Tough First Year

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by macncheese73, Feb 5, 2019.

  1. macncheese73

    macncheese73 New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2019
    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    0

    Feb 5, 2019

    This is my first year teaching in the U.S. I previously taught English in Asia for six years and I was a full-time substitute in my current district last year. My teacher prep program was excellent and I felt like I was prepared for this year. I mean, technically this is my eighth year in education; I'm an extremely hard worker; I'm motivated; I freaking know what I'm doing, right?! At first lesson planning was difficult, but now I feel like I have that down better. Meanwhile, it seemed like my students were angelic the first two months, but I started having classroom management issues around Halloween. Ever since then, teaching has been a roller coaster. Some days I feel like my class is decent; many other days it's a total circus. I just had my mid-year evaluation and I definitely need to show improvement by May or else... I'm kicking myself and panicking and wondering why exactly I'm failing so much. I love learning about classroom management (seriously, I love attending courses on it and reading about it) and I always feel like I KNOW the basic principles of it (be firm and consistent, plan engaging lessons, build student rapport, etc.), but it's so hard to actually put the knowledge into practice. I've had conferences with almost every student's parents, I greet students by the door each morning, admins tell me I use all the right "teacher language," I read aloud the same books and do the same assignments/activities that other teachers on my team are using with their classes... I wish I had a crystal ball to know if I actually will make it through this year successfully (meaning being rehired next year). And the more I feel like the biggest idiot in the building, the harder it is to feel optimistic (and Optimist is normally my middle name). I have two observations tomorrow and I wish I could call in sick instead.
     
  2.  
  3. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2013
    Messages:
    3,625
    Likes Received:
    1,259

    Feb 5, 2019

    My best advice is always to choose one small thing to work on, get good at it, and then choose your next goal. Is there one, first goal that members here could help with? Calling out, getting students to pay attention, having students wander out of their seats, or...? It's often easier to work on only one aspect than to try to fix everything at once.

    I'm sorry you're having a rough time. I've heard from several teachers that the transition from teaching in Asia to teaching in the US is especially jarring. The two areas tend to have different expectations for both teachers and students.
     
  4. macncheese73

    macncheese73 New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2019
    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    0

    Feb 5, 2019

    Thank you. I think my biggest issue is with students calling out and generally ignoring my attention signals. I've tried to get their input on which signal to use (like letting them choose, Mac n cheese! "Everybody freeze." as our class signal); stand with my arms crossed and wait until they all quieten down; give positive feedback to the ones who are following directions; give Think Sheets to ones who consistently disrupt the class, etc. Also, now I have students who claim I'm singling them out and respond with comments like, "WHY, I wasn't doing anything! Jimmy was talking too! You didn't say be quiet!" They get SO loud that I feel like the whole building can hear us and of course I never feel like my lesson is successful when there are kids constantly bursting into song, having side conversations, laughing, etc. (I do try to give them as many opportunities as possible to "turn and talk," work with partners, and so on, but anytime I need to get the entire class' attention, I often fail.)
     
  5. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2005
    Messages:
    5,246
    Likes Received:
    699

    Feb 5, 2019

    Have you read CHAMPs?
     
  6. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2005
    Messages:
    5,209
    Likes Received:
    724

    Feb 5, 2019

    I love CHAMPs. It is my favorite management system by far. It even fits well within the framework of other plans, so if your school jumps on the bandwagon of another program down the road, it still fits.
     
  7. CharRMS

    CharRMS Companion

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2016
    Messages:
    130
    Likes Received:
    52

    Feb 5, 2019

    I'm not sure what grade you teach, but here are two ideas that may help from 7th grade. The first one is a digital doorbell you can buy from Amazon. When I need attention from everyone or the students are too loud, I ring the bell and the procedure is everyone stops whatever they are doing and focus on me. If they don't, then I enforce a consequence. I use this with 3 strikes your out also. Three chances to work together and on the 3rd strike, no more partner work.

    Another thing I started this year, is using Class Dojo. I don't use it for individual students, but I use it for teams. 4-6 kids in each team compete to get the most points by midterm or end of the 9 weeks. Winners get a prize; usually candy or they choose as a whole group what they want within reason. It is sometimes amazing how quiet students get when they hear points being lost on Dojo or even given; especially because they never know which team lost or gained the points unless I say it. Plus, with something like Dojo, it lets you give a consequence without pointing out a specific student. "Oh, Green team isn't following directions so they're losing a point." The person in Green acting up gets a warning to change the chosen behavior before you give them a consequence. Or even better, focus on the positive. "I'm ready to move on in 5 minutes. The team with everything cleaned up and standing up at their seats gets an extra 20pts. Go!" "I need the answer to question 5. The team that can find the answer the quickest, explain it, and have everyone standing gets 15pts." If I need students to cut something out and glue it in their notebooks quickly, I've used it for a timer for that. "You have five minutes. In those five minutes, have everything cut, glued, and cleaned up. Go". At the five minute time, each team that is ready gets points. Each minute I have to wait (usually because they were talking or goofing off) teams lose a point. They get busy then.

    Those are the two things that have changed my classroom management this year. Good luck!
     

Share This Page

Members Online Now

  1. Ima Teacher,
  2. miss-m
Total: 474 (members: 8, guests: 410, robots: 56)
test