“I am in my first year as a Special Education teacher. My class is out of control. Kids are yelling at each other. Nobody is focused on their work. I am yelling and screaming and they are talking back and yelling back at me. Everybody is trying to help me out. Some say I need to be more positive, some say I need to be stronger and more strict. I do not know what to do. As a group, they are against me. The situation is very confrontational. I can not stop them going crazy. The kids know it. They are going crazy but they do not care. Some kids even have a lot of fun of it. they want the class go crazy so I can get fired. Please help. I am seriously thinking resignation because I do not think I can turn the classroom around since I can not change the nature of some of the students.”
The two suggestions that I gave were:
One thing that worked for me was what I called “The Chain of Success” that involved paper chains. I told the class that I would put a check mark on the board each time they were so noisy I couldn’t teach or so rude that I couldn’t teach (etc). If they got less than a certain number of checks (don’t start off too strict because you want them to be successful but don’t start off to lenient or they won’t improve) on the board per hr. or class period, we would add a paper chain to the chain that began on the ceiling hanging down. When it reached the floor, the whole class would get a reward (homework pass, or educational movie or whatever you think the class would like). The kids started monitoring themselves so they could get a paper chain added. Be consistent though and don’t put a check up for the behavior on one day and not the next. Be clear about what positive behaviors you are looking for.
Also another thing that worked for me was to find something positive to say about a student and call home to brag on them. The next day, ask that student if the parents told them what you said and if not, tell that student what you said. Try to call the parents every two weeks to brag on them. If a student asks why you haven’t called home, ask that student to help you find something positive to tell the parents. The parents love this and brag on the student and then the student comes to class and tries harder. It breaks the negative cycle that they are used to.
You can also read Joel’s post to see what other comments were made. Do you have any suggestions you would give?
Posted on the Successful Teaching Blog by loonyhiker (successfulteaching at gmail dot com).
Original image: 'Aaahhh!!!'
http://www.flickr.com/photos/29333334@N06/3796279865 by: Emergency Brake