Feeling Discouraged

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Ms.Holyoke, Dec 5, 2017.

  1. Been There

    Been There Companion

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    Dec 5, 2017

    Here’s something that actually worked for me - this was at a chronically low-performing elementary school in which many teachers had wished they could have retired yesterday. Feeling much like you do, I decided to think outside the box and try something completely opposite to what I’ve been taught - I had nothing to lose. I set up an imaginary challenge for myself in which I would be awarded $1,000,000 if I succeeded. The catch was that I had only one week to turn things around! It was the extremely short time allowance that provided the necessary impetus. (Feel free to PM me if you’re interested to know what I did.)

    My suggestion to you would be to make a personal commitment to resolve your classroom problems with a time limit of just five days. Assuming that you are not only smarter than your students, but also more motivated than they are, I have the fullest confidence that you can crack this nut. The (imaginary) monetary prize will also compel you to apply your analytical skills in ways that you never realized would be possible.

    Remember, adversity is the mother of invention. If you pass this challenging test of your resolve, it will forever be an affirmation that you have what it takes to be an outstanding teacher.
     
  2. luan22

    luan22 New Member

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    Dec 6, 2017

    Try it, you will get used to it. Relax in your free time.
     
  3. Milsey

    Milsey Habitué

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    Dec 6, 2017

    Advice: Try Harder! Try engaging them more. It's not all about you, or a worksheet. Maybe you could have started the lesson using candy wrappers or marbles to illustrate your main point.
     
  4. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Comrade

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    Necessity is the mother of invention.
     
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  5. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Comrade

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    Dec 6, 2017

    I would love to hear more about what you did! I tried to PM you but it says that I am not allowed to. Can you try to PM me? Thank you!
     
  6. Been There

    Been There Companion

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    There are so many issues that need to be effectively addressed before you can proceed. The first one that comes to mind relates to the experience of your mentor teacher. According to the research, teachers typically require at least 4-5 years of experience to develop competence as a full-fledged teacher. Speaking from experience, your mentor's experience as a special ed. teacher is inadequate preparation for the demands of subject area teacher (with 30+ students in the room) and may help to explain why she lacks control of her disorderly classroom - the two positions actually involve two very different skill sets. As your mentor, she has failed to show you how to run a well-structured classroom with a curriculum (i.e. lessons and materials) that effectively teaches the standards. Although it may not be possible or desirable to change this variable, you should at least be aware of her limitations as your mentor/role model and how her lack of experience in this area is contributing to your predicament.

    A second issue that you're wrestling with relates to the wide range of achievement levels (4th-8th grade?) among your students. I will assume that some may have reading skills as low as the 3rd grade while others are reading well-above grade level - the range of their math skills are probably just as broad. This effectively precludes the usefulness of whole class instruction which means that you will have no choice but to break the class into ability groups, if they are to make any math progress at all. You can certainly try to apply some degree of inclusion, but I would predict that any efforts here would be an exercise in futility.

    A third issue relates to the cumulative effect of a system that lacks educational rigor at every grade level. Many of your students have not been held accountable for their learning in most of the previous grades and have fallen farther and farther below grade level with each passing year. Now in the 8th grade, they are struggling to learn advanced mathematic concepts and multi-step algorithms that are increasingly more abstract and often beyond their ability to comprehend. In addition, most of the students lack the necessary mental discipline to concentrate and persevere - critical traits found in all successful math students. The accumulation of math deficits that many of your students possess would necessitate your returning to the different points on the learning curve where they left off. Of course, this means leaving the 8th grade standards and returning to a much lower rung on the curriculum ladder - something that the principal and your mentor may not be in favor of.

    A fourth issue relates to setting realistic expectations for students. It's of little value to have your mentor to merely tell you that your worksheets are great without pointing out what's great about them? If they were "great", can one assume that most students were able to complete them correctly and that they were aligned well with your lesson? You mentioned that most students missed your introduction/launch to the lesson and found the chart that you made to be confusing. From your own account, I think it's fair to conclude that your lesson was unsuccessful due to several unrealistic expectations: 1) Underachieving students can comprehend a lesson even though they missed the launch (if this were true, you could have probably skipped the launch entirely); 2) A whole class presentation will meet the needs of all of your students despite the wide range of achievement levels (i.e. no need to differentiate instruction); 3) The usual behavior problems that are allowed to persist will not interfere with your lessons.

    Suggestions

    You are probably expected to demonstrate competence in specific areas of instruction for your university supervisor. However, you can't accomplish this without addressing the issues listed above. The problem is too complex for me to advise you via my laptop - as others have suggested, you need to reach out to others in the school or district who can provide direct in-class support. Hopefully, you can find someone with the expertise and authority to assist you.

    In the meantime, you should work on removing all phones from the room tomorrow. Learning how to be assertive by accomplishing this one thing will enable you to tackle other more demanding challenges - baby steps.

