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Kteachaz Kteachaz is offline
 
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Struggling to find joy
Old 11-05-2019, 09:26 PM
 
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I am having a rough year. This is my second year, and I guess last year I was blessed with a wonderful class, but this year I am struggling. Last year, I felt accomplished because I had a "challenging behavior" student who was disruptive and destructive to both myself, the students, and other staff. By the end of my first year, I had that student under relative control and was able to teach the remaining students. I started this second year with high hopes, but that went away when one of my students became physically abusive at me, including but not limited to throwing chairs and scratching me until blood was drawn. Now I didn't really get hurt, as I am teaching kindergarten, but it takes its toll. I have a small-ish class of 19 students but none of them seem to get along. If they are not hitting, they are yelling, and I am struggling to figure out what to do when they see no consequences for other students' actions. The district is on a very "please-the-parents" mindset, so any concerns a parent brings up are considered a "breach in teacher duties/trust" while any concerns brought up by myself or other staff that interact with this class are viewed as a par for the course (such as the violence). Any words of wisdom would be great.


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Preach!
Old 11-06-2019, 05:16 PM
 
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I couldn't agree more! This is my 19th year teaching, no joy here, it's a job that pays the bills. A good day for me is when I don't lose my cool, that's it!
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Give them clay
Old 11-06-2019, 07:41 PM
 
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Play quiet classical music

Turn off flourescent lights and plug in lamps

Take outdoors more

Use marble jar, praise what is right and add a marble. Never remove what they earn.

More easy coloring. Complete the pictures hold them to their seats

Move work tables further apart

Model one new center and keep other 3 the same. Keep moving and praising very quietly as they do centers

Remove all scissors staplers etc

Give them scotch tape. Tell them to make a 3 dimension animal. Model doing one quickly

Only read part of a picture book. Attention waning? Stop but dont tell them why

Smile at them. Gaze into their eyes. They want to be seen and accepted. This works. Gaze before you speak and after. Listen and nod more while smiling.

Your happiness comes from you. Nurture you. Buy yourself a bouquet of flowers. Take to school for children to enjoy. Love yourself and you will see changes. Be the best friend you ever had to you!!!

Keep posting here. This is a great community.

Teachers are angels in disguise
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Tough Kinder class
Old 11-07-2019, 12:39 AM
 
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I LOVE Happygal's post, because I think there is never an easy or quick fix with a tricky class.

Kinder is a challenging year because the kids are learning social skills and how to be a student, along with a tremendous amount of academic content that many of them aren't developmentally ready for. And on top of that, some of those kids who are driving you nutty are quite possibly dealing with trauma, neglect and/or cognitive delays.

The scratching you till you bleed is really serious. I've had a couple of chair throwers, but I've not yet had a kid try to physically harm me. Admin should be on to that stat.

I had 3 big tantrum throwers this past year. Two just needed strong boundaries and lots of positives, and I successfully trained them out of it. At one point, I modelled throwing an enormous tantrum for my class. I stomped, scowled, and hid under the table. They all thought it was hilarious and I think it was a valuable lesson for the kids who were doing that. My third tantrum thrower, however, did not respond that well to any of my tried and true techniques. This was a kid who regularly physically attacked her mother (but not me, thankfully). Lucky for me she ended up leaving halfway through the year. I'm not sure I ever would have had that much success with her. My focus was more on training the rest of my class to ignore her. She'd have her meltdown and the rest of us kept going. She did at least usually take herself to her 'calm tent' and cry in there while we went on with our day. It was heartbreaking to me that I couldn't help her more, but reality is some kids need more intervention than we can offer in our classrooms. I mean, she had her own tent, fairy jars, signals for needing a break, emotional regulation chart, consistent logical consequences, explicit social/emotional instruction, reward chart tied to specific behaviours etc. etc. What she really needed was a stable loving family and (imo) treatment for anxiety but those things were out of my control.

So....I feel for you. Bit by bit, I think you will notice those kids maturing and you will gain more trust and respect with them. And sometimes, when you notice yourself becoming too stressed and worked up, you will just need to dim the lights, play some soft music, pull out the play doh and enjoy your students. Heck, once when I noticed the day starting to go south I just walked my class down to the oval and had the kids lay down and look at the clouds
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Old 11-07-2019, 04:11 AM
 
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ElizabethJoy and HappyGal gave you fantastic advice.


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Old 11-07-2019, 08:48 PM
 
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Great advice!
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Old 11-08-2019, 04:28 PM
 
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Quote:
Only read part of a picture book. Attention waning? Stop but dont tell them why

Smile at them. Gaze into their eyes. They want to be seen and accepted. This works. Gaze before you speak and after. Listen and nod more while smiling.

Your happiness comes from you. Nurture you. Buy yourself a bouquet of flowers. Take to school for children to enjoy. Love yourself and you will see changes. Be the best friend you ever had to you!!!
I've read two of your replies tonite, happygal. It is obvious why you are happy. You have many excellent ideas and techniques. For God's sake keep posting because there are so many struggling now with seemingly little hope. i love the picture book idea. Genius.
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Thanks PE
Old 11-08-2019, 06:36 PM
 
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I got involved working with children at a young age. I am from a big British family my parents emigrated in 1955 or so.

I have had many jobs. Preschool teacher, daycare worker 97 kids and out of compliance a few days at a school summer daycare program.

I taught kinder, 2/3, 5/6, 7/8, and a straight 5th. I also substituted tons since 2001. Most of my work as a teacher has been as a substitute.

What i surmise is that all students need a few basic things....approval, encouragement, interesting assignments and activities. Most students are much smarter than they realize.

I have been in anxiety ridden situations. I enjoy reaching out and trying to help here at PT. We are a family.
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Old 11-09-2019, 04:57 AM
 
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I began teaching in 4th grade. My teacher would take us to the library and she needed a cigarette so she told me to walk around and help those that needed it. I taught for 40 yrs up till 2017. I was lucky. I taught PE everyday among other things. Reading math gifted computer skills etc. But you nail it with what kids NEED. They need adults (and even peers) to make them feel a part of something and that they have value. That may sound cliche but it is the real deal. When you say "teach the whole child" this is what is meant. New curriculum and methods ,now dictated by non educators (politicians) , doesnt really include this or give you much time. THEY MUST make time. Its like saying Im too busy to exercise and take care of my body with more than just food, wine and a chair to rest in. I am starting to ramble but my point is kids need love even in a classroom.
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