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If I can't teach elem because of classroom management struggles would HS be better?

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sugar cat sugar cat is offline
 
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If I can't teach elem because of classroom management struggles would HS be better?
Old 03-03-2011, 10:02 PM
 
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I have terrible classroom management problems with elementary students. I basically ranted on it in another post. So this one is sweet and to the point: If I have A LOT of trouble managing a class of elementary students (because I am just not born to teach those grades) will I necessarily have trouble teaching high school students?

Or should I just resign myself to finding a way to teach adults perhaps at the college level? Assuming I find a job in such a competitive job market, that is.

(I have a masters and could in theory teach in college with it. My certification is a K-12 certification. I'm a first year teacher and can't take elementary education anymore! It's taking everything I have to finish this year up- even though I only started 2 months ago. Oh and when I say I have a lot of trouble, I mean it. I'd be surprised if they kept me on past the summer. I could go into detail but its better to just read my other post called Classroom management: high school vs elem).

I really want to teach... I don't want to quit teaching but what I am doing now isn't working...I'm honestly horrible at it (my APs and principle have given me every clue that thats the case except outright say it) and it's making me sick.


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find your groove
Old 03-04-2011, 02:42 AM
 
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Problems with classroom management go across the board. I hate to say it, but what it takes to keep 3rd graders in control is very much the same in high school, just modified a little.

I wouldn't give up; I would do web searches and interview other teachers to find what works and what doesn't. You need to find your groove with management. It took me a long time but I finally found a combination of lighthearted humor and sterness (at the right times) works great for me.

Don't give up because of classroom management, find some PD's to help. I use parts of Whole Brain Teaching...not all but some and it helps.
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Old 03-04-2011, 03:38 AM
 
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I think the PP was right. It's about the same... it all boils down to CONSISTENCY! When you set a rule there has to be a consequence for breaking it, EVERY time and for EVERY student. All children thrive on routine and consistency as well. There are a lot of different books and websites on the topic to give you some ideas to try. Don't expect it overnight though. It takes time to get into your own rhythm. Is there another teacher in your grade level that can help? Don't give up and don't be afraid to ask for help! It'll show initiative and willingness to change and try new things to make your class more manageable. GOOD LUCK!
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Old 03-05-2011, 11:15 PM
 
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I think my administration is trying to run me out of their school. I was talking to one of my friends who has also been an educator for 23 years and after telling him my story my friend told me that. My UFT rep also thinks the administration isn't treating me right.

I have also been given several of the worst, most violent classes in the school. On my third day, I had the third worst class in the school. They threw me to the wolves so to speak.

My hope is to leave this school without any serious damage to my educational career and get to a better school, probably a high school because I am done with elementary.
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You Need the Skills
Old 03-10-2011, 07:28 PM
 
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I totally agree that all classroom management skills are transferable, so if you're lacking them in elementary you're not going to find them in HS.

This may not be what you're looking for, but here are some books that will help you to create a system for your classroom. Not some gimmicky traffic-light-marbles-in-the-jar-earn-tokens kind of system, but a system of structures, strategies, rules, and rationales that will show who is in charge, what the expectations are, and how the class will be run. It's still not too late to take back the classroom this year.

Setting Limits in the Classroom Super practical! Shows you how to avoid the "dances" that teachers tend to engage in with students.

The First Days of School Harry Wong's Classic

Managing to Teach This simple classic teaches how to create an environment that is purposeful and productive

Be the Pack Leader by Cesar Millan; yes, this is a book about training dogs (on one level) but it's also about being the alpha dog in your own home, and the lessons transfer to the classroom

Until you establish yourself as the alpha dog and organize the pack, you'll always have lesser dogs nipping at your ankles. In high school the dogs are just bigger with more ferocious bites.

All that being said, if you don't enjoy the grade level you teach, definitely try another if you can.


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Old 03-10-2011, 07:38 PM
 
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I'm sorry you are having such a rough start to your teaching career. I started in a rough urban setting and it is very challenging when none of your college classes provided practical, concrete learning about classroom management.
You have to manage a class of H.S kids just as much as elementary. Yes, they can have a some more independence but they aren't going to act like adult learners. Heck even teaching adult learners, you are going to need classroom management, routines/structure. THe only real difference content.
If you stay in education, I'd read the books suggested by PP and also ask to be allowed to observe some "seasoned" teachers during your breaks or ask for coverage for you to observe for and hour or so.
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Old 03-11-2011, 06:48 AM
 
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I agree that everyone has to find their fit. I think that classroom management skills are essential and transferrable. I would never be able to work with elementry students. ( I have only ever taught high school) That being said, I do not neccessarliy think that you should run to high school thinking that classroom management will be easier. We still have problems, with language, fighting etc. I would say to stick it out. These skills often do not come over night. I would suggest starting the year off as a hard nosed stickler for the rules. You can always ease up.
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Old 03-13-2011, 03:57 PM
 
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I am starting to think that a high school WOULD be a better fit for me. Why?

