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May be looking elsewhere
Old 08-19-2011, 03:49 AM
 
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Hello,
My first day was this past Wednesday and it was horrible. The P gave me ALL of the severe behavior kids and I am only a second year teacher, plus I am new to 2nd grade. She took out a severe behavior child from one of her favorite's class and put him in mine. And that teacher has been teaching for many years! Now I have 6 behavior kids. Not to mention I have 5 new students, 3 of which are really low. Out of 13 kids (tow haven't shown up yet), I only have 4 or 5 kids that are on grade level. The rest are low or severely low and defiant. I wouldn't be concerned about the low kids if all three of the second grade classes had an equal amount of these kids! Also, our school uses ITBS as a pre and post test for K-2. Last year 2nd and 1st grade did horrible and they blamed the teachers. I was in Kg. and we did the best out of the whole school. Anyway, they base teacher's performance off of the ITBS. I hope they don't expect me to perform a miracle. Most of the low kids are at beginning or mid year 1st grade level and I'm expected to help these kids get to 3rd grade level by the end of the year? Plus I have a lot of behavior kids that feed off of one another and a tiny tiny small classroom, so I can't really separate them. It's not fair and I'm so sick of the nepotism and disorganization at our school. These kids are HORRIBLE and it is unfair to the kids who actually want to learn (all 4 of them :P). I've emailed the P about this but if nothing changes I'm going over her head to the exec director.


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Old 08-19-2011, 04:57 AM
 
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((((HUGS))))) Hope you get somewhere fast with the p. Doesn't sound like best practice for the kids and certainly not fair for you. What is his reason for doing this?

No real advice other than structure, structure, structure. There are a lot of web sites with hints and tips to try depending on behaviors. I would work on bonding with those behaviors. Look at responsive classroom for ideas to get control.

I love working with the low kids because they can make such progress over the year and it is so exciting when they do. But my eval is not based on how my kids do yet. That might change the way I look at it...
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Old 08-19-2011, 05:15 AM
 
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I'm sorry this happened to you. I'm assuming you are in a private or charter school because you used the words "Executive Director." If this assumption is correct are you without a union? If not, go to your union if you don't have any assistant from the principal.

I would make sure I don't talk about being ONLY a second year teacher in ANY of your meetings. We all know it does make a difference in the beginning, especially with major behavior issues, but we NEVER want to give the administration something to use or focus on when evaluating us or considering to rehire us.

I would use that this is your first year teaching the second grade, which means you need to learn the curriculum, so you may not be able to give 100% of your teaching skills to a class full of students that are so low and have behaviors, but would be able to do so with less of these students and more "on level" students. You could use the "on level" students as buddies and design your lessons to accommodate their "skills."

Before you meet with the principal I have a question for you. Are you SURE you are the ONLY second grade teacher that ended up with the low students and the behavior students? I'm not doubting you, but sometimes when we get a roomful of children with issues it feels like we are the only ones that got all of these students because, in our minds, there couldn't possible be more of these students in the building. If you are sure then I say ask to meet with your principal and explain that you are aware that you ended up with the bulk of these students and you feel it would be better for the STUDENTS if they were split up between the other teachers. That when all together, in the same classroom, they feed off each other making it harder for them to concentrate on your lessons.

I would suggest you work on your wording so it comes out that you are most concerned for the students and not for yourself. We know that both are concerns, but you need to show how dedicated you are to the principal that you are willing to have your students moved to another classroom to help them be successful this school year.

Having said all of this, make sure you are documenting EVERY single little thing that EACH of them are doing each and every day. Documentation is the ONLY thing that will save you down the line if you ever need to use it. It will also help you if you are able to get a student(s) classified for special needs.

I would also see what I could do to get the parents to work with you. Often by telling the parents that you hope that you can work together to help their child be successful gets them a bit on your side. Maybe you can develop an action plan for in school and at home. Or sign a "contract" for the behavior in school. Do what you can to get the parents on board. If this is a private school then they should have already agreed to be involved in their child's education, so you may not have as much of a hard time as public school teachers.

If you are a public school teacher with a union go there first and see if a union representative will go to your meeting with you with the principal. Remember the administration ALWAYS has protection when they meet with us, therefore we should be able to have protection when we meet with them.

If you don't have a union maybe you can call NEA and get some insight and assistance. I would try anything I could to get the correct wording and maybe the law behind me before I met with anyone.

Good luck. I hate that our evaluations are tied into the academic results of our students. It is SO unfair, especially when behavior is involved and students have made progress, but haven't reached the benchmarks.
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Old 08-19-2011, 03:33 PM
 
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I am at a charter in an urban area with no union. I am very firm and consistent on my classroom mgmt, as I was in kg. I agree about stating that this is my first year in second grade. I may not have all of the severe behavior kids but I have the majority. There are only three 2nd grade classes and the other two teachers have about 1 to 3. Plus I forgot to tell you that at my school the teachers make the classroom lists for teachers next year. I found out that one of the second grade teachers (who is friends with one of the first grade teachers) assigned kids to classes this year. That should NOT have happened. And her class is pretty much filled with high level kids or on grade level kids. This is the teacher with all the years of experience. They purposely put all these kids in my classroom plus two days before school started they added another behavior child to my class and took out two very high performing students and gave them to the other teachers. There was NO reason for that. Our numbers didn't change.
It's really bad for my students' learning because even the non behavior children are acting out because there are too many behavior kids. These kids have poor, poor listening skills. Our school also doesn't have a special ed service or proper evaluation, no counselor, nurse, or social worker. It's so sad.
I am documenting my notes home, emails to the principal, and these behaviors. It is so hard to keep up with all of this.


