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halfpint722 halfpint722 is offline
 
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Today made me wonder...
Old 01-17-2012, 06:56 PM
 
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why I'm still teaching?? I had an emotional breakdown when I got home...that awful hiccuping, crying, puffy eyed breakdown. I have approximately 5 students in my afternoon class (I teach 5th grade departmentalized) that are horrible. They come in laughing, joking, not following the procedures to get class started, etc. I give students 7 minutes to come in, settle down and copy homework. These students never do what they are asked, when they come in I have to try to talk over them and if I clip their name down on my chart they scream out "why?", they talk and laugh through every single lesson I teach. I have tried using praise and encouraging the positive behavior, calling parents almost everyday, write-ups, finally today I sent them to the principal. They were sent back 10 minutes later with another adult who stayed in the room for a bit and they continued to act out. Then when the adult left, they got worse and when I told two of them to sit down and get back to work they laughed in my face! Never have I ever felt so disrespected in my entire life. While they also show these behaviors for every other teacher, it still makes me feel incompetent and like I don't know how to manage a room. I'm exhausted by 2:00 and still have another hour to go and came home with a migraine for the 4th time in two weeks. I don't know if I can make it until June...I'm so tired of going to work and being disrespected. Supposedly next year's class is great but I'm starting to doubt what I'm doing. Sorry so long, thanks for listening!


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Old 01-17-2012, 07:07 PM
 
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What about calling their parents or having them call their parents while you are there and tell them exactly how they are behaving. Call every day that they act like this. When the parents are disrupted, it often "helps" the kids to improve. Just an idea. They need some punishment and the office isn't doing it. Good luck. Don't let them get you!
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Old 01-17-2012, 07:17 PM
 
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The other day I had my class out of control...I started writing the names on board in a big circle of those doing the right thing...kids quited down. It was amazing. I forgot this strategy, but was glad I used it. Maybe you can concentrate on the students doing the right thing and reward them. Stickers, candy, pencils, etc. Just a thought.
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Old 01-17-2012, 07:19 PM
 
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I would try to demand their parents come sit in class with them if they are so disruptive. Either that or continue to send them up to admin. You and the other students deserve a decent learning environment. Also, have they considered breaking up the boys? Separating them might cut down on the disruption since they are feeding off each other. Ugh, it makes me SO mad when kids are disrespectful and admin won't step up!
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Old 01-17-2012, 07:23 PM
 
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Have you called during class? I sometimes have students use my cell phone in front of me in the hallway call their own parent and let him/her know what kind of behavior is happening right now. If I need to I will get another teacher to sit in the class, but most of the time I just watch the class from the hallway. Knowing that I'm standing there with my cell phone and they could be the next call usually keeps them quiet. Good luck with the kids. I know how you are feeling.


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Old 01-17-2012, 08:03 PM
 
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I'm sorry you had such a terrible day and such a difficult group of boys.

It doesn't sound like a clip chart is an appropriate behavior management system for this group. I would remove their clips from the chart altogether and during recess explain to the boys why you have done so. Next, I would begin to keep these kids in for recess daily to review the expectations of entering the classroom. Make them practice like and K and 1 kids would. After they have practiced appropriately a handful of times, send them right outside. If one kid is doing well while the others are not, send the one. Show them that they need to follow the expectations or they lose. Then, write up a behavior contract between you, the parents, the student, and the principal. You need support here from the parents and your administration. Involve them in the behavior contract and hold them to their ends of the contract.

If I can think of more, I'll post it tomorrow. I need to head to bed
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Old 01-17-2012, 08:41 PM
 
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Have you tried sitting them in groups (teams) and having the teams accrue points for good behavior? The team with the most points can win something- a homework pass, extra time to draw, whatever is motivating to your class.

Write the team names on the board. Every time the class starts acting up, give points only to the groups that are behaving. Sometimes putting all the troublemakers on their own team is helpful. They get mad at each other for screwing up their team! That way, they aren't screwing up the other kids who are behaving well, either.

