Classroom in Chaos

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by Hiragardless, May 7, 2018.

  1. Hiragardless

    Hiragardless New Member

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    May 7, 2018

    Hello!

    I recently started a two week long term sub position, and I am really struggling with classroom management. I'm a new teacher, I graduated in 2016 but went overseas to teach. I'm now trying to get into the US school systems through subbing which is why I accepted this two week assignment. It's for a group of 3rd graders who are exceptionally difficult. From what I have heard they don't act like this with their normal teachers. A typical day thus far has included screaming across the classroom, fighting, yelling, arguing, talking back, getting up and out of their seats. They just don't seem to have any respect for their classmates or me. I have already asked the vice principal to come in and two other teachers have stopped in when they heard the children shouting. I'm at the point where I do not want to go back into the classroom whatsoever.

    Some of the things that I have tried so far are taking away recess, involving administration, and sending kids out of the hall. As well as giving whole class silent lunch. Nothing seems to be working though and I always leave extremely frustrated because we haven't accomplished much in the three days that I have been there. I'm thinking of trying to give silent lunch based on how long it takes them to quiet down. So, for every minute it takes them to settle, I'll keep a total minutes of that and have them do silent lunch for however long it takes. At this point though, I don't know what to do, so any suggestions would be amazing! They also have state testing at the end of the week and I'm unsure at this point if I will be the one administering it or not. I'm really afraid that I will be based off of the school but I've also never administered a test like that before. Needless to say I am overwhelmed, frustrated, and nervous! So, any suggestions for classroom management at this point would be greatly, greatly appreciated!!!
     
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  3. Backroads

    Backroads Fanatic

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    May 7, 2018

    You're in there for two weeks. That worth setting up your own classroom management. Your rules. Teach them.
     
    Hokiegrad1993 likes this.
  4. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Aficionado

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    May 7, 2018

    Teach them exactly what you expect and then insist on it. Go in there tomorrow and tell them that from here on out you expect them to:
    Respect each other
    Respect themselves
    Respect the environment around them

    Then explicitly tell them what you would like them to do first. If they aren't listening, wait. Stare at them and do not say a word until everyone is quiet. If need be, get out a piece of paper and start documenting what is happening. A timer also helps. They will quiet down quickly. Explain and model your first direction. Have someone from the class model the direction. Then ask everyone to do it as well as the first kid. If anyone doesn't follow the instruction, they get to practice again. Don't let anyone complete the task incorrectly. If someone is being particularly challenging, they can practice again at recess so they don't keep taking up everyone's time. Repeat, repeat, repeat. At the end of the day, call a few parents and introduce yourself. Get them on your side ASAP.

    Have a class meeting. Tell them there is a problem - learning is not happening. Come up with solutions together - how can we make this classroom a great place to be so everyone can learn? They know how to behave at school, they will have lots of ideas.

    Fighting is an automatic referral to the office - no one should be allowed to hurt anyone at school.
     
    readingrules12 likes this.
  5. Been There

    Been There Habitué

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    May 7, 2018

    New teachers with the same challenges you describe have received numerous suggestions for behavior management. You can read about them in some of the prior threads.
     
    Last edited: May 7, 2018
  6. Arpeggio

    Arpeggio Rookie

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    May 13, 2018

    I would try positive reinforcement rather than consequences. Classroom management is a skill that is difficult to pickup. Teach your expectations and then give attention to the students who are doing your expectations correctly. Make you sure that you know what your expectations are before you expect the students to understand them.

    Now that the year is finishing up, my kids got a little rowdy in the hallway. Because of this we practiced lining up and walking through the hallway a few times. It took 3 practices because the first 2 were not to my expectations. The ones who did the right thing were praised and the ones who didn't do it correctly were ignored. Praise should work for third graders.
     
    Backroads likes this.
  7. Been There

    Been There Habitué

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    May 13, 2018

    Wouldn’t all the students eventually figure out what was expected of them just by repetitively practicing the routine until they got it right? That is, without receiving any praise or comments from the teacher? Youngsters are often much more capable and intelligent than we give them credit for. I would always refrain from praising students for expected behavior and reserved it for outstanding work or exemplary behavior - this helps to preserve its powerful effectiveness.
     
    Last edited: May 13, 2018
  8. Master Pre-K

    Master Pre-K Virtuoso

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    May 13, 2018

    These kids have probably been without a stable teacher, but that's not reason to justify their behavior, it just explains it.

    Tell them point blank: These are your rules, you expect them to follow them.

    From now until June.

    And follow up with your consequences.
     
    Last edited: May 14, 2018
  9. Backroads

    Backroads Fanatic

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    May 14, 2018

    I would say that both are important. There are some cases where it makes a lot of sense to focus mostly on positive reinforcement, but never get so caught up in that you ignore impact on students/staff just so you don't have to give a consequence. Sometimes it's a good idea to ignore what can be ignored, but it's your job as teacher to make sure all students can learn in safety.
     
    readingrules12 likes this.
  10. Lei286

    Lei286 Rookie

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    May 23, 2018

    As someone who's had an exceptionally difficult school year, I feel your pain. I was also sub for many years before getting a permanent position. My advice: Try to think of this as a learning experiment- and they're your guinea pigs!

    Last Friday, my class lost their fun time that they get at the end of a week (it's a class incentive). I'll let them free play, or give them extra recess, etc. They kept asking me how they could get their time back and I just said "have good behavior". And it wasn't working. Mid-way through the day, they were no closer to earning their time back.

    Finally, I realized. They don't know what I actually mean when I say "good behavior". What I might find unacceptable might have been just dandy with their last teacher. So I put three goals up on the board.

    1.) We are silent when the teacher is talking
    2.) We are doing our work quietly
    3.) We are silent in the hall

    I gave them a check next to the rule when I felt they did a good job showing that expectation. Long story short: my class did earn their time back and I got to get some grading done while they played. I plan on doing this with my class next year. Instead of taking stuff away, be specific and have them EARN a reward. Even if it's just a homework pass or a treat at the end of the day... it might help.
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2018
    Backroads likes this.
  11. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

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    May 24, 2018

    I love these three rules/goals. It's also nice how you're keeping it positive by putting checks by the rules when they're doing those things.
     
  12. Curriculum Chef

    Curriculum Chef Rookie

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    May 30, 2018

    Hiragardless,

    I guess I'm in the minority here. With really difficult students, great classroom management strategies will work to a point, but in the end, those types of classrooms and schools often times reflect students' home life. If all of the above strategies worked so well, someone would be a billionaire because they'd package up their ideas and send them to every discipline-prone school, and we wouldn't be having this conversation right now. Subs have it extra hard if they aren't part of the community. Kids think they can take advantage and unless you have strong admin., it can be a disaster.

    My advice?

    Do your very best, take all the advice you can get, but be looking elsewhere in the meantime. Yes, the grass can actually be greener on the other side. You have to find what factors you are willing or not willing to deal with. A ton of discipline issues is one I don't like to deal with. Give me helicopter parents and overachieving students anytime! I work better with those types of challenges.

    Good luck!
     

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