Well I think my main problem is lack of consistency. I am getting that down (i.e. when I see it, I do something about it) but it is coming slowly. The main problem is that I can't see everything that is going on because their is so much chaos in the classroom. Chaos as in, I just get overwhelmed by the sheer lack of attention that these kids have. Which is why I think high school would be better.

In other words, I think their lack of attention is a problem for me. I try to tailor my lessons for that, but it is not a natural thing for me. I'd rather deal with an outright defiant teenager that stays in their seat than 20 different kids doing 20 different things (getting out of their seat, walking around, talking, poking each other, swinging pencils). Basically, its as if half the population has ADHD whenever I'm in the room.

I have MUCH better success with students when I'm tutoring no more than 2 kids at a time, or when there is another teacher in the room. But, even the veteran teachers I've co-taught with or watched at my school are constantly telling students to turn around, sit down, pay attention, etc. Apparently high schools are more violent? Not where I work: The kids are rather violent in elementary school. They are constantly punching each other. At least at the high school level I can call security and not be made to feel like I am incompetent as a teacher (by the administration) for calling help.

Plus I found out I'm SUPPOSED to be getting more support than I am getting.

I wish I could think of something else to do other than teaching, but even going to career counseling hasn't helped much in that area. He tells me to brainstorm ideas. If I could do that I'd be in another career already!! I mean, "Brainstorm"? Brain storm what? I've already thought of all the things I'd like to do!

Hey, if anyone else has any other ideas where I could do something intellectually stimulating that isn't a desk job and that IS meaningful, I'm all ears. I've thought of corporate training but it seems like its more desk work than I'd like. Being a college professor is impractical. I don't know what else to do.

So I'm going to try to make it to the end of the year without getting a U rating (since apparently resigning midyear to take a high school job in the fall isn't an option if I want said job in the future) but I'm afraid of getting a U rating. End of career if I do. Its like, damd if I do, damd if I don't. And I'm miserable along the way. If high school isn't the answer, then WHAT is? I can't think of anything else I'd want to do.

Also, as I mentioned, I am not getting the support I'm supposed to be getting as a first year in the classroom, and one of my friends who has over 20 years experience says that its no wonder I'm floundering. It doesn't matter though, because if I can't pull it together I'm out of the career for good.

If I end up leaving this career- then all I can say is, to future wannabe teachers- substitute teach first. It's something I wish I had done before dropping 40k on a degree in education. Again my only hope is that high school will be better, IF I can make it to the end of the year. I'm going to do my absolute best!!!
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Old 03-13-2011, 05:57 PM
 
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Classroom management can be learned. That said, some ages may work better for you than others. Some folks are great with K but not 4th, etc. Personally I'd do some super fast reading up, pick a management plan, and enforce it. What do you have to lose at this point?

Please don't count on HSers staying in their seats, however. I've had them stand up and do cheers during spelling tests, start wrestling matches during art and try to eat snacks and drink sodas during history. And I sub in a decent rural school district. You have to be hyper-aware and consistent with any age group.

I get the feeling you really don't want to have to deal with misbehaving kids -- and that's OK. Maybe a smaller class would be better, like in a private school. I've found they still have problem kids, but not so many at once, and the administration may be more supportive.

I'm very sorry you're not enjoying it. Like you, I wish everyone was required to work in a classroom before they got too far along in their education. We were required to do some volunteer work in the schools by our sophomore year, then be in the classroom half days for the last two, and I think that's a good idea. It just isn't for everybody.
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Old 03-14-2011, 04:22 PM
 
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Well I did do student teaching, and I LOVED it- I student taught in elementary and high school and I loved both equally. But in neither case did I see misbehaving kids. (well, ok, in the high school, one time a sub teacher was in charge of a class and a fight broke out during that period. One kid had insulted another or something. I was observing that class. Another time, when the main (non-sub) teacher was in class, a "fake fight" broke out, but it was obviously staged. Probably to impress a girl or something.)

For some reason its very different actually doing it and being alone in the classroom (compared to student teaching).

I think I'm doing better though.

I just wish I could recapture the joy I had when I was student teaching. I loved it so much more compared to now.


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Old 03-15-2011, 08:32 PM
 
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Classroom management can be difficult at times. I feel that I need to keep my eyes everywhere when I'm ssubbing in the elementary schools. I like it becaue I feel the students are respectfull and still have some respect for their teachers. When I sub in middle school I just brace myself. The students are defiant, lack respect, most are academically low, and don't seem to fear anything. After having said that, when I"m in those clasrooms, they are constantly cursing, don't do their work, and are just plain disrespectull. I don't think it changes in high school. I'm as firm as firm can be and sometimes they just laugh.

