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ELA24 ELA24 is offline
 
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ELA24
 
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New ELA Teacher - Freaking out!
Old 08-08-2016, 05:54 AM
 
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So, I have never felt constant anxiety as soon as I wake up, but I'm feeling it now. I know the ball in the pit of my stomach is because of the new school year ahead. I am confident that I will do just great, but I am very nervous to have my own set of students. I know this year will be rewarding/frustrating but I can't help but feel ill-prepared.

I have so many questions that seem to feed my anxiety:
How should I set up my classroom so that it allows for learning but is not distracting? As a new teacher am I expected to already have so many lesson plans layed out? (I have yet to meet with my department, that'll happen the week before school starts, and I just want to know what they would expect of me) I know that I am supposed to focus on classroom management on the first week(s) of school, but how many rules are TOO many for HS Freshmen? Also, what organization tools are a must for a first year teacher?


I really appreciate any, and all, feedback! I hope someone can help me ease some of my nerves. Thank you!!!


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It's Normal
Old 08-08-2016, 07:12 AM
 
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I feel this way every year. The anxiety is what gives me the energy to do all I need to do around this time of year. I think of it as fuel. Even the first week or so, I feel a bit wired. It's normal.

Did you ever read any of Julia Thompson's books? I don't know if they are still in print, but I had a bunch of those "How to be a High School Teacher" and "Discipline for the Secondary Education Classroom." I've taught ms for the last decade, but I do remember some freshman still being very immature.

I've always had five rules and a neg/pos consequence list. My discipline ladder is the usual:
1. warming
2. Think it over sheet in hallway (where they write what the problem is/possible solutions)
3. Parent contact
4. Lunch detention/Meeting with teacher
5. Referral to office

I rarely get to five. My admin. really just makes things worse. Remember that kids are going to test you. You need to mean what you say. Your first answer is your final answer, don't let kids fast talk you. The best skill I know is to just stare and not say anything. (I don't even look mad, I just kind of smile.) Be confident. Act like you know what you are doing. Be in charge. I even tell kids, "I'm in charge here. Have a seat." They need to know the buck stops with you. I want them to fear me a little. I am friendly, but not their friends. I don't threaten them with the office, they need to deal with me. I joke around, but they need to be clear that we are there to work, not play. Develop a presence. All of this, took me years to develop. I didn't just stroll in on day 1 and have kids automatically listen to me. I had to learn that through many failures. I still have challenging students. I still have bad days. I lose my temper. What I love though is each year, I get to start over. Some classes are amazing and some are nightmares. Read all you can. I love Michael Linton. I think his website is Smart Classroom Management.

Study the First Days of School by the Wongs. Some people swear by Fred Jones. Find what works for you. I remember when I was new, I was so focused on what I was teaching that I let discipline slip. That is a mistake. You can have the best lesson, but if the class is off-focus, they won't get it.

Hammer procedures: show them how you want them to come in the room and how you don't. Tell them how to speak to you. For example, if a kid tries to run in my room and yell, "I heard this teacher is cool!" I will walk him back out and say, "Hi, I'm Miss Hope. What's your name? Hi Alex, the first rule is we come into my class calmly and safely. Let me show you. Great job. Now please follow the directions on the board. Awesome." I am not "mean", but I mean what I say. You can have as many rules as you want, but what are you going to do if they break them. I have a system where if a kid calls out three times, they have to fill out a think it over sheet. If I get three of those, it's parent contact. If they do it again, I refer it to the office, etc. I show them my clipboard with their names on it. They get nervous when they see me writing on that clipboard. Did I see Tommy throw that spill ball? Did I see Linda whisper to Mya? I don't interrupt my own class by shouting out to them. I might pull them aside later and say, "Yes, I saw you. Stop. This is your last warning." Then, if it happens again, I act. I have to be calm, cool, and in control. I don't argue with them. I've been lucky enough to have some wonderful classes where we became a family. I've also had classes that I treated as a boot camp. I get to know my students and try to be as honest as possible with them. I can be funny or strict, depending on them. If they can't handle jokes and lightness, we go to "all-business."

As to your lessons, that depends on your school. If I was you, I would find someone else who teaches your subject. Find out what they do. My grade level partners basically never had anything written down. Our curriculum was barely nonexistent. However, I did what they did until I knew what I was doing. So, if they said they were doing a narrative piece in October, I got their handouts and also did that. Their desks were set up in straight rows, so I did that. (I still do at the start of the year.) I basically grilled everyone on what they do. How do they handle a disruptive student? How do they grade? Try to find at least one person who will help you big time. You need someone to really be your go to person.

You will make mistakes and it will be hard. However, just remember that even the most seasoned teacher was new one too. When I think back on my first official year, I laugh. I was full of enthusiasm (I still am), but I really let some kids walk over me. Actually, some of their parents did, too. Luckily, I had a strong team who guided me. It's okay to not know things. I think coming here to Proteacher is a great step! Please let us know how you are doing!
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Old 08-08-2016, 08:23 AM
 
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For some reason I can't get the link to post, but search on YouTube for "Classroom management week 1 day1." It shows an effective teacher in real time with a real freshman class on the first day, establishing procedures. There's also a day 2 and day 3.

