Monday, November 22, 2010

What if...

there was not an administration and teachers split up administrative duties and decision making?

Just a thought. It seems that administration is often so far out of touch from the battle lines.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

I am a Classroom Management Fail

It is week 12 of school.

I have two well-oiled classes and one absolute jungle.


In my third period, there are 11 SPED students and the only thing between them and their greasy, deep-fried lunch is my class. It's a class that I don't teach in my own classroom, so I know that my moving is part of the problem. I can never get there before my students do, even if I leave early from my second period and have my paraprofessional wrap-up, because they have second period in the same classroom. I am trying to have them wait outside of class in order for me to set up the room as I'd like it to be, we'll see how that goes. They were not pleased with it today. As I like to say, cry me a river.

My other problem is that I have my only four "problem children" in this period. Together. One is extreme ADHD who has meds but either doesn't take them or the effects wear off by my class. I have gotten legitimate work from him for MAYBE seven days of class. Other teachers have a similar problem, but I think he's the worst in my class. (Do I get a prize?) Other is an ED child who has three modes: 1. Does work with a paraprofessional sitting with him, 2. Does no work but doesn't disrupt the rest of class and 3. Does no work and is openly rude and angry. Mostly it's 2's and some 1's, but we've had some doozies with 3. Child #3 also has three modes: 1. Works quietly and does his work, 2. Works with the para and does his work, 3. Disrupts the class by not doing any work, walking out of class, hitting (never too violently) other students. 2's and 3's alternate with miracle days of mode 1. Last child came from the well-oiled math class I teach and his only "real" concern is that he and child #3 don't get along (they were both suspended for fighting with each other in October). They used to be in class together (my second period), but they were separated due to behavior concerns. But my administration has since reversed that thinking and has decided it's okay for them to be in the class together. Yay.

Additional problems: four of my students don't focus on their work if they don't have a teacher sitting with them and two of my students are very eager to complete their work and need constant reassurance on their work (they also ask for help every time they aren't sure about how to solve a problem, which is often, because they refuse to read or use their notes). My last student is very sweet and really wants to learn, but he really does need individual help and lots of repetition.

I need to become the differentiation master NOW. My "problem kids" are taking the focus onto them. When they are not in class, things run so much better, but since they are going to be in class, I need to figure something (anything) out.

In a nutshell:

1. I hate moving classrooms. I am a mess and so are the kids because they get to be without structure for five minutes of class transitions.
2. I don't know how to help all of these kids at the same time.
3. I need a good classroom management system. The talkers are taking over my class and stopping others from learning.
4. Any and all help appreciated.

I am redoing the seating chart with the five kids who need teacher support in order to progress to the front because in other places of the class, they tend to not do their work. I am putting the "problematics" in the middle of the class with my two paras alternating between them. And the two eager beavers in the back where they can move on and will be forced to ask each other and ask themselves rather than myself.

I hope it's a step in the right direction!