Try to see if you can observe someone who you believe has good classroom management skills to see if you can incorporate some into your teaching.

Good luck!
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Old 03-19-2011, 11:25 AM
 
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What elementary school have you been in?
My students are defiant and often violent. They are always fighting or hitting each other. Violence is pretty much a daily occurrence and it's not just in the classes I teach. Not at all! It's school wide.

I also teach smalls groups for half the day, and large groups for the other half. Some of my kids are the more troubled ones, as I am starting to learn...

But I am starting to get classroom management. Starting to find ways so curb bad behavior. I don't like disciplining kids, but I am learning how. (No thanks to my college courses).

I think high school would be better because, even if there is violence, it would be rare. Defiance would be them not doing their work, ignoring you, talking or listening to their mp3 player or something. That would be a nice change. Please tell me I'm wrong in this.
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Old 03-31-2011, 10:10 AM
 
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I can so empathize with your situation. I had a similar situation my first year teaching. I taught in under priveldge school district where there wasn't a lot of support, from administration or parents. I also had gone the alternative teaching route and had no clue of what I was getting into. I think I cried everyday after school the whole year.

My partner teacher would verbally attack me in front of others and then talk about me to my students. The principal was not impressed with me either. But by the end of the year I decided I would also do research on what methods were effective for others and set up a plan for the next year. I begged to have a self contained classroom and then kept to my self the following year. I made a lot of parent contacts that year, even though most of them seemed to do me no good. It did however foster consistancy and year was much better.

Eight years later I still modify my classroom management a bit depending on the new students coming in.

Good Luck to you and please don't let anyone make you feel like you aren't doing a good job.
Hang in there.
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Old 03-31-2011, 10:31 AM
 
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Get the book the Cornerstone. It is filled with lots of classroom management tips. It is never too late to start fresh with new ideas and new ways of doing things.

I teach middle school and also teach a high school class in the evenings for students that didn't get all of their credits. Every grade has issues. Older students can become defiant and will try to take over the classroom if they sense weakness in authority. Older students could end up being harder for you to handle.
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Old 04-06-2011, 04:06 PM
 
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I replied to your "rant board," as you called it and you asked for examples of what it means when I said without management "high school students will eat you alive."

Well, HS students are of course more knowledgeable than elementary students and they can smell fear/weakness from a mile away. If you are unsure and inconsistent, they can tell quickly. They will test you. Like for example, they will start by doing something small, like whispering when they should be working quietly. If you do nothing, they will repeat the behavior, but add a little more. Then a little more and a little more, etc. They learn quickly what they can and can't get away with.

If you don't consistently correct misbehavior, some students that will try to take over your classroom. If they don't respect you, they will ignore even simple requests, such as work on a, b, or c quietly. Also, they can be rude/disrespectful. I write more referrals for "disrespect for authority" than anything. Just last week, I corrected two students and they tried to argue with me, so I told them to leave my room; on their way out the door, they cursed me out. I've had many students yell/curse/threaten me and 99% of the time, it's because I corrected a misbehavior and they didn't like it. HS kids feel entitlement, like they are grown and don't have to follow rules. Therefore, it takes someone to come in and lay down the law with them and let them know they will not get away with anything.

If you truly want to continue teaching, you need to find management techniques/strategies that work for you. Regardless of what level you teach next year, I'd say go in with a confidence. Tell the kids on day 1 the rules/expectations/consequences and stick to it.

good luck :-)
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Transferable skills
Old 04-25-2011, 07:57 PM
 
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I came from 3rd grade to Kindergarten and I use many of the classroom management skills I used in 3rd in my Kinder class. (I have high expectation of my kinder folks, though a lot of kinder is learning self-control-talking, hitting, body awareness, personal space).
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high school discipline even harder
Old 05-19-2011, 06:43 AM
 
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I taught high school, now I teach elementary. Get a book on the "responsive classroom"
technique. It will help you structure the kids' whole day and ward off a lot of discipline issues. Elementary kids are eager, more motivated, and easier to mold and shape. In high school the students don't stay in their seats either if you don't set clear expectations and rules from day one. They can be rude, yell, scream, hit, and drive you to tears. The administration may or may not support you, and the students sense when the support is not there. I had a student bring in dirty magazines and try to read them in class, and when I brought him to his administrator, the administrator said "Boys will be boys". This is harmless." The student made a satisfied smirk and felt supported, but I sure didn't. It only takes a few loud disruptive high schoolers to ruin a class. Some kids are great; but you can't reach them if you can't control the few wild ones in the room- then everyone begins to hate your class. To teach high school you need to not just be a strict disciplinarian, you need to enjoy being one. Especially during cafeteria and bathroom duty. Yuck.
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