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This week I would like you to use your imagination. You have just won the lottery and will leave your teaching post immediately to travel around the world. As you leave your keys you meet your replacement. You are asked to give this new teacher just ONE piece of advice. What would that be, and why? Enjoy your world expedition!

Blog Post - Week 7
This past week in my own teaching I felt a little disconnected which prompts my question to you, "What was the moment (or moments) when I felt most disconnected or disengaged as a teacher - the moment(s) I said to myself, I'm just going through the motions here?"

Fall Semester 2016 Blog Post - Week 6
For the past couple of weeks you have experienced asynchronous online learning (doing modules by yourself). Previously this semester you have experienced synchronous online learning (all together in the Collaborate room). Which do you think is more effective and why do you think that? Which do you like better, and why?

Fall Semester 2016 Blog Post - Week 5
This week we have what we call "open mic." You can write a post about anything related to your teaching that you would like responses from your classmates.

Fall Semester 2016 Blog Post - Week 4
Here is this week's question: "What was the event that most took me surprise this week - and event that shook me up, caught me off guard, gave me a jolt, or made me unexpectedly happy?"

Fall Semester 2016 Blog Post - Week 3
Please write a post about the following question, "In thinking about my past week teaching what is one thing I would do differently, and why?"

Fall Semester 2016 Blog Post - Week 2
Please write a post about the following question, " In thinking about my teaching activities this past week, of what do I feel most proud? Why?"

Fall Semester 2016 Blog Post - Week 1
Describe something you used in your program in the first weeks of school that you learned in the summer NTI program. How did it work? Did it get you off to a stronger start than last year?

Sunday, October 5, 2008


Although my classroom management plan has been proven more successful than last year’s, I am facing two challenges in this area. The plan I have implemented this year is more organized, easier for the students to understand, and easier for me follow through with consistency. However, my first challenge comes to second block. This class receives the exact same management plan as all the other blocks, but for some reason, this class cannot function as a team. It has such high a number of special needs students that it has been necessary to change their seating chart twice because there are so many behavioral issues or students that have to have preferential seating away from distractions… the whole class is a distraction! They receive a 10 minute mini-lecture or pep talks before the start of every class because they can’t remember to come in and get started, among many other issues. They congregate at each other’s desks as if the “water cooler”. I am constantly reassigning groups because a very large number of students can function together in a group. This class has no concept of team work, respect for their peers, themselves or me. It’s almost like I have to have a separate set of classroom rules posted just for 2nd block. Absolutely ridiculous!

The second challenge I have is during my fourth block class. The management plan I have implemented this year is working great; however the problem is these students are my advanced levels and had me last year. They complain that they can’t get away with anything anymore. For example, before NTI I would rarely enforce the “bathroom pass” I used. If a student had reached a stopping point where it wouldn’t greatly affect them, me, or their group, I would let them go. This year, I haven’t forgotten it and it has dramatically reduced the number of students I have out at a time. Some students hassle me all the time when I send them back to their seats saying, “Man, Mrs. Kitchens, we liked you better before your “school”… when are you going to forget your passes”. It’s almost a game to them to see who will come up to me first without their pass to see if I will let them out. This class of upperclassmen also has senioritis bad! I have a couple of students that have scheduled tests with their teachers during my class and ask to leave to go make up a test so they won’t have to stay after school. That falls on both the student’s, as well as the other academic teacher’s lack of respect for me to accept that it’s ok for them to leave my class as if it’s not important because in their mind I’m just an elective. It’s a tough battle. It makes me want to send an email to the entire school staff addressing anonymously that whoever is allowing their students to miss my classes to make up their tests, needs not attempt to use my instructional time as their bargaining tool with the student(s) as a proposition for either one of them to stay after school. But, that may be a bit extreme. I take offense the mere thought of this. I teach extended day and do not have a planning period and use the time I have in the mornings to prepare. Thus, my students are only permitted to make up their tests during their lunch period if it coincides with mine (I’m willing to do this for them) or after school. I couldn’t imagine if I had a student come in during their English, Math, Science or Foreign Language class! How rude!


Teresa said...

It's really hard to have a class that does not seem to recognize instruction or rules. And it's even harder when you see your management plan successful in all of your other classes. I find it's typically the combination of students that sets the tone for the class. Several energized students or rebels in one class can affect the attitude of the entire class. Maintain consistency and hold them to the rules. And, if all else fails, do make another set of classroom rules for your second block. You may even allow them input into some of the rules, but maintain control, as I know that you will do. One teacher at my school printed "Barney Notes", it was a picture of a police officer on purple paper with a checklist of offenses that typically occur in her class. When the teacher recognized an incident, she would check the appropriate box and just lay it on the students desk, which also indicated a work ethic deduction. This became a huge success because nobody wanted a Barney note! This was a language teacher by the way, but what a great idea. Maybe you could give something like that a try.

Upward Bound said...

I like the idea of the Barney notes and perhaps you do need a second set of rules for the second class. I have the water cooler problem too. What I have done is allow my students 3 minutes to get settled in after the bell rings. This gives them a few minutes to finish any talking etc. After the three minute grace period, I stop whatever I am doing and turn off a light switch to signal the students to be on task. The light does not come back up until the class has calmed down (just like NTI). My class still has a bit of a problem in this area but they are doing much better. In two of my classes, the class room managers have been very responsible and I have successfully delegated this duty to them. I am amazed at how serious my managers take their jobs. In fact, I have a classroom manager and a public relations manager. The PR manager welcomes in new students and helps them get needed papers, lessons etc. They also introduce guest speakers and assists the class manager with updating the class calendar of student events and happenings the kids want to share with their classmates, passing papers and putting up posters etc.

Amy M said...

Barney Notes! Classic! Great idea...

Erika, it seems like all your classes can be a dream, but there's always one that just has to break the mold. I have that class too... more special needs than the other classes. You do have to treat them differently, because they are different. I don't necessarily agree with the separate set of rules idea. Perhaps for this class, you have to be especially ready the second they walk in the door. Try to greet them as they walk in. Don't turn your back on them for a second. If you have something that needs your attention, let it wait until after the class (if it can). Once the bell rings, do whatever your cue is to indicate that class has started. Reward those who are actually on task by saying out loud, "Thank you so-n-so for being in your seat when the bell rings."

As for the other class who's bothered by your newfound excellence... let them suffer. They'll get used to it. I've heard it MANY times from my upperclassmen that I'm a lot stricter than last year. So be it. It makes your life a lot easier. Be consistent and don't give in.

I had a teacher e-mail me once asking for one of my advanced students to make up a presentation. I said no... he's working on a project. You have the right to say no. The other teacher has no authority to schedule tests during your class time. If a student shows you a note from a teacher allowing you out of your class... Just Say NO! You do that enough times and there won't be a need to send out a mass e-mail.

I'm also trying to deal with senioritis. My 3rd year class is all boys (with the exception of one girl). If you know how to deal with a combo of seniorities and testosterone... please help!