Good luck!
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Old 08-08-2016, 02:25 PM
 
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Telephone rules are top of the list.
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Wasn't Someone Looking for That Video?
Old 08-08-2016, 02:51 PM
 
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Apple Annie,

I think that was the video that someone was looking for! Now if I can just remember on which board.

I do like those videos. Now all techniques will work, but they could be adapted. I love his line up method, but there would be no where for my kids to line up. However, I sometimes have another student do a check while I am putting attendance into my computer. Other students are working on the warm-up. If they finish that, they read their independent books. Take ideas you can use/adapt for your room.


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Old 08-08-2016, 03:25 PM
 
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Are you looking for this video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pgk-719mTxM)?

(I am sorry. I realized that you probably already found it with the information that "apple annie" provided.)

Last edited by LibbyRWindsor; 08-08-2016 at 04:08 PM..
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Old 08-08-2016, 08:37 PM
 
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Last year was my first year too. For me, I was pretty simple with layout of things. I had a Presidents Poster. A couple important quotes about trying your best. This year I'm adding a Electoral college map

Honestly, I tried to keep classroom management pretty simple. I had a few basic rules. No phones(as is our school policy and whatever your policy will be). Be respectful of others. Raise your hand. Participate/ask questions. Hand in work on time. And do your best. And then we spent the day or so going over those things and the first couple weeks reinforcing it. Simple was good for me, but there are times I wished I was so much more detailed going over classroom management.

I emailed a ton last year to make sure I knew what to expect and what my department head needed from me and such.

Most importantly breathe and enjoy the insane ride it's going to be.
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Yep, that was it
Old 08-09-2016, 08:06 AM
 
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They found it on the other thread. It is a good video. However, that ticket system would drive me crazy.

I used to spend a lot more time on procedures. Our last principal wrote in a memo that we should spend no more than 15 minutes on the first day teaching procedures FOR THE ENTIRE YEAR. Yep, she never taught a full-sized regular education class and it showed. I cut way back on what I usually did and it made the whole year harder.
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Hello!
Old 08-22-2016, 05:36 PM
 
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First off, I want to thank you all for your information and feedback! It was really helpful.

I'm sorry I took long to respond,.I had orientation the following week of my post, then I started last week with the actual first work week, it's been a hectic time. Well, my first day was today, and I think I did pretty great! I realized when it comes to organization, I don't have much to put in order until I get more student work handed to me....

So, I have another question now. I have awesome periods, but I feel like I have to watch out for one now, and I need immediate advice.
I have a period after lunch, and I have maybe 6 students that know each other and are friends. They pay attention, and did their work today, but they kept chatting with each other. I spoke to two of the boys to stop, and they did, but the girls with the group were a different story.
Because of said group, I want to assign a seating chart where they are all separated, although I am scared these students will retaliate if I do this.
Thoughts?
I know I probably shouldn't worry about that, or I am overthinking it, but I don't want those students to get out of hand before it's too late.

ps. I hope everyone had a wonderful start to the year!
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Thx, Great Start!
Old 08-27-2016, 09:26 AM
 
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Do not be afraid that kids will try to "get you back." I would tell them that AFTER they get their work done individually that you might give them the last five minutes or so to sit with their friends. if they don't get their work done, no free time. I try to add "discussion time" into every class, so they can talk. However, when that is not possible, they need to understand that. I tell them that I like to sit with my friends too, but we often get too distracted to do our work. I then tell them a story about a time when our science teacher and I got in trouble for talking during a meeting!

I never used to let my students pict their own seats. I always try to move problem students after from each other ASAP. I just do it and don't mention purposely moving friends away from each other. I'll move four to the four corners of the room. With 6, that is trickier! My after lunch class is always my biggest and most talkative. I try to harness their energy and give them a lot of incentives to stay with me. ("After we get the agenda done, you can read with a friend or use your cells.") Kids in hs might also appreciate listening to their iPods while working. This will keep them a lot quieter. Students can multitask a lot better than I can!

Glad you had a good start.


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Old 08-27-2016, 07:21 PM
 
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Those are great ideas! I think incentives such as those may work! Since I thought 6 was tricky as well, I alphabetized the seating... that way it seems fair . I can't use cells or iPods as an incentive though because my school is very strict against all tech. devices. It makes sense, but I think that makes the students want to act out more. I have to make sure that they DON'T reach for their phones, and pay attention in class. So, it's tough.
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Old 09-05-2016, 12:52 PM
 
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I have a similar problem as anxiety hits. I teach at a charter school.

My students are individuals that have a great deal of potential, but come from very poor educational backgrounds. Many of them need remediation in the basics of grammar, but my administration wants me to do the following.

- Essays for homework every week (4 pages minimum)
-Assessments every week (essay based)
-Students must read a novel every two weeks and be assessed on it.
-Dictation assessments every other week.

I find myself becoming overwhelmed, as I have 134 students in 6 different grades.

Many of my students do not recognize context clues, or verb tense. Some of them have dyslexia, and are unable to work at the same pace, but I must assess them at the grade level they are at.

I love my school, but feel as if I am treading water, at best.
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