    Speaking of incentives, if they are so effective every teacher in your school would be using them. Avoid being lulled into believing that incentives are the key to your problems - you would just be rewarding the children for basic behaviors that are expected of all students in the world. Do you really want to go there?

    Lastly, don't bother reading through all the special ed. files of your students - leave that to their special ed. teacher. You have enough to deal with and reading their IEPs will only serve to put another thick sticky layer on top of everything else. Forget it!
     
  7. Been There

    Been There Companion

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    Dec 7, 2017 at 12:14 AM

    Have been trying unsuccessfully to send you a PM. Your Profile Page doesn't give that option and you are not listed as a valid user! Anyway, if you would like to contact me by email, I would be glad to correspond and provide you with some interesting links.
    Dr. Bob
    Email: intellintervention@gmail.com
     
  8. Belch

    Belch Rookie

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    Dec 7, 2017 at 5:27 AM

    I would suggest grabbing an ear and pulling them out of the classroom and down to the principal's office, but I'm guessing this is no longer considered a viable option for teachers these days, although it certainly was when I was in primary school.

    I have never had your particular issue with students, although I have tired of giving multiple warnings to students to stop talking with each other, and then the motormouthitis would commence again after a few minutes.

    How I have handled this is to point to the door and explain that this is my classroom and if they want to chat with their friends, then they can do so on the other side of that door. That has always worked for me.

    I think the key is (and I'm still working on this) is to develop a mutual respect for each other. They respect me, and I respect them. If that respect is so far gone that you become something to ignore, then it's time to break out the heavy artillery and just bar them from even entering the class at the get-go.

    I have never gotten to that point yet, but I've been tempted a few times.

    The lack of consequences for bad behavior is something that requires some serious discussion when it gets as bad as you describe. I've brought up the problem a few times during faculty meetings and have been told that I should inform the department head, who was also at the meeting, and upon hearing the name of the student kinda slouched her shoulders and admitted that the problem was not exactly limited to my classroom.

    I know I'm allowed to ban students with behavioral problems from my classroom, but I'm really loathe to do that. I've talked with other teachers about this, but they aren't much help, if I'm honest.

    Is completely banning them from entering the classroom and issuing a discontinue of study for a student an option for you?
     
  9. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Comrade

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    Dec 7, 2017 at 6:24 AM

    ^
    No, we cannot send them out of the room for something like that.
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2017 at 8:01 AM
  10. miss-m

    miss-m Cohort

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    Dec 7, 2017 at 8:14 AM

    @Belch if I remember correctly you teach in Japan, right? I don't know much about the education system there but I would hazard a guess that it is VERY different from the US and few if any of your suggestions would be possible or helpful in an American school. Any physical contact with students is a lawsuit waiting to happen - especially if a teacher were to grab a student by the ear to physically remove them from the room. That teacher would be fired and/or sued before they could think.

    I know the goal of this forum is to offer advice and solutions but the context and location must be taken into account as well.
     
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  11. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Comrade

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    Dec 8, 2017 at 6:12 AM

    I spoke with my professor and I feel so much better! She said my situation is tough but there are some positives. One thing she suggested is being very clear about expectations and changing activities frequently. She also suggested a different way to implement the behavior plan for the boys.
     
  12. Janedo5513

    Janedo5513 Rookie

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    Dec 8, 2017 at 2:44 PM

    Take out your phone and start the timer. Then they will ask you what are you doing? Let them know for every minute that they waste your time, that you will waste theirs. I don't know what period it is but when the bell rings, everyone has to sit in their seats with their heads down and be quiet. And no they will not get a pass for being late to their next class. Seems harsh but they need to know that you can't be run over. It takes a couple of tries but it does work. One year, I had the roughest class in the school, started doing that. Not only did it work but by a mid term all my students respected me and would also talk to me about their personal lives as well and it they came from hard and sad backgrounds. You will need to stand your ground, your mentor hasn't and the students know this.
     
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  13. Janedo5513

    Janedo5513 Rookie

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    Dec 8, 2017 at 2:48 PM

    get a cheap basket, and when they first walk in, they put their phones in the basket. When class ends they can pick up their phone as they are heading out. Have the basket on your desk where the kids can't get to.
     
  14. Kelster95

    Kelster95 Companion

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    Dec 8, 2017 at 4:43 PM

    Be sure to check with your mentor teacher/ school about a policy for holding students past the bell. I have in the past held them for a second for each minute wasted which generally made it so the kids could get to the next class on time but they lost the socialization time between classes.
     
  15. miss-m

    miss-m Cohort

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    Dec 8, 2017 at 6:36 PM

    Except with this system there's no way to guarantee they are taking their own phones out of the basket at the end of the hour.
     
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  16. Janedo5513

    Janedo5513 Rookie

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    Dec 8, 2017 at 9:10 PM

    It worked for my class
     

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