the beginning of the school year. Model and practice whatever routines and procedures you need them to follow. Practice over and over until they show you they understand what you want. This needs to happen so you are able to teach. Keep posting here, there is an unbelievable amount of experience and support at your disposal.

Welcome to PT, we are glad you're here!
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Old 01-12-2016, 04:49 AM
 
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I agree with Munchkins... first years are tough on everyone, and keep posting and asking on PT. You will get a lot of ideas from great people.

I also agree to take steps back and start fresh. Tell the kids you want them to be able to learn, and together, you will help them do it. Set guidelines, model, and practice repeatedly until they've got the procedure right. Do this for days... Throw responsibility on them; they need to do their part so all can progress. Keep learning chunks short, celebrate success...

Also remember to take your 'off' time to recharge. It's easy to make the job everything, but that leads to more stress and burnout.

Let us know specifically how we can help. We've all been through the first year, the tough class, etc. Glad you're a member here!
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Old 01-12-2016, 06:00 AM
 
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Do any of these students have BIPs or are the behaviors mostly talking and general disrespect?

Pick one behavior and find a strategy to combat it (use previous comments for ideas). Reward immediately the ones who do well. Send notes home, make phone calls. Put a bag of skittles in your pocket and when you need them to do something, walk around and give one to each student who complies. Don't give it to the ones who don't, even if they make the change. You want compliance first time you ask.

Have you tried arranging meetings with parents of students in order to get their assistance or advice?

We have some district resources for child psychs who can observe and help out. Are there any management specialists in yours? Or ask the principal/mentor/teacher friend to do an observation with a specific behavior in mind. Get some feedback and ideas from them.

Hang in there. Sometimes we just have to make it through. But don't give up. WIth tough classes you really need to focus your mind on those poor kids who will be sitting with the clowns for years to come. Make sure they get something out of it. Give them what they need. Find ways to make it worth their while sitting there.

I would also request and exit slip from every class as back up for your grades. Notate each time what was going on in class for those kids who don't get it or turn in blank slips.


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Old 01-12-2016, 10:37 AM
 
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I have read first days of school and i tried that in the beginning, but i think i was inconsistent or gave in to soon and this class, if you give an inch they take a mile. I have since the beginning become more consistent. I have started looking into whole brain teaching and also our school is studying the essential 55 by Ron Clark. I have been working on that one more since our school is looking to implement it. Thanks.
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Old 01-12-2016, 10:43 AM
 
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I don't have any BIP's. It is general disrespect. We are an F school now and in a low economic area. I have made parent contact but maybe not as much as I should because I have trouble with what to say to them so I don't make them mad or combative. I want their help and when I call some of them they point the blame on other kids and it frustrates me. I have tried to handle it mostly by myself because my principal is saying :it all falls on you" and i understand I am the adult in the room even at only 23 but they are also responsible for their behavior too. In the beginning I also let them see me get mad. I would yell and so they push me as far as they can now. I don't know how to get this year back. I feel I have made too many mistakes to undo it all.
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Old 01-12-2016, 01:50 PM
 
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You haven't made too many mistakes. You can get it back under control, but to be honest it probably won't turn around to perfect. Everyone's first year stinks. It's hard to figure out how to balance the academics and the behaviors and all the grading and.....

How about a whole class behavior goal? Start small and start with something easy to earn. Maybe you could bring in cookies and tell the class that every time they get quiet when you clap (or whatever) you will give them a point. X number of points earns the cookies. Make the goal easy to reach that same day - maybe even cookies twice in one day! Keep it changing, keep easy to reach goals at first and experiment with what works.

Good luck!
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No new advice
Old 01-12-2016, 02:05 PM
 
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You have gotten great advice from others! Hang in there, I know easier said than done. Good luck - lots of hugs.
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Old 01-12-2016, 02:42 PM
 
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I'm in my 3rd year. My first year was tough, tough, tough. I was so incredibly anxious and stressed out that I even got physically ill sometimes, but it does get better! By the end of the year, things were improving. January is a hard time; it's cold and dreary, and spring seems oh so far away. My 2nd year was a bit better. I did kinda go through a slump, but I also had a tough class (though it doesn't sound like it was as tough as yours is now) which does show me that the class makeup can make a HUGE difference. Even other teachers were commenting on how I had a tough group. Even amongst that, I could tell that I was reacting better to the stress. Now, my 3rd year has been much, much better. I've also found a grade that seems a better fit for me. Just keep going, take it one day at a time. I don't think teaching will ever not be stressful at all, but you will get better at handling it. For next year, perhaps think about requesting a different grade if you think teaching older/younger kids would be a better fit for you. Even if you stay in the same grade, you'll have a whole new class this year. In the words of Dory "just keep swimming, swimming, swimming." One day at a time. ((hugs)). Praying for you!