My kids have signed behavior contracts and so have the parents. I have already called/contacted three parents. It's the third grade of school.
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I'm so sorry
Old 08-19-2011, 06:56 PM
 
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I'm so sorry this is happening to you. I can read your frustration in your post. Even though you don't have a union, is there a union in your state? If so, I would still call them to see what you could do.

You are so right that it isn't fair to put the behavior children in one classroom. I agree that even the non-behavior students will begin to act out. No matter how strong a teacher is there is only so much one can do with a classroom full of behavior children.

I've been in your shoes before and was told to deal with it. I did, but it was one very rough school year. The following year the students were split up and the next year some were even sent to other schools. This happens a lot to me. I find it ironic that I can deal with ALL of them together and other teachers can't deal with one or two of them in the same room.

I wish I had some advice for you. I hope your meeting with the principal goes well. I know you will be practicing your speech this weekend.


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Old 08-19-2011, 08:03 PM
 
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They say there are so many teachers out there that principles can have their pick of them - and they often do just that: choose their buddy's wife. Okay, forget that.

You are in a position that you are apparently stuck with. So, make the best of it and if your principal is nonapproachable, then seek other employment next year. Keep your options open. Don't get discouraged.

Last year I thought I'd go nuts. I too had severe behaviour problems and a parent whose mission in life that year was to make my life miserable. It did not do any good to talk to my principal, although he did support me with that parent. I was stuck with kids who should not have been put together as they fed off each other.

It sounds like you are on the right track with the behavior contracts. You will proably have to use some sort of extrinsic rewards system. I would do a daily thing. Maybe a slip of paper or buttons or some token, that when a specfic number is reached the child can get into a treasure chest. I had to do that last year to keep my sanity. Went to Dollar Tree and got some packages with dinosaurs, frogs, army men, etc. I also got some of those silly bands and stretchy creatures. Put one item in a snack bag and that went into the treasure chest. If the child behaved at the end of the day a paper was given out. The kids put their paper in a baggie with their name on it and when 20 papers were received the child got into the treasure chest. If a name was on the board, no paper.

I never took any of those papers away. Never. That will negate what you are trying to do.

Then, I also did a whole class behavior. Good behavior for the morning - one gem in the jar. Same thing for the afternoon. Poor behavior - no gem for that period. I broke it into a.m. and p.m. The class just could not do the entire day. 20 gems and a reward. Extra recess, a movie, popcorn party, etc.

Any severe behavior problems talk with the parents. If you have their support you may do a daily notebook or even go to an hourly behavior chart. Special sticker or other reward.

I don't have the answers, only some suggestions of what I found worked. Whatever you do, make a decision, be fair, and consistent. Don't burn any bridges by making people upset with you. It won't do any good to complain too much. Stand up for yourself.

You can't help a child improve in reading if you are fighting poor behavior. Good luck.
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Old 08-20-2011, 06:18 AM
 
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Fantastic post. Great ideas / suggestions. I loved each of them. Anyone could use them in their classroom.

Thank you for sharing.

Have a GREAT day and school year.
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Wonderful suggestions
Old 08-21-2011, 12:56 AM
 
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Thanks for your empathy, ears, and suggestions. I do already have a class behavior system in place where students can earn rewards. I hate doing extrinsic rewards but I know relying on them this year will help me. I also do random power pellets (1 jelly bean, skittle, m&m, etc) for those who stay on task. I think that I do want to focus on the class working together to achieve a goal, so the gem in a jar idea may work for us too. They are just so competitive and bickery (not a word) with each other, which is a big problem in many urban communities. If you have any more community fostering ideas, please shoot them this way.
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gem in a jar
Old 08-21-2011, 02:33 PM
 
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I did a gem in a jar a while ago. Instead of using gems I used balled up pieces of aluminum foil. The students could really see these little balls. I know teachers that have used marbles instead.

Please make sure that your jar is plastic - clear plastic - and not really large. Not too small either. You need a container that is middle size so your students can achieve the results at least every other week.

I sometimes put more than one ball in at a time. For example I may have asked the class to do something and for everyone that did it the first time I put a ball in the jar for those students.

I also was very big on using the jar for getting along and used most of the balls for issues like this. Working together, being nice, being polite, helping each other, etc.

I ended up having a pizza party after X amount of times having the jar filled.

I did take away balls if the students were so out of hand. I know other people don't recommend this, but it did work. I rarely did it, but just knowing I could I believe helped the students, especially when we were almost to the top of the jar.
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Awesome Attitude
Old 08-21-2011, 02:42 PM
 
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I have an Awesome Attitude that I use. See attached.

I use it a few ways. It is for attitudes only not academically. I will put the 1/2 of the certificate that goes to the student on their desk. Sometimes I do it in front of everyone. Other times when the class is out to lunch or at an activity class I'll put it on the desk. I always add the student's name, the date, and the reason to both sides.

The other 1/2 I put in a container marked "Awesome Attitude." Every Friday before school gets out I pick one paper out of the container and that person gets to pick something from my Treasure Chest. The odds of a student's name being picked depends on the number of times they were awesome during the week.

Once a month I put ALL of the certificates back in the container and pick out one again. That person wins again. Again the odds of winning are based on how many times the child received an Awesome Attitude the first time.

I usually tell parents that their child received an Awesome Attitude certificate and why. (One of the reasons I write it on the certificate.)

This has really been a positive motivator in my classroom. Students love receiving the certificates and then begin to go out of their way to be extra nice to each other.

For the first month I make a big deal about giving these out, then I do more and more quietly. Another example of quietly may be the class was working on an assignment. Someone dropped a pencil and someone picked it up, gave it back to the other person, and resumed their work. I would make out the Awesome Attitude certificate, walk by and put it on the person's desk. I may not say a word, but everyone is aware of what I just did.


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