Or, like the other poster suggested, focus only on the kids who are behaving. I hate to suggest candy rewards, but sometimes passing out a small candy only to kids who are behaving will quiet down the others fast.
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Proximity and Parent Conference
Old 01-17-2012, 08:52 PM
 
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First, you are departmentalized, so what subject do you teach?

Assign seats with them up front and split apart. Document the behaviors. Decide on only one thing you want to work on to improve their behavior. If it is their talking out, then focus on that.

What are your rules? Are they posted? What are the consequences? Are they posted? It is never too late to do rules and have consquences. If you have them, go over them EVERY DAY. Stick to them. Stick to the consequences. Yeah, it seems like we focus on the "rotten" kids at the expense of the other kids, but you do what you have to do. Make usre the parents know your rules and consequences.

Give midterms that must be signed by parents and returned or give weekly assignments that must be signed by the parent(s) and returned. If not returned, phone call. Ask for a parent conference. Always give positive first, then negative.

If the boys talk and you talk over their voices, STOP IT. They know what they are doing. Stand or sit and wait until they are done. If it takes all the period, then so be it. The other kids will get ticked off at the boys and not at you. Make sure the boys know that if they take your teaching time, you take their recess time and DO IT.

Give the grades they deserve and don't sugar coat it. You may want to copy the work they do and get a poor grade on to support your final grade. Make part of the grade classroom participation, just document, AND LET THE CLASS KNOW THAT CLASS PARTICIPATION AND BEHAVIOR WILL BE PART OF THEIR GRADE. Use a post-it-note of different colors for each kid stuck on a clipboard; use a plus for positive behavior and a minus for negative behavior. Be sure to note the behavior you are targeting. Keep a straight face and watch your body language.

You might pull each boy aside and let them know your expectations and what you are going to do. Be firm, consistent, and fair. DO NOT write their name on the board. Inform the class that you will let them know at the end of the period who will be spending some of their noon hour or recess with you. If they aren't with you at that time of spending - go get them. Or, you can have them report to your room and if they don't, double the time the next day. YOU ARE THE ADULT. YOU ARE THE TEACHER.

Wear something that makes you feel that you are in command. Something that makes you feel good. I have a bracelet that my husband bought me many years ago. I wear it because it was from him, it is expensive, classy, and I like the way it moves on my wrist. I have linked it to power. Wear a perfume you like. Just before they come in, spray some on your wrist and when they begin to irratate you, smell you wrist and remember: you are in a profession that is and has taken a lot of flack that we don't deserve; we have kids with a lot of baggage; and we have kids who love us because for some of them school is the only place they can feel safe and wanted.
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It's situations like these that
Old 01-17-2012, 09:40 PM
 
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make me wish collaboration hadn't become a buzz word.

At our team meetings, we were encouraged to bring concerns about behavior as well as academics for students.

Could you ask your grade level teammates to meet with you at a specific time to brainstorm ways that you all could support each other in working with the boys?

There are many good suggestions here. I believe if all the teachers who work with these boys could present a united front, it would be beneficial.

Good luck. Work really shouldn't be this stressful, should it? I hope you begin to feel better very soon.
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working lunch
Old 01-18-2012, 10:29 AM
 
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Our special teachers often have problems because the students don't feel they will be held accountable. You know - out of sight, out of mind. Our special teachers get them for a working lunch. Kid picks up lunch tray and eats with special teacher in that room. They HATE it!! So does the teacher, by the way, but it has worked. Kids this age want time to socialize and lunch break is it for many of them. If they have to miss regular class time in order to align with the special teacher's lunch break, then they have to make up work for the missed class and parents are informed. I take it another step after a couple of parents asked me to keep their student in during lunch time in order to make up what was missed from classtime meeting with the special teacher. Yes, I hated it too, but it took 3 times and things got better.