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Old 01-12-2016, 02:50 PM
 
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Oh! Wanted to add, I received (and still do) so much help and support from coming to these boards! Reading other's posts helped me to know I was not alone. In addition, posting on the Vent board was a great way to get frustration out, and the Busyboard is a wonderful place to ask for help with questions and advice.
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My first year
Old 01-12-2016, 03:53 PM
 
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was horrible! It was so bad the police were involved in my room
I had a parent call a meeting with the board and I could not go to the restroom without an administrator coming down to my room to supervise them! My neighboring teacher could not even monitor them! It was rough and I was in survival mode. I called it new teacher hazing!

I tell you this because the first year is usually rough. I think the kids can smell green teachers no matter how good you actually are!

This year maybe a wash. Do the best you can to survive and keep a journal of what you want to try/keep and what you do not want to do again. Prepare the students the best you can and know that next year you get to start over! Each year is a new beginning and end.
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Old 01-12-2016, 05:48 PM
 
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Thank you for all the support and help! It makes feel so much better. My principal keeps telling me its all on me and it makes me feel like I just can't do this. I love teaching and this isn't making me not want to teach but some days I do think that maybe I'm not meant to teach. I mean I keep hearing, "Oh your a good teacher, you just have to get classroom management under control." I hate that I am wasting my students year. I feel like a failure because I want them to be ready to move up.
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Old 01-13-2016, 01:36 AM
 
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My first year was awful too. I got no support either. I documented everything that went on (cover your butt). Would sending the offenders to the office hurt and help? I used a lot of psychological techniques such as rearranging the desks daily. Every day the desks were moved. If the class had a good day the room would be the same the next day. Kids like routines and repetition.

Are there any strong good kids in the class that could be role models? I was lucky enough to have one small girl finally have enough and stood up and shouted how she was here to learn and berated the class for a good 5 minutes.
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Old 01-14-2016, 04:09 AM
 
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I concur that those first few years can be tough and class dynamics make a huge difference ( even for veteran teachers!). What makes me most upset is your principal's attitude. Hopefully you can find someone you work with as a support. I recommend looking into Chris Biffle's whole brain learning. Even if it is just the rules, class- yes aspects. It was a game changer for me -- I began using it in my 29th year of teaching so it is never too late!
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Old 01-16-2016, 04:15 AM
 
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I am not in your shoes but I have been a teacher for 17 years. I've had some really tough years. My worst year ever I decided to take a week and run my class like it was the first week of school. We went over every rule, procedure (and I had a procedure for EVERYTHING), routine, etc. until they could do it perfectly. I did the minimum in academics for a while. They weren't learning anything the way things were going anyway! They were such a tough group that it probably took a good month for them to realize I wasn't giving in. I kept my sanity and they started learning more than ever. You can turn this group around. Sit down and decide what you want your classroom to be like. Down to every single detail (even things like how to throw away trash, how to turn in papers, what to do in the morning, how to organize their desk, etc.) and hold them to it. It is so hard the first year because you may not think of everything before starting school but I bet you know now. In my opinion it's never too late to turn them around. You can do this! Keep in touch, there are so many people with great ideas on this forum! Wishing you luck and sanity! Update us when possible.
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Old 02-09-2016, 01:30 PM
 
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If anybody says that their first year was not hard, they are either lying or don't remember! It is so hard!

I don't know what grade you're teaching but routine is ideal for classroom management. Clear expectations are necessary. If those expectations are not met, have a consequence and be consistent. I was a first year teacher last year and I was embarrassed by how bad my class was. The second half of the year got better as I established more routines.

When you make a mistake, just jot it down and don't repeat it. Go home and try to think about your successes. You can do this!
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this MIGHT help
Old 02-10-2016, 01:14 PM
 
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I agree with establishing routines. Routines are how things as done as opposed to rules which are how to behave. If rules are broken there are established consequences. If routines are not followed, they need to be practiced so they won't be "forgotten" again.

Do halt introducing any new curriculum for a week (or longer if necessary). Have them practice the routines for everything listed above (turning in papers, lining up, et) as well as center and seat work procedures using familiar work. "Since we are having so much trouble remembering how to do work, let's remind ourselves how to do things using old material" or some such introduction.

You will feel extra stressed since you aren't "progressing with the curriculum" but you CANNOT teach and they won't learn if matters don't settle down. I, too, have had to stop everything and reinstitute routines (and rules were more readily followed once the routines chaos settled down). Remind yourself that you are working together for more progress later when the class is more orderly. I expect there are several students who will be very grateful for the others to behave and some who will appreciate that they themselves are more controlled--even if they fight it at first.

Hang in there. First years are guaranteed to be difficult no matter who you are. Hmm, that isn't as reassuring as I intended. Sorry, but it's true.
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