Making the Desert Bloom

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Sep 16 2012

Is it too late to take control?

I had a terrible week in class behavior management, and it’s my fault. Throughout the first few weeks, I had not be able to get the class quiet enough, but this week was far worse. With the exception of formal assessment times, the class was so loud and disruptive that we didn’t get through all of our objectives for the week. The class has been late getting to specials, lunch, and the end of the day since they can be quiet in line. They are wasting their own chances to learn, and it’s a shame. It’s really true that if you can’t control a class, you can’t teach.

I have been using a group points system, but I am not consistent enough with the system, which makes it close to useless. I don’t know what I can to do become more consistent, because certain actions from certain students bother me more than the same actions from others students. If a student who is usually quiet and on-task acts up, then I am less concerned due to their previous strong behavior. However, the repeat offenders bother me more even if they don’t really get under my skin. I have switched around desk into tables to rows and next week I am moving back to smaller tables. However, nothing has been perfect so far, and I am not going to settle until I find something that works for my students. I know that constant changes are not the best for my students, but I can’t leave a broken system in place either.

At this point, I have made my first impression for a month. I can’t change that reality even if I wish I could. But we still have a long school year ahead of us, and I need to take the right actions so that my students can succeed this year. I am hopeful that my new smaller groups (8 tables of 3 very carefully chosen) will work out for both academic and behavior success, but only time will tell. My students know that I have high expectations for them. They did a poster project where they showed me their expectations, and they were quite lofty with expectations ranging from school-wide respect to success on the CRTs (Nevada State Tests). Now they need to translate those expectations into reality. That’s our challenge in the coming weeks.


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