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Old 01-18-2012, 02:18 PM
 
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I am not sure if this will work with your school or group but how about separating them into other teachers' classes during their math time and then pulling the group of them in for recess to reteach the material they missed during their class. They are showing you that whole group lessons do not work for them so you are adjusting your teaching to their needs. If they continue the behavior during a group recess then if other teachers will support it have them sit, separately, in other classrooms and teach each child separately during recess. Of course they will have to come in for many recesses to make up for the missed information and will have to miss their social time being separated but ...
good luck
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Thanks!
Old 01-18-2012, 03:13 PM
 
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It's actually not all boys, it's 3 girls and one boy. I'm continuing my positive praise for those doing the right thing, and they are all seperated, unfortunately my room is so small that even on opposite sides of the room they can still be bothersome. All my behaviors and interventions are documented (learned that the hard way). Unfortunately we don't have recess, just lunch and these are students that I had kept almost everyday at lunch previous to the break until I just couldn't do it anymore because I needed a break too. I may need to go back to that for awhile. I also copy work and send it home with a progress report once a month, I teach literacy and science so I always have lots of written work to show parents. Rules and Consequences are posted as well as procedures and I always refer them to it. I guess yesterday I was at the end of my rope, I feel like I've tried everything, again I call parents everyday and behavior doesn't change. My teaching partner is great (there are only two of us per grade level) and we do have the same expectations and same consequences and we have tried to brainstorm together but she hasn't found anything that has worked either. The students who are doing well continue to do well and the other 5 don't do any work, and just want to talk the entire afternoon. I will definitely try the post it idea and I guess come up with some sort of private reward system for those of those 5 who make an improvement. I know I should focus on the fact that the majority of the students are well behaved and that should speak for me, and their scores are going up and reading levels are improving but sometimes it's hard to not focus on those negative behaviors. Thankfully today was better and no migraine! Thanks again for the suggestions. We'll see how the rest of the week goes!
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Good Ideas
Old 01-18-2012, 03:53 PM
 
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There are some good ideas above. I can empathize with your situation and I'm leaving this comment so I can easily come here again if I ever get to the end of my own rope. Hang in there.
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No more messing around
Old 01-18-2012, 05:29 PM
 
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These kids need a reality check and quick. I would immediately stop messing around with clip charts, reward systems and lost recesses. I'm sure you've done it all before. They don't care, because the attention and esteem they are getting from their peers is more rewarding to them. It's time to call a parent conference, with the sole purpose being to explain to the parents what is about to happen. Send a letter, telling parents that these students will not be allowed to enter your classroom again until you have met with the parents face to face - and stick to it. At the conference, with child present, you do all the talking. Explain specifically with examples about the behavior you have been subjected to. Then tell them that the next incident of disrespect or or disruption will result in the parent being called to come and pick up the child from school - they cannot stay in your classroom. Then end the conference. And know that you WILL have to call a parent. One of these kids will test your resolve and it won't take long. And most likely you will have to do it at least twice. But they will finally get it that you don't tolerate disrespect.
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Check into the legalities, but I knew
Old 01-18-2012, 05:33 PM
 
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a teacher who videoed her class daily. She kept the camera set up on a tripod in a corner of the room. When necessary, she would show parents the video of what happened in class. I have never done it, but she said it was extremely helpful in conferences. It's hard for parents to deny their "angel" was misbehaving when it was on film.
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Apple Annie
Old 01-19-2012, 02:24 PM
 
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You're exactly right and our dean of students (which don't get me started on) has said that this needs to be the next step...yet of course they haven't done it so it's one more thing for me to push. I just keep my documentation of how many times I have to "redirect" them and how many times they blatently don't follow directions. You've hit the nail on the head when you said peer reaction is more important. One of them admitted to me today in private that he feels peer pressure to do it. Out of 7 years of teaching this one has definitely taken the cake!
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