Out of Control Class - ProTeacher Community





Amrigney
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Amrigney
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Out of Control Class
Old 01-22-2012, 09:53 AM
 
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I recently took a job teaching 6th, 7th, and 8th grade remedial reading/ language arts in a poor region of Chicago, Englewood. I began the school year in January halfway through the year. On my first day I found out that the school was forced to track all students in middle school to an A, B, or C level class starting that day! My students were therefore having to adjust to all new teachers, students, and now all of the low level students are in my class and they know they are the low-level learners. To top all of this off, it is my first year teaching.

My sixth and eighth grade classes are well-mannered and with gentle persuading will stay on task. My seventh graders are making me loose control. I see them for five periods throughout the day, as they are my homeroom. In the morning they are tolerable and will follow along at a decent enough pace. I still find myself yelling to get quiet at least two to three times a class (90 min). These students come back to my class before lunch, then they have recess in my room, and then they have study hall in my room after lunch. Before and after lunch the class is out of control. I can not get them to be quite for more than 2 minutes, and they will get out of their seats constantly.

I hate yelling, but it seems to be the only thing that lets them know I'm serious. The principal and other teachers have been wonderful helping me and offering new ideas, but I have yet to find one that works. I have tried waiting silently, but they just keep talking until I yell. When the principal comes to help, she yells as well. I have had the class stand in the hallway until they are quiet, but that just wasted a 40 minute period. I have two aggressive-defiant boys and two others on a behavior plan. Two other boys are ADD and have troubled sitting still. I am also afraid that there may be a cultural difference here too. I have taught several long-term sub jobs, yet they were in all white schools. My classroom is all black.

I am worried that we will not be able to make the gains in reading that we need to, because I am struggling with the control of the class. It has only been four days, and we are beginning to build our relationships. I have begun to track the amount of time we loose each class period due to behavior and we are going to set weekly goals to lower this, but I need control of my classroom now, or I may never get it. Please let me know what you think.

One last thing, they have really taken this C group thing hard. A few students will say out loud that they are retarded and can't read. I hate this and am having a hard time explaining why they have to be in the low group.


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Old 01-30-2012, 08:22 PM
 
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There definitely is a cultural thing going on if you've only taught in all white schools and you're now teaching in an all African American class now. What are your consequences for defiance and disruption? Are there Saturday detentions? What infractions can you suspend students for? Can you make them come after school for detention? If there are no consequences for misbehavior, then there will be no control. Also, ignoring smart alecky comments helps. I teach often in all black schools, but the difference is that it's elementary school. If they don't want to stand on line at recess then they have to listen. I also tell them I will send them to another teacher's classroom who is really strict. Where I live, the Urban school teachers do yell, not alot, but they raise their voices when need be. They have also perfected the art of intimidation. I'm talking the middle school teachers. Those are the teachers, I send students to when I sub MS. I would just start writing them up until you get control. Once you get control, then you have to gain their interest, so hopefully you have an interesting topic that relates to their lives in some way. Let them share their opinions on why they think this or that is the way it is. Good luck. I think all MS teachers are really brave!
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Old 05-14-2012, 08:22 PM
 
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The best resource I can offer is for you to purchase Teach like a Champion by Lemov. Read it over the summer, it will change your life. I've used the strategies in this book during substitute teaching and even the classes that have the worst reputations were on task.

Good luck!
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