Hello, this is my first year teaching and I teach at an urban high school in NJ. This week has been nothing short of a disaster. When the school year started last Thursday, I had three units of seniors and two units of freshmen. The first few days we were given a loose outline of what we should be doing that first week and a half. We had a nice day of ice breakers on the first day, a review of class policy and expectations on the second day, and two days powerful days on 9/11 poetry. All my classes, though a bit shaky due to me still getting my bearings, were relatively successful. My students were engaged with all the lessons. However, due to a series of scheduling shifts and the dissolution of certain senior classes, I was instead given a schedule of almost entirely sophomores and left with one unit of freshmen. Once the switch was made, everything went right down the drain. Day 1, this past Wednesday, I tried a different ice breaker technique and my classes were nowhere near as great as my first few days but I had a decent enough level of engagement. On day 2, I launched right into the curriculum and could not maintain any semblance of order in at least two of my new classes. Kids were coming in and speaking loudly with their friends. Even after 10 minutes had passed, few had even begun their do now activities which I wanted collected. When I tried to begin my mini lesson before we went into coursework, there was a persistent buzz that I could never completely eliminate despite all verbal and nonverbal cues. If I could get it quiet enough while reading, I would stop what I was presenting, look at the offending party until they got the hint, then resume. However, after enough stoppages, the buzz got to a level that I had to yell above the class to quiet everyone down which I absolutely hate doing. I had to warn several kids to put their cellphones away or they would be taken away. The following day, I had already taken 3 phones. By day 3, I decided that despite it not being the first week of school, the behavior on our day 2 was unacceptable and that we would need to review the procedures, something I wrongly assumed they were taught in their last class. Today was my "putting my foot down" day. I modeled what to do for the do now procedures, then kicked everyone out of the classroom and had them come in quietly to try it as a class. This was met with significant eye rolls, groans, and complains that "this isn't kindergarten". I was able to get them into class quietly but again, I couldn't crush the noise level enough to get any semblance of meaningful learning with these two classes. The kids who were there to learn looked entirely helpless and likely disappointed in my inability to get things together. It truly broke my heart to see that. For several of my classes, I'd tried to pull several individual kids that were egregiously ignoring me and had talks with them. I don't know my kids well enough to feel comfortable throwing detentions at anyone yet. However, it's not as if I had the time to yank 5 or 6 kids into the hallway so I had to choose the 1 or 2 from each class. Come Monday, I refuse to walk into my classroom without any meaningful game plan. I know for certain that I'll burn out before the end of the month if my classes continue like this. I've asked countless colleagues for advice on these classes and have formed some ideas of what I want to do. My supervisor has been nothing but supportive. She has come to observe my classroom and made recommendations about techniques. She's allowed me to deviate from the school's prewritten curriculum guide for as long as I need to get my class under control and she's also offered assistance in anything discipline related. I have nothing but love for my staff here. Except maybe whoever it was that switched my schedule lol. Anyway, here are some things I know I still need to do. 1. Learn everyone's names and faces - I essentially got 80 new faces midweek and have to relearn everyone. Memorizing names is tough because the community itself is 80% black and I'm still familiarizing myself with the proper pronunciations of several names. I know once I start calling kids out by name, they'll respond a lot better. 2. Make a new seating arrangement - I was so disoriented by the shift in curriculum that I had no time during the week to make a new seating chart. This should help me tremendously with memorizing names and keeping some of the problematic groups apart. 3. Design an engaging enough lesson - I'm not going to lie. The required readings were a bit dry and I could pitch them with the same efficacy as I did the 9/11 poetry lessons which were entirely my own. I have the department's blessing to teach whatever I want to get my class in order so long as they have a copy of what I'm doing. In the mean time, what are some strategies that you can recommend as far as management and engagement? I feel as if I definitely lost some respect day 1 already and will need to find a way to not only get that back, but to maintain order. tl;dr: I teach at an urban school and can't get my classes under control enough to have any meaningful learning. Kids are largely ignoring the class structure I'm trying to put into place and doing as